I love my kids dearly, but being a parent sometimes frays the edges of my sanity. Fortunately, I've discovered several effective ways to avoid the loony bin while being a father to three young boys.
Making Time for My Wife. Before kids, the missus and I spent all of our time together and loved it. These days, a dinner date feels like an all-inclusive vacation to Hawaii. I rarely find time to be alone with my wife in a house full of little ones, but I still try to sneak in an hour here and there.
Coming to Terms with Clutter. As my wife is fond of reminding me, I'm a neat freak. But my kids are exactly the opposite, leaving me with two options: 1) chase them with a mop until they grow up and move out or 2) come to terms with clutter. I'm probably somewhere in between, but aspire for the latter as a sanity-saving measure.
Keeping up with Hobbies. I don't really have time for hobbies anymore, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I'm a video game fanatic and still buy games all the time, even if they sometimes end up gathering dust on a shelf.
Setting a Routine. I thrive on structure – okay, I'm Type A, sue me – but my boys are chaos-loving anarchists. Regardless, we maintain a strict day-to-day schedule, because kids need routine even if they won't admit it. The benefit to my peace of mind is undeniable, too.
Wisely Choosing My Battles. Arguing when one of my sons chooses to wear a ratty t-shirt? Not worth it. But when he swings a baseball bat in the living room mere inches from the heads of his brothers? Totally worth it. It took me a while to learn this, but once I did, my sanity thanked me for it.
Donald S. Deane is the proud papa of three little boys who provide endless amounts of joy and sleep deprivation. He has held a variety of jobs, including college English teacher, newspaper reporter/editor, internet project manager, dishwasher and dogcatcher. Don has written for AOL TV, Moviefone, TheFW, ScreenCrush, GuySpeed, and Arcade Sushi, among others.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.