“You’re the worst daddy in the world,” was stated, yesterday. Not the first time I’ve heard it. Thankfully, I haven’t heard it much (yet).
But as a friend reminded me, it probably means I’m doing my job.
Why’d I receive such 5yo vitriol?
Because on a rainy Saturday afternoon, after offering my sons to veg out in front of the TV, I made the stipulation they had to clean their room, first.
Now, listen: I’m no neat-freak. I don’t like dirtiness, but I don’t mind messiness. However, I won’t abide a bedroom that’s trashed with dress-up clothes, princess castles, Legos and monster trucks. I’m asking for the very lest, kiddo: shove your shit into the big toy baskets and clear the floor.
I’m not asking for hospital-tucked sheets, folded underwear drawers or toothbrush-scrubbed window tracks. Nope. Just clear the floor 80% and you earned your special TV time (no more than ½ an hour. Let’s not get crazy, people.)
So, on this Father’s Day 2017, I pledge to my son to earn top-billing as “worst-daddy-in-the-world” if it’s because of this:
- You will clean the messes you make. Don’t worry: I’ll help you. And I don’t expect you to render the house neater than when you found it, but you will do your part in replacing sofa cushions after asking to make a fort, throwing every article in your dress-up box to opposite ends of your room, leaving markers all over the main hallway, or abandoning you-name-it in the family room.
- You will eat your vegetables and you will take three bites of new foods before refusing to finish it – one to taste, one to experience, one to decide. Mealtime games are not for me. But also, I won’t fight a battle. No trying? No dessert. No veggies? No dessert. No drama. You choose your choice. You don’t have to eat. But there’s nothing else to eat, if you go on a hunger strike. And no matter how much your neighbor friend eats a diet of chicken nuggets, potato chips and macaroni for every dinner, I promise – your plate will never, ever look like that.
- You will read your assigned “beginning reader” books to me before I read your favorite stories to you…because you have to earn stories, now, big boy. And because it’s your job – to learn to read. So you do your work, and I’ll reward you.
- You will be dressed, fed, teeth-brushed and ready to walk out the door to school before you start playing with toys. You can even have a small hit of screen time if you’re good to go. But hell NO can you play or whine for screen time before you’re ready to walk out the door.
It’s all about earning your privileges…dessert, screen time, playtime, etc.
Unluckily for you, I’ve proven I’m even more stubborn than you for the past 5 years, and that’s not gonna change.
My job is not to be your friend. My job is to raise you to be a kind, strong, wise human being who makes the world a better place.
If that makes me the “worst daddy in the world”, I’ll wear the honor proudly.
Happy “Worst-Daddy-in-the-World” Day to me.
I love you, too, son.