There HAS to be a reason there are limitless blog posts written almost daily (it seems) for all the moms out there just trying to get by. Blogs about survival, encouragement, daily activities to make the most of your time, work-mom balance, how to raise strong-willed children, how to get them to clear their room, make up their bed, pee in the potty. It’s all there. Go find it, if you need it. Should it ever be in question – thanks to the Internet – no matter where you are in your parenting journey you are not alone. Please, for Heaven’s sake, do not ever forget that.
But it does seem to me that the hardest parts of parenting are miserable. Take for instance, my good friend who texted me a picture of her arm today covered in her baby’s poop. This is not a joke. If you haven’t been pooped on by your kid, then you’re not living. If I were to describe any of my kids’ most challenging situations they’ve put me in, I fully believe you would not want to hang out with me or them. We are a roller coaster of words, food, moods, poos, pees, tears, laughs and more going in and out all the day long. We start with smiles that quickly turn to tears. There is ne’er a meal that I don’t have one of my kiddos try to sit in my lap and eat off MY plate instead of the plate that sits in front of them that has the exact same food. I wake up every morning and before my feet hit the floor, I can look at my FitBit and see that somehow between the time I went to bed and the time I awoke, I’ve taken 325 steps. HOW? How can this happen when i’m supposed to be asleep. Because kids. Standing by your bed asking you to take them back to tuck them in. And you know what, I do it. Why? Because Robot Rosie doesn’t live at our house and I’m the most likely candidate.
When you become a parent you LOSE so many things:
CONTACT WITH THE WORLD
RESPECT (if you think your kids come out of the womb respecting you, think again, they come out wanting food and expecting it.)
DIGNITY (think mini-van)
PRIDE (think food on your shirt sleeve always)
ALONE TIME (think ZERO alone time)
PRIVACY (you best not forget to lock the bathroom door)
FRIENDS (I had a friend tell me the other day, that she remembers my first year of the twins as me not ever really getting out. I had to correct her – I NEVER WENT ANYWHERE.)
FLEXIBILITY (I can no longer really touch my toes, nor have any wrenches thrown into the mix. If it’s not on the schedule, I feel doomed)
DID I SAY MONEY?
I’m doing my best right now to help you understand, that being a parent is miserable.
That is… if you only looked at my list above and didn’t look into the eyes of the ones you love. Being a parent is a lot like being in love, your heart can’t handle if anything would ever happen to one of your babies. You feel the weight of the world as you receive the role as provider, protector and guider over their lives. It’s misery if you think that the weight of their lives and their success and safety rests ONLY on your shoulders.
That would be miserable.
And it really is hard. You give and give and give and give and sometimes don’t get anything in return… until someone looks up at you and holds out their hand to hold yours. Or out of the blue one of them says, “I love you.” As a friend and I discussed the other day, being a parent, wanting ANOTHER child makes absolutely no sense.
But most great things really don’t.
I am often told I’m a laid back mom. That I am a lot more tolerant than some. And that’s fine. I really don’t care too much if my kids have food on their face or if they fall – if I know they are OK. I do believe, though, that what matters is remembering that you can look at parenting as misery or you can look at it as a gift. Every single day with your child is a gift – young or old. Good days or hard ones. Breath is the sign of life – and that is so very good.
Like anything, parenting can be miserable if you only look at what you lose. Or at all of the cleaning up you have to do at the end of the day. Or the laundry. Or the dishes. Or the diapers. It CAN be miserable. But don’t forget to take inventory of the good. Of the joys. Of the blessings. Of the laughs. Of the short moments where they all play nicely together. Though parenting three small kids can be a lot of work, it’s WHO those three kids ARE that make it worth it.