Six Signs You’ve Been Spending Too Much Time With Your Kids


As parents, we consistently struggle to spend quality time with our offspring, but is there such a thing as too much quality time with your kids? With all due respect to the attachment parenting aficionados out there, hell yes. If you’re a stay at home mom or dad, you’re often spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week with your kid. I like my kids, but I also like riding bikes and having sex, and I wouldn’t want to do either of those things every single day all the damned time. My God, think of the chafing.

And that’s really what we’re talking about here, “parental chafing”. When you spend hour after hour with your kids, your patience gets thinner, your temper gets shorter, and your outbursts grow more frequent. You’re emotionally and psychologically “chafed,” so every little thing (fixing dinner, giving tubbies, mediating a property dispute between the kids) becomes as annoying as a marathoner’s sore nipples.

The trick, is to catch yourself before you go over the deep end become that mom from Mommy Dearest, or any Dad from the ‘50s. So, here are five signs you’ve been spending too much time with your kids. If you recognize any two of these signs, fly to Vegas without your children immediately.

1)   You have a temporary tattoo on your arm that says “I Heart Ballet,” even though you do not heart ballet. It will last for the next seven days.

2)   Your diet consists solely of tube yogurt and string cheese. Actually, anything shaped like a penis. Mini carrots. Hot dogs. Is anyone else suddenly concerned by the phallic nature of kid-friendly foods?

3)   When you’re in bed with your significant other, and things get heated, you accidentally recite the theme song to Doc McStuffins: “It’s OK if you giggle, this will only tickle a little.”

4)   Taking the trash to the curb while drinking a beer feels like a night out.

5)   You’re covered in glitter, but you have absolutely no recollection of how it got there. Like you’ve been roofied by fairies.

6) You’ve started prescribing “Time Outs” left and right, mostly for incidental infractions like “using too many conjunctions in a single sentence,” because the only peace and quiet you get is when your child is being punished in his/her room.

Hot Tub Toddler Machine

My sister-in-law was married recently, with my wife’s entire family descending onto a set of cabins deep in the woods of Western North Carolina. I’ve known The Bride since she was about 10, so it was a little surreal to see her get married. Not that I got to see much of it. I was busy chasing the kids around the field all weekend, always trying to corral them toward the kegs so I could top off my beer. But the ceremony was beautiful, my sister-in-law is married to a great guy, and I got to dance with my wife, which pretty much never happens. The weekend was also full of wonderful father-son moments for me and my boy. Sure, I was charged with taking care of both kids all weekend, but my daughter quickly found herself at the center of a gaggle of “big girls.” The pack of seven-year-olds spent the entire weekend taking turns braiding my daughter’s hair. So that freed me up to spend some quality time with the boy. Here are three tear-jerking father-son moments from the weekend. Cue “Cats in the Cradle.”

 Cooper had his first beer.

Not really. He had sweet tea for the first time. But I told him it was a beer, and he went around the rest of the weekend pulling on the coattails of random family members, asking, “will you get me another beer?” Classic.

 I figured out what toddlers are good for: cutting through long bathroom lines.

Nobody wants to see a three-year-old in a seer sucker suit pee himself. Did I imply to a line full of older ladies that my boy had to go sooner rather than later? Did I take advantage of their kindness and rush my kid into the bathroom ahead of them only to use the potty myself? Maybe. I think it’s important not to judge others too harshly.

 Cooper hit on two older girls at once. 

Specifically, he walked right up to two sisters (seven years old and five years old) and said, “you girls wanna get in the hot tub with me?” That alone is impressive for a three year old, but consider this: he wasn’t wearing any pants at the time. All of a sudden, “you girls wanna get in the hot tub with me?” has a bit more swagger when you’re completely naked. That’s my boy.