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…..it’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.
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!”