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Woodshop Wisdom #5 – Home Alone With The Kid? What Now?

by | Woodshop Wisdom

Welcome brother! If this is your first time reading Woodshop Wisdom, this is a place where, every Monday, we answer a specific question from the men’s communityWe give straight-forward answers to a variety of relationship problems and the challenges men face everyday as a provider, father and husband. And often we will challenge you to go much deeper in your understanding of the problem and how to think about it more effectively. 

Let’s get started. 

Question: 

My wife and I are separated with kids.  She had been the one to stay at home with them while I was doing my best to provide for all of us. I have our three boys for the first weekend alone without their mother around.  I am a good father, but honestly, I am a little nervous about doing this alone.  Do you have any advice on what we should do together?

The other morning, I was driving my daughters to school and I witnessed a beautiful reminder of what is truly important in life.

The day started out like a typical school morning. My oldest wakes up and proceeds to spend the next hour locked in the bathroom doing only God knows what because she rarely exits ready for school with her teeth brushed and hair combed yet. She is one of those pre-teens who hates being late but somehow is never in an actual hurry to get herself ready. 

My youngest on the other hand turns “five more minutes” into a ten-time request and gets another hour of sleep before she starts moving. She gets prepared for her day because she receives massive assistance due to her father’s weakness for her adorable nature. (I know, I know, I am not teaching her to be independent and self-reliant. But I’m working on it.)

The morning is a common one.  I am repeating myself over and over that we need to go, we are going to be late.  I make 5 trips back into the house because someone forgot their book, then their iPad, then their damn socks aren’t even on yet. Really!?! My oldest is pre-teenager snippy and emotional. My youngest could not care less if we never make it to school.

We finally hurry out the door.

Can you relate to this frantic pace in the morning? Is it just me?

We hop in the car to drive to school and my oldest daughter realizes we are exactly 2 minutes late and that her life is now ruined.  She won’t get there until AFTER the first bell (which technically isn’t even late, it’s just the first bell and they are just opening the doors.  The second bell is when they are late, and the teachers don’t care that much, they understand and….I digress.)  None of these logical arguments are going to work on a young woman who swears that her day is now ruined. 

By the way, it’s all my fault and she let me know on the ten-minute drive what I should be doing better.

I calmly listen and empathize and make sure she feels heard.  Her younger sister, Miss Five-More-Minutes, chimes in that I need to wake her up earlier too and do a better job at getting us moving on time.  She wants to be just like her oldest sister, although she would never admit that. 

We arrive in the parking lot and my oldest tells me she has no time for kisses and hugs but she loves me and that she will see me after school. She jumps out and runs down the sidewalk and sprints across the street into the building.

What happens next is what put my whole week into perspective.

My youngest jumps out of the truck and runs after her sister so they can walk in together. She doesn’t care about being on time, just loves walking in with her big 5th grade idol. She is a just a few steps behind because she still has five seconds for a kiss good-bye.

She bolts down the sidewalk as fast as her little legs can carry her and a 50-pound backpack loaded with boots, snow pants, hats, gloves, two iPads, books, and homework. I see her sprinting towards the door when she suddenly screeches to a halt, almost tipping over from the weight of her bookbag.

She stops at a large puddle with a thin layer of ice over it from the cold night before.  In her dry shoes and clean socks (we took extra time finding) she smashes the ice crust off the top and plunges her foot down to the bottom of the puddle. Again, and again, she crunches every bit of ice off the top of that puddle giggling with delight. Numerous kids raced past that same location in the morning, and she found this forgotten treasure left just for her. Pure joy.  With soggy shoes and wet socks, she gleefully saunters into the school to start her day with cold, wet, swamp foot.

When is the last time you stopped and found pure joy in the simplest of things?

We get so caught up in the day-to-day grind of doing that we forget what is truly important.  We can forget what is truly impactful.

It is in the smallest of tiny pleasures that we find abundance and joy.

My life is forever changed by having children.  It will forever beenhanced if I take the time to watch them, learn from them and just be with them.

It does not take a lot. I don’t need a grandiose adventure or monumental plan in order to create an opportunity for happiness and laughter in my family.  All it takes is a puddle, a frisbee or a paper towel roll to create music and memories that will last a lifetime for us.

My daughter reminded me of this – SLOW DOWN, JUMP IN PUDDLES.

I am grateful for the lesson.

Please, send me an email and tell me how you stopped for five minute this week with your boys and did something silly to create laughter and memories.

Life is not so serious that you can’t find those five minutes.

Do it five minutes every day and your whole life will change.

Thoughts From The Woodshop

No Woodshop thoughts this week, we are closed.  I am out jumping in puddles with my kids.

Where to go from here? 

I see you man. I see that you are ready to engage, you are ready to create something new. I see that you are ready to pick up the tools we have available and get back to building something in your life that is beautiful, impactful, and meaningful. I look forward to seeing it.

It all starts with a question – what do you want to build?

Most of us men spend a lot of time in our heads.  We have conversations with ourselves but never show that thinking and feeling side to anyone else. The question and answer example above is exactly like the wise conversations we have every day ALL day in the Mentoring Men Community.  This is the smartest, strongest, most caring and courageous group of men I’ve ever known.

We meet weekly for group coaching calls and have deep conversations with men around the world 24/7.  This online men’s group is like none other out there.  This is what we hear.

“Thank you, Thank You, Thank You for reminding me of who I really am and helping me kill that annoying hummingbird. My wife has seen an immediate change in my attitude and outlook while she has struggled to make progress of her own. She has even made the statement that “I want to be where you are and want to find something that I can connect with and that will make me a better person.”

Join us and start changing your life faster than you ever thought possible.

Matt Epsky

Matt Epsky

As Co-Founder of Mentoring Men and a Certified Goodguys2Greatmen Men’s Coach student, Matt picks a question from the men’s community each week and uses the collective wisdom of the men's community to give an insightful response. Talk with Matt Epsky about making positive changes in your own life.
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