A big part of my motivation to cut back on shifts is to spend more time with my kids, currently finishing the second and fourth grades. I’m a hands-on dad. I know their teachers, volunteer in their classrooms, and their classmates know me.
Not all the time I spend with them is roses and sunshine. On a recent weekend morning I set aside time for a “playdate” with one child, where we rode our bikes through the neighborhood, and then spent the balance of the morning shooting hoops at the nearby junior high school.
By all rights it should have been a special time, with no competition for attention from the rival sibling. Instead, it became a whining extravaganza.
“My leg hurts.”
“This isn’t fun.”
“That’s not how you play. You don’t know the rules.”
“This is boring.”
For those unfamiliar with the myth, Sisyphus was a Greek king condemned by the gods to spend every day rolling a boulder up a mountain. He’d awaken the next day to find the boulder at the bottom of the mountain and start his labors anew.
Most days I enjoy my kids and our time together is a net positive. Then there are the days when time I’d reserved for them becomes a series of disappointments. On these days, Sisyphus is my parenting role model.
Postscript: After a cool-down period in the afternoon, the perpetrator sidled up to me and apologized. Maybe the boulder is an inch closer to the hilltop after all.