Wednesdays are hard.
The tough thing about having been divorced is sharing my kids with another person. It’s not so much the shared time, per se, that makes it tough. Having my kids 40% of the time isn’t easy, but let’s be honest, there is a silver lining. Kid-free weekend twice a month where I can intently focus on my wife?
Sign me up.
No, the hard part is the different households. Different rules, different schedules, and different expectations. Lily & Sam say my house is "the strict house." So when they come there’s always transition period where they have to settle in to the rules.
It’s “yes sir,” not “yeah.”
School night? No screens.
Bedtime’s at 8:00, so y’all get your butts upstairs and into your pajamas.
It’s been that way for as long as either of them can remember but that doesn’t stop them, especially Samson, from having difficulty remembering.
“Daddy,” he’ll say, “for some odd reason, I can’t remember if you let me play games on the computer when we get home.”
Yeah right, kid.
Anyway we’re having some minor behavioral problems with Sam at school. He’s developed a hypothesis that the classroom rules don’t apply to him, and he’s been busy testing it.
Here’s part of an email I sent his teacher this morning:
“Dear Ms. Taylor
I understand that you continue to have problems with Sam’s behavior in class. . . let me know if i need come pull him out and jerk a knot in his head.”
This gets to the reason that Wednesdays are hard. There are four and a half hours between the time I pick Sam up at 3:30 until he goes to bed at 8:00.
Minus one hour of driving, usually with him asleep, leaves three and half.
Minus an hour of drum lessons leaves two and half.
Minus about thirty minutes for homework & school prep leave two hours.
Minus another hour or so for dinner and I’m left with just 60 minutes. 60 minutes that I have to split between 4 kids, so Sam’s lucky if he gets more than 15 of those with my sole & undivided attention.
In those 15 minutes I want to play. I want to hug him and love him and make sure he knows how special he is. I want to goof off and run around the house and throw him over my shoulder. I want to remind him that he’s my favorite (for the record, I tell all the kids that)
That’s the hard part. From the time I pick him up I already feel like a drill sergeant.
“Stop interrupting your sister, Sam”
“Pay attention to the instructor, Sam”
“Stop eating with your fingers, Sam”
“Hurry up and get in the bath, Sam”
And tonight, in those 15 minutes, I have to get on his butt about being disruptive in class.
That’s the last thing I want to do. Especially since the day started off with me Facetiming him to talk about his behavior. I told him I was disappointed, that always upsets him. Now I’m worried that he’ll dread me picking him up later. That he’ll feel like my house is a prison. That when I drop him off at school tomorrow he’ll only remember the discipline and not the fun.
Despite my worry I know it’s the right thing to do.
The same applies to almost everything in life, does it not? When you know deep down that you’re on the right path you can’t let other people - friends, family, or even your sweet little darling snot-nosed troublemaker kids - steer you in another direction.