Our two older daughters are in dagis, but we’re home together on Thursdays. Me and all three kids, including our baby girl. People ask me what’s like to take care of three kids for the day. I can say modestly but truthfully that it’s like being President Obama.
Because our day is like a presidential administration. You start off with big dreams and high hopes. I’m going to be the best dad in history. Productive, structured, focused on health and care. A new day has begun, and it’s going to be the best day ever.
Like the first 100 days of a presidency, the first 100 minutes are honeymoon period. I serve a good breakfast and brush teeth. We’re getting stuff accomplished.
Mid-morning, we hit tension. I couldn’t get enough votes for doing painting. Others wanted to play dress-up.
In a spirit of bi-partisan compromise, I agree to play dress-up before we do painting. I’m willing to meet halfway on issues.
But then I don’t get my part of the deal. After dress-up, nobody wants to paint. I feel burned, but I’ve learned a negotiating lesson. Next time I’ll insist on my activity before I cave in to the kids’ demands. I won’t be fooled twice.
It’s time for a mid-morning snack. I slice up a big plate of fruit. It’s the signature initiative of my tenure so far. Fruit is good for the people. Like healthcare, fruit is maybe something everybody should have a right to. But no one is happy. I get complaints from both sides of the issue. One doesn’t actually want fruit at all, while another felt the fruit didn’t go far enough in meeting hunger needs. I can’t win.
And then a war breaks out. One daughter has completely taken over another daughter’s chair in the kitchen and refuses to give it back. While the chair-less daughter plans her counterattack, I come in and form a peace treaty. I deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mid-term elections are when my wife comes home for lunch. I am judged on how well I’m doing as a leader, and the timing is bad. There are toys and clothes all over. The kitchen is a mess. I get a “shellacking” in what is basically a referendum on my administration thus far.
Ok, I get the message. Time to shape up. I’ve haven’t succeeded, but I’m still the leader and there’s a lot of time left. I decide to focus on something we can all agree on: going to a playground. No way there can be friction there.
But there is. First we disagree on where to go, then we can’t agree on how to get there. Double stroller, kick-bikes, bike trailer. There’s gridlock and the kids shutdown all activities.
Scandals erupt. I get caught eating a cookie, which the others see as abuse of power. They demand to have cookies too. I also get accused of sleeping on the job. When I hear a child crying, I don’t immediately run to the scene. But it turns out one the children has scraped a knee and a band-aid is needed. I was too slow to react to crisis. I was actually asleep.
My popularity plummets. To turn the tide, I offer cookies if we can go outside. I throw in a quick TV program to sweeten the deal. And juice. One child wants to play on the iPad. I agree to that too. I’m determined to get outside and do something healthy for the family even if it means I have to dish out favours. But there are huge protests when I try to turn off the TV and Ipad.
They Occupy the Living Room and demand to take back the iPad and remote.
By the end of the day, I’m a lame duck waiting for my wife to get home. Nothing has been accomplished and I’m at a loss for what to do next.
And then a strange thing happens: I win reelection. There’s nobody else better around to do the job, so I get to continue. I’m once again honoured to lead these great people that stick with me through it all.
I begin to plan big things for the next Thursday…
by Joel Sherwood
Featured Image: Ulf Huett-Nilsson/imagebank.sweden.se