This summer I had had enough.
You know your typical day as a parent. You start it tired. Your initial fatigue is somewhat proportional to midnight munchkin visits. I tend to lose count around four or five.
Then you have to actually get out of the house - battles over breakfast; confrontations over clothing; tortuous tooth brushing. Just getting them to daycare or school is an epic saga whose protagonists sap your strength and weaken your will more than the one ring to rule them all, without that useful invisibility bonus. And if you think Tolkien went a little long, my utterances would fill volumes, although there are only so many ways to say "Put your shoes on!"
The commute comes next. Daily I mourn the career that could have been- me, an F1 champion. Mirabeau has nothing on the crucible of Toronto traffic, backseat shenanigans, multiple drop offs and the need to get to work sometime before noon. I need a whole pit crew just to clean out the backseat.
After a day at the office, itself no picnic and I think sort of important given the need for food on table and a roof overhead, it's time to take to the streets again. The trip home has the added heartpounding of a James Bond thriller (with none of the witty banter) as the "late pickup" timebomb ticks inexonerably down towards zero. $5 for 1 minute? Sure! No allowances for that four car pileup, you say? Of course!
Then, if you've remembered the dry cleaning or the groceries or the trip to the pharmacy, you arrive home. The ungrateful brats demand to be fed. Why yes, wouldn't we all, but instead they would also like to play in the garden, go to the park, dump out the nicely folded laundry, battle each other like mini-gladiators or some other activity that is ocertainly not going to get that food on the table in a jiffy. Once you have moved heaven and earth to cook, from scratch, a healthy, family meal for all to enjoy (we deserve awards for this), they proceed to turn up their noses, dump their plates on the floor and whip their milk across the room.
Yes. This is where I had had enough. And an epiphany.
Forget family dinners. Sure it's what you are supposed to do as a good parent, but it was making me a basketcase. A bad parent.
Now we cook something quick and easy that they will eat, and often it can still be healthy (I said often, not always). After they are in bed, then we can enjoy our own more civilized meal. We can still do a family meal or two on weekends, but it doesn't always fit in the gauntlet of modern family life. I'm ok with that.