The Truth about Parenting

February 11, 2014

What is it about moms (and dads) always venting about the hardships of parenting… making parenthood seems like some awful trap. I admit it. I do it too. When I get together with my girlfriends we spew our guts about midnight wakings, ear-wrenching tantrums, potty mishaps, incessant whining, kids who don’t listen, monstrous messes…. and the list goes on. At a recent gathering of girlfriends (a baby shower), amidst our good-byes the all the mothers let out a long sigh, “Ahhhhh, that was so nice… shoulders slump… now it’s back to the kids….sigh again…”

“Geez, you guys sure make this parenting thing seem like a lot of fun!” said the glowing, newly pregnant mom-to-be as she glanced down at her blooming belly with a moment of hesitance.

Immediately, without hesitance the moms all chimed in, “Oh, but it really is the best!”….”We are just venting”…. “Being a parent is the most wonderful thing in the world!”

…. and then it hit me. If it is so great, why do we complain about our kids all the time?

Why do we make parenting out to be such a bad thing?” And then timely as such, this article, “My Life is a Waking Nightmare“, popped up in my Facebook newsfeed calling out the rise of parents and bloggers making parenting out to seem “god awful.” And it’s true. We parents do this. And when I catch myself doing it more often, and taking lots of deep breaths throughout the day before picking up and carrying on… it’s a sign. It’s a sign that I need a break.  There are no breaks in parenting. And sometimes it is hard to admit that we need one.

Just the other day my husband sensed my frustration and anxiety levels were rising (this was on day 3 of our power outage) and graciously he suggested, “Why don’t you go out and get a pedicure?”

“A pedicure??? Why does everyone always suggest that I get a *&$#ing pedicure?!!!!”

“Oh, sorry.” Tail tucked between his legs… “I just thought it’s something you like. And it seems like you need a break.”

He was right. But in the moment a “bleeping pedicure” didn’t seem like enough while I simultaneous wanted to seem super-mom-ish enough not to need a time out in the first place.

But moms (and dads) need breaks. We need breaks so we can enjoy the things we love about our kids so much. The things we should be writing and talking about…. like when I swoop my baby out of his crib every morning and immediately nuzzle my nose into his drooly mouth…. inhaling his stinky morning breathe that I absolutely adore because he is mine and I made him. Yep. I could write about that. I could also write about when my 4 year old son snuck out of his bed at nap time yesterday, saw me folding laundry, and said with a smirk, “You know, mom, 11 hands are better than 2.” Or when I am upset with him for something, he looks at me, tries to make me laugh and says, “That’s my girl!” when I cave in and smile. I could write about that too. Or when my 2 year old sneaks in my bed at night, snuggles up on my back, and even though we should probably bring him back to his room, my husband and I revel in his cuteness and think, “Do you think he’ll still love us this much when he’s 25?” Or when I sit back and watch my boys play…together…happily…’s a slice of heaven I tell you.….. Yes. I could also write about that.  Or I could write about how the best feeling on earth is when your baby falls asleep on your chest.

parentingBecause these are the moments that erase all of the nonsense. And there is a lot of nonsense.

So right now, I am writing this in the waiting room of a Sunoco station while my mom-mobile gets an oil change and my sister in law watches my kids at home. Is it a vacation to Mexico type of break? No, but it’s a break. And I’ll take it. And when I go home with a full tank of patience and my kids spill juice on the floor or injure one another in a wrestling match or dump out their drawers looking for a specific shirt or all have to poop at the same time…. all I will see is that they are just kids being kids instead of kids that are totally driving me insane.

When a mom vents to me about her kids or I read a post about the trials of parenthood, I never have to question how much those parents love their kids. Go to any school concert and watch the parents fight to get a seat in the front row, high-zoom SLR camera prepped and ready, sitting on the edge of their seats, tearing up at their little baby singing, “Your a Grand Old Flag”…. or go to the carline at school pick up and watch the embrace between parent and child when they reunite….or the look on any parent’s face when their child scores a goal or toots a squeaky note on an instrument. The love and the happy moments outweigh all the “god awful” stuff. But sometimes, sometimes, (ok a lot of times) we talk about it because it feels good (so good) to hear someone else say, “I hear ya!”

  • Casey Leigh
    February 11, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    J’s one liners are so classic! He cracks me up!!!!! Priceless!!!!

  • Katie
    February 11, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Great post!! Want to get a pedicure this weekend?! 😉

  • Lindsay
    February 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I LOVE this! So true!

  • Stephanie
    February 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    How true! Great post and great reminder to just take a breather every now and again (even if it is just the few minutes while all the kids are occupying the bathrooms)!

  • Carrie @ Chockababy
    February 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I, too, am against all of the negativity. I can be drawn into it at times, but I really try to stay positive. This is a blessing. A blessing so many women would love and can’t have. It’s not ALL bad… so let’s advertise the good parts too!

  • mom
    February 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Be Positive …. like your Dad!

  • Jessica @EatSleepBe
    February 12, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    This is so SPOT ON, even down to the bleeping pedicure. We all really do need a chance to refill our tanks sometimes.

    • Sisters to Sons
      February 16, 2014 at 7:37 am

      The bleeping pedicure is definitely key!!

  • Jo-Lynne Shane {Musings of a Housewife}
    February 13, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I love this!

  • Jeanine @MommyEntourage
    February 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I think the snow days and lack of playing and running around outside have made so many of us moms a little more stressed out than usual, too. I have found that even taking a little time to myself can really recharge my battery! Sometimes a little alone time can really work wonders. Thanks for sharing your post.

  • Kathryn @ Mamacado
    February 14, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I REALLY relate to this post as a working mom of a 3 and 1 year old. There are so many hard times, but you have to focus on and appreciate the beautiful times – and there are so many.

    PS – I love the “tank of patience” reference 🙂

  • Dawn at Momsanity
    February 15, 2014 at 9:23 am

    It’s so hard to remember to take a break sometimes (even if it’s a trip to the gas station), but it is so necessary! Funny enough, I recently wrote a post called “Justifying My Pedicure…And Other Things,” about doing just that! Any time I’m overwhelmed or just plain old tired because my son is boycotting sleep, I also try to put it in perspective: This stage will pass, and soon enough, he’s going to be a surly teenager who doesn’t want to talk to me, so I’m going to enjoy (almost) every minute of this baby/toddler craziness while it’s happening!

    • Sisters to Sons
      February 16, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Thanks, Dawn! Read your post and loved it so much I shared it on my FB fan page! Great to meet you…. look forward to reading more of your blog!

  • Jennifer-Mommy Life After Ph.D.
    February 15, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Amen to breaks! Parents need them every now and then, and they need to vent about the crazies within the safety of the parenting circle, where each of us knows that we love our children more than anything even though (and maybe especially because) they drive us completely loony. Great post! Here from #SITSblogging

  • Krystal Bernier
    February 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Lovely thoughts! I am expecting in July and I know becoming a mom will be tough, but I’m so looking forward to all those other moments that make parenting worth it 🙂

  • Krystal Bernier
    February 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Oh and FYI – I love your website, very clean and easy to find stuff.

    • Sisters to Sons
      February 16, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Thanks, Krystal! Just had my site redone recently… love to hear your feedback!! Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy… hope you are feeling great!

  • Brittany
    February 15, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I’m in the same place with my kids right now. I love them, but they are driving me absolutely bonkers. The 4yo has too much energy, the 8mo is teething, and we’ve had snowstorm after snowstorm later. What I wouldn’t give for a quiet oil change! Oh well, 5 min til bedtime. Then I can miss them again 🙂

    • Sisters to Sons
      February 16, 2014 at 7:36 am

      I hear ya!! SOmetimes bedtime can’t come soon enough! THanks for visiting! Heading over to check out your blog 🙂

  • Suzanna
    February 16, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Oh, thank you for this post! Just this morning I decided to be treasure my almost-7-week-old’s need to be held to sleep the past few mornings because far too soon this little dude is going to want nothing to do with mama’s snuggles. I love parenting so far, but holy cow, this mama could use some sleep! 😉

    I’m over from the #SITSsharefest!


  • Leah Sannar
    February 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Lindsey, this is so true!! I have often pondered how parenting is the most complex thing in the world, and yet it’s so simple! How do you love someone soooo much, and then turn around and realize that certain someone can take your sanity right to the edge of what you handle?

    I love motherhood. But occasionally, motherhood doesn’t return my feeling and I find myself wanting to huddle in a corner and suck my thumb. :o)

    I found your blog via SITSShareFest! I’m just a little late reading it because life got crazy again.

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