Don't Wake Daddy

You’ve heard of that game, Don’t Wake Daddy. Fun, good times, right? That was the story of my childhood….only, it was not fun. It was just life.
For as long as I can remember, my dad worked a job that he hated. I don’t mean it had its ups and downs, I don’t mean it was tiring or frustrating. I mean, for whatever reason, he utterly and passionately hated his job. When he got home, he walked in the door every single day in a foul mood. He sat down in his Chair (he has always had a Chair, and nobody else was to sit in his Chair) and basically didn’t want to be talked to or otherwise bothered. He got up only to eat dinner, and dinner time was only for eating. Not talking or heaven forbid, goofing around.
But weekends were the worst. My dad got up and sat in his Chair, and then proceeded to doze off and on the rest of the day. And beyond anything else, we were NOT to wake Daddy.
He was not a very deep sleeper. We had a screen door that liked to slam. And phones that liked to ring. And…we were children. So of course, there were times that we Woke Daddy. And we faced his wrath. My mom just tiptoed around him and tried to be sure that we didn't make noise.
That is the predominant memory I have about my dad from childhood. We didn’t do much as a family, except visit relatives several times a year. Weekends were not for fun. They were not for outings. They were not for family time. They were not for making memories.
They were mostly for Not Waking Daddy.
This is just one of the things that I try to do differently as a parent. I want to make memories with my kids. I want weekends to be for fun family times. I like quiet, and Lord knows I love sleep. But not at the expense of family time; not at the expense of my kids being kids.
I will also never work a job that I hate. I won't do that to my family.
I don't mean to complain, or imply that I had a horrible childhood. But more and more I find myself reflecting on things like this and I have a need to write about it. So I'm going to write about it here, and maybe it will be a good outlet for me.

For more Pour Your Heart Out posts, visit Shell @ Things I Can't Say.


Cheryl D. said...

I'm so sorry! That's not a way for a child to live. It wasn't a way for your father to go through life either. I'm sure he must have felt he had to work at that job to provide for his family. It's very tragic. When I was little, my mom used to say that "work was work." I never understood why it couldn't be fun too. I still don't.

shortmama said...

Thats rough. My dad would do that sometimes but not every weekend. And it was so hard to be quiet when he fell asleep on the couch!

C said...

yeah, i am sure you felt like you couldnt be yourself growing up and i'm so sorry for you. maybe the need to vent about past hurts is a way for you to heal and let them go. just being validated can help alot.

i'm here to listen if you ever need to vent..


Grace Adams said...

I remember that game -- the actual board game -- and I remember the real life version. My dad was a preacher, so he went to bed very early on Saturday evenings. We had to be very careful not to wake Dad on Saturday nights!

citymouse said...

What a from-the-heart post. I think it's wonderful that you've made the decision to make a change in your own family. We can't change the past, only impact the future.

Stopping by from SITS.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Your dad/childhood sounds similar to mine. While my dad didn't snooze on the couch or a chair on the weekends, us kids had to stay perfectly quiet at all times. Like citymouse said, we can't change the past, but we can impact the future - which is exactly what you're doing! :) ((HUGZ!))

Stacy Uncorked

He & Me + 3 said...

I'm so sorry that you have some not so fond memories from your childhood. Good for you making those changes in your own family & putting your children and family time first.

Momo Fali said...

This made my heart hurt. I am so proud of you for recognizing the mistakes he made and doing better with your own family. That's all we can do sometimes.

Evonne said...

That's a rough thing to go through as a child, but good for you for using those experiences to better your adult life.

Shell said...

At least you are reversing that pattern with your kids. For me, my own parents taught me more of what NOT to do as mom rather than what to do.

Thanks for linking up.

blueviolet said...

It makes me sad to think that's what you remember most. You really weren't allowed the freedom to be a child, and I'm glad you broke that cycle and you're a different kind of parent!

Kirby3131 said...

It's good to get those feelings out. It surely wasn't a way to live as a child but good for you for learning from it and not putting your children through that same thing :)

Kristin - The Goat

Shawna said...

Thank you for sharing truth and reality. And thank you for deciding to raise your family differently. We all do. There are childhood memories we cherish and want to replicate, and there are many that we want to make sure we never repeat in our own families. I'm so sorry for your negative experience but am proud of you for learning what not to do.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for "loving my new layout" (which is always changing, as my moods change). And yes, it IS a scary world (re: your comment about the Purple Jesus post).


Tammie said...

my childhood was very much the same. we never did anything as a family. i can count on one hand the times we went on actual family vacations. most of the time it was just to visit friends of my mom and dads, who didnt have kids my age, i was always just tagging along. we never went to chuck e cheese or had picnics in the park. in fact, no one ever took me to the park.
my dad worked a lot and when he came home, he would immediately change the tv channel to whatever he wanted to watch, and settle in on the couch. i had to be quiet so i usually went in my room or outside.

i always knew things would be different with my own kids. i let them be kids. kudos to you for doing the same.

Adrienne said...

It's good to know that we can make things different for our kids. I sort of needed this reminder today. Not the exact scenario, but the point. Puting adult stuff aside and letting kids be kids. Right now I'm pretty distracted with "big people" stuff, and I don't want my kids to suffer because of it. Thanks for sharing! I found you on PYHO. :)

jenn@peacelovemommy said...

wow, thats sad but im so glad you are able to take what you can from the experience in your life and make it better for your own babies!!

it's true you know that "i swear i wont do this when i have kids"... im from a divorced family. there are many things i vow to do differently.

(Thanks for the "backup" on South Florida) I'm truly feel blessed to be able to afford living here #1. well sorta hahaha. but i just don't care for it. I thought I'd be happy anywhere there was water.... so not true. especially with kids. we are praying that someday in the next 2-3 years we see Tampa again!

jenn@peacelovemommy said...

oh i made another "Florida blogger" button, cause well lets face it the other one is huge and not that pretty. I made it smaller. if you're interested change it up.

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Just Breathe said...

That was not fun for you, I am so sorry. Kids shouldn't have to go through things like that. I am glad that you have learned how to change it up for your children. I am glad you have been able to get it out and off your chest. We are here for you. ((HUGS))

Heather said...

I am so sorry. And I'm glad that you've given your kids more than that!

ElizabethSheryl said...

awww..I can relate to the way you felt, I had somewhat similar experiences. My aunt has rage issues, she would just GO OFF and it was terrible. It wasn't every night that we had to be quiet, but it was whenever she was in a Bad Mood. We would know if she was in a bad mood pretty much as soon as she was drinking her coffee--if she started to criticize or harp on us, my cousins and I would know it was going to be a bad day. Mostly, she would just yell at us for something, then walk off, then come BACK and yell more. It was a mess, and made you feel nervous. Thankfully we played outside a lot.

What really struck with me, though, is your determination not to hate your job. I feel the exact same way! My mom hates her job, and it is stressfull and makes her sick (she has rhumetoid arthritis)..when I was little it required her to work graveyard and for me to have to stay with my aunt more than I got to stay with her....it made her exhausted on her weekends and just all around was no bueno. I am determined not to let a job eat me up.

Tylaine said...

I'm sorry you had to grow up like that. It makes me kinda sad.
I admire your attitude to give your kids better and to enjoy your job! It is not just enough to take care of your family physically but more importanly emotionally.
I've heard it said when moms not happy...noone's happy. :)

Erin said...

That is a horrible way to think about your childhood! We just didn't have enough time with my dad, he was always watching TV, his sports and on the weekend that was his time to wash the cars or go golfing or whatever. So although my dad did put me up on the car, under the hood with him and taught me everything I could ever possibly want to know about muscle cars....I really wanted to know my dad...and then he died when I was 10. So it's amazing how we try to better things for our own children. I agree, I will not ever work at a job that I hate or allow the Hubs to work at a job that he hates for the sake of the family!!

And if you can't post about your life and memories on your blog then where can you?

Sarah said...

That's so tough for a kid...especially when you don't understand. I am extremely grateful to my parents for "drilling" into my head that it didn't matter how much money you made, you needed to love your job. It makes such a difference in your life. Good for you for breaking the cycle, even if you don't love your job!!!

SupahMommy said...

this post make me cringe ..

sometimes we expect too much of the girls

thx for the reminder

i have info for you on mac kid
email me supahmommy@GMAIL.COM


Myya said...

My dad had a job that he worked too many hours & WAY too hard & so he too would fall asleep in "his chair" however, he could sleep through anything. Good thing because we were 4 loud kids!

Erin said...

so sorry you had to deal with that growing up. I feel like we tiptoed around my dad a lot, but for very different reasons, and ones that only make sense now, looking back. I agree that weekends are for fun, and I miss my sleep, too, but I don't want my kids walking on eggshells.

Good for you for airing this here and I know your kids will grow up much differently, and for the better!

Bluebird49 said...

My husband worked the swing shift for all the years my children were home. Except for about 5 days a month--maybe a couple more--the children and I lived, "Don't wake Daddy!" We bought a large box fan to run in his room, in a small house with paper thin walls.

Shift work isn't meant for the human body or mind--or the families of those who work it.

Twisted Fencepost said...

That must have been terrible for you AND him.
I wonder what it would have been like had he changed jobs?
And I am glad that you are not one that followed in his footsteps!