As excited as parents are at the end of the day to come home, throw on some comfy clothes, and just decompress, kids usually have other ideas.
For me, whether it’s my 8-year-old insisting on being the first one to give me a hug and nearly knocking me to the floor the minute I open the door, or my 4-year-old so happy to see me that she has to immediately start telling me ALL about whatever it was that she was just doing, coming home is both wonderful and exhausting.
It’s awesome coming home to little people who are so happy to see me. If only my coworkers greeted me with such enthusiasm every morning! On the other hand, even though I’ve had between an hour and an hour and a half commute to “decompress” or transition from work life to home life, it’s still not easy. Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like if I instituted a new rule: No one can touch or talk to Daddy until he comes in, takes off his shoes, changes his clothes, sits on the couch, and finally announces, “I’m home!”
Yeah, I don’t think that would go over very well.
Dads Aren’t The Only Ones Who Work
First of all, Kristi has been hard at work all day herself, and she is usually home earlier than me. So she’s had a full day at work, AND has already had to hear about how “Glitter the toy chicken” has been hopping around in circles all day. She didn’t get the time to decompress, so why should I?
Second, I remember reading somewhere that kids, even as infants, pick up on your attitude and mental state the minute you walk in the door, AND they capture a huge amount of data about love in that first moment that they see you. Walk in all pissed off and grumpy, and that’s going to affect their mood and their memories. Walk in with a hug and a smile, and it will go a long way towards building an incredible bond between you and the kids.
Third, even though it can be exhausting, on a good day those first few moments in the door can be a lot of fun. The girls are usually at their silliest at that time. And even though it can be a little stressful if Kristi and I are both tired or we’re scrambling to get dinner on the table before 9 pm, being silly with them is good for the soul, and it always lifts my spirits.
So, what’s the solution to dealing with over-hyped kids who want nothing more than to climb all over you the minute you walk in the door?
Have A Little Fun
I know that “Just have fun, man” may not be the answer you want to hear, but think about it. What are the alternatives? Yelling at them to leave you alone? Locking yourself in your room for a half hour? Definitely not ideal.
What I’d suggest is giving them a few moments to be excited and happy with you, and see about working some relaxation into their fun. One of my favorites is to sit on the couch and ask them to put on a puppet show for me. Or tell them I’m really tired and the only solution is some good cuddling. Find activities you can do that involve you sitting down and that give you a few moments to take a breath, but don’t require you to push them away. Let them be part of your transition back into home life.
I know it can be hard, but sometimes the best thing to do is to fall into their loving arms and let them guide you back into home life. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and with some practice and patience, it can actually be pretty fun.