Sandy Dean is a work-from-home dad of two boys. He recently published a humor book called Stark Raving Dad: Poems for the Frazzled Parent in All of Us.
Here’s his tale of turning the pains of parenting into poetry.
Its a question dad gets asked often.
Because if I didn’t do something, I was going to scream.
Because years of sleep deprivation, sticky floors, plunging toilets, Cheez-it crumbs in the backseats, and accidentally grinding up Star Wars figures in the garbage disposal (WTF???) were taking their toll.
Well, because I never understood how constant, endless, and challenging it would be, so guess what? I turned all that frustration into poetry.
Yes, I entered dad-hood like most of you I expect, completely unprepared.
Honestly, nothing can prepare you for never having another private moment, ever.
Frankly, I love my kids, but I would never have imagined even the simplest things would be SOOO hard like just sitting down to eat, or having a conversation.
I tend to fall into hyperbole when I’m frustrated.
And believe it or not, poetry was my outlet.
In time, I collected A LOT of poems, and once we added my kids authentic and poignant artistry, it became a book.
It was all there. It was all therapeutic.
And ultimately, the poetry became something I could share with others. (as a coping mechanism, laughing is way better than yelling)
In fact, I soon discovered everyone loves to laugh at Dads pain, especially my kids.
But for all the dads out there, this isn’t some parable about channeling fatherly frustration into something better.
Since finishing my book, I’ve realized there are a lot of other dads out there going through pretty much all the same stuff.
Parenting is a tough business.
Whether arguing with kids over bedtime, bath-time, or how many green beans they have to eat, its all so ridiculously challenging, yet ridiculously real. (Believe me, it feels like I live in a sit-com.)
Over time, I began to understand that I really wanted to know I wasn’t alone.
Mired in tantrums, potty problems, and snot, it’s hard to believe you even have a life.
But honestly, its all part of the ride.
So, while you’re contemplating the floatie, your kid just left in the bathtub.
It might be helpful to know we’ve all been there (probably more than once).
Yes, misery does love company.
And finally, it seems only prudent for me to share this tiny tidbit of learned wisdom with all my fellow Stark Raving Dads out there:
Go with the flow but keep your plunger handy.