When Doing the Decent Thing Sucks

I am, by no means, a do-gooder. I try to be a good example to my kids and do the decent thing as much as possible but I honestly don’t seek out opportunities to help others or lessen someone’s burden. I’m not bragging about this, I just honestly feel so overwhelmed most of the time about the things going on in my own life that looking past my own storm clouds to offer shelter for another is difficult.
That said, when my friends or family really need us, we will do what it takes to help. We currently have three extra kids in our care (and their dog!) because their parents were suddenly transferred to Wyoming and everyone agreed it would suck for the kids to be yanked out of their school for the last five weeks of the year. Having six kids, aged 5-12 in one house takes some planning but it’s totally do-able and the kids…well, they are kids. They leave some clothes laying around the house, but they pick them up when you ask. They sometimes get too loud and rambunctious, but they quiet down or go outside when I ask. They are in bed by 8:30, in school from 7:30-3:00 and they help with chores any time my own kids are doing theirs. It really has been a nice experience.
In stark contrast is the other house guest situation we have going on. Over a year ago the paternal unit moved into our house. He didn’t really have any options. He was in poor health and, due to some problems with his documentation, had been deported from Ireland after having lived there for 18 years. He showed up on our doorstep with nothing but a back pack. Over a year later, and with his health much improved, he is still living with us and, seemingly in no hurry to leave. I know it seems cold to want your dad to move out but the fact is this isn’t someone who really was a “daddy” figure in my life. I visited him 1-2 times a year when I was a kid. He called me periodically. While he was out of the country he would email once every month or so and we saw him 5 times in 18 years. The bond isn’t strong and he’s always been more interested in being a disciplinarian than a father. He has lived alone for thirty years and has no awareness of what it’s like to be considerate of others. I spend as much time picking up after him as I do my kids and the three bonus kids. I follow him around the house turning off lights, radios and TVs that he’s left on, having to scrub silverware that he’s left with food on it during his late night feedings and driving him to this place and that. I’ve found that asking him to do/not do things results in zero change (very similar to my pre-teen!!). We can’t discipline or have a discussion with our children without him interfering and trying to be the disciplinarian. He’s made minimal effort to really get to know my kids, mostly he just wants to teach them about things that interests him (the historical relevance of Bangers & Mash isn’t as interesting to my kids as just eating it).
At 15 months our family is stressed and needing to return to our former family unit. Despite my having researched, taken him to AND requested the application for low income elderly housing he has made ZERO effort to complete and send in the application. There is a waiting list so my mind keeps adding that unknown time stamp to the already unknown date of when he’ll actually complete and submit the application.
It is beyond frustrating that a 5, 7 and 11 year old have made more effort to adapt to the rules of our home, have shown more appreciation for being here and have a more solid exit plan than a 64 year old man.

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