My mom is the eternal optimist. Always urging us to find the silver lining in any situation. And while I do try to do this, sometimes you just need to accept that some things just are as they are and nothing you do will change that. Yes, I love my kids, no, I wouldn’t give up being a parent for anything but no matter how incredible this journey can be sometimes, there are some things I just can’t for the life of me, find the silver lining in. In fact, I have to be honest and say that things are a lot easier in our household than what they used to be. My girls are older (5 and 7), they sleep, they eat, they pretty much bath themselves, they wipe their own bums, they play very well together (mostly!) but saying all that, it certainly is no breeze as they come with new challenges that getting older brings. I still have my days (many actually) where I feel like I can’t do this and I want to scream a blood curdling scream at the mere sound of a little one calling, ‘mommmyyy!’ Because, sorry mom to be gloomy about this, but there are some things about being a parent that just suck.
1. NOT BEING ABLE TO GO OUT SPONTANEOUSLY.
Now that my kids are a bit older, we are able to be more spontaneous in the day. However, when it comes to us wanting to go out on our own, it’s a different story. We need to plan ahead in order to book the baby sitter or granny or whoever will be looking after our girls. Not much spontaneity going on there. Just the other night, a date night I had booked for a month in advance, nearly didn’t happen due to a misunderstanding with one babysitter and so I had to try organise another baby sitter at the last minute. It’s moments like these that I realise and even, to be honest, resent having to plan and organise so much just to be able to go out with my husband. Not to mention the cost factor involved of getting someone to look after them.
2. BEING BEATEN UP.
When my youngest was a few months old, while holding her in our arms, we used to constantly get head butted by her as she was such a wriggler and had this head butting thing going on. Trying to put a baby grow on her was near to impossible as her legs would kick and ultimately connect right in the middle of our tummies. Now that they’re bigger, somehow there’s always an elbow, head or something which manages to land quite precisely on our noses or other body parts. I don’t know how many times my poor husband has been elbowed, kneed, or kicked in the balls!
3. HAVING TO SAY THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN!
If you are a parent who has kids who listen the first time you talk, please contact me right now and let me know your secret. It really can be like talking to a wall and sometimes I even wonder whether that at least would be a lot less frustrating. Repeating the same sentence, ‘brush your teeth, put on your shoes, come for supper’ is just not my idea of fun and very often can lead me to that blood curdling scream I was referring to earlier.
4. SETTING BOUNDARIES.
I know how important setting boundaries are which is why we do it and I am all for it and see the results in my girls. However, it’s such hard work! It’s something we know we need to do but does anyone actually enjoy it? I certainly don’t. I don’t enjoy having to always make responsible choices for my children even though I know it’s what’s best for them. Standing your ground takes hard work and sometimes it’s just so damn boring and tiresome and makes me feel a bit like this! (see pic below)
5. BEING TIRED ALL THE TIME.
So, although I have 2 girls who are good sleepers, we still feel tired most of the time. From getting to bed too late because that’s the only time we have to ourselves as adults or we’re up working, to someone being sick, my youngest waking up for a wee, the dog scratching, life being busy, it’s full on and non stop and quite frankly, pretty flipping exhausting.
6. BEING SCREAMED AT FOR TRYING TO HELP.
If only we knew that helping our little ones put a jersey on when their head is clearly stuck and they’re in danger of strangling themselves is a terrible thing, or passing a bowl to them because it’s too high for them to reach on their own is an atrocious thing to do as a parent, then at least we wouldn’t try help and let them suffer at it on their own!
7. NOT KNOWING WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
I remember those beginning stages of when they were little babies. The constant questioning would drive me crazy. Why are they crying? Are they hungry? Tired? Gassy? Who the hell knows?! There is so much uncertainty as to whether you are doing the right thing. Then they start talking and although they can tell you if they’re hungry, tired or sick that uncertainty doesn’t stop. Now it becomes about, should I have said that? Should I have done that? Was that the right way of dealing with that situation? Have I scarred them? The feeling of not knowing what the hell you’re doing doesn’t end. You just hope that you’re doing the right thing and trust in that.
8. HAVING TO NEGOTIATE THE MOST RIDICULOUS FIGHTS.
I don’t know what it’s like for other people but my girls manage to fight over the most ridiculous things and then we, as the parents, have to spend the energy trying to negotiate a way out. I know in their lives, these seemingly inconsequential things to us are really big deals for them but come on! There’s only so many times I can try negotiate over who gets the pink bowl, who gets to sit next to who, who got more, who got less, who opened the door first, who gets to pour the milk first….arghh!!!
9. SCREWING UP.
This is one of the biggest things that suck. Because no matter how much we love them, how much we are present for them, care for them, look after them, ultimately we are screwing up in some way or another. Because it’s hard. Because we’re human. Because we’re parents and that’s just what we do. But maybe knowing that we’re screwing up in some way can help alleviate some pressure of having to do it right all the time. It’s when we have the illusion that we’re going to do this thing perfectly, that really sets us up for disaster and disappointment. But if we know beforehand that we’re going to screw up, when it happens we can be like, ‘Oh, ok, cool, that was bound to happen. Moving on now…’
10. FEELING GUILTY.
My guilt started with the birth of my first daughter in that instead of coming out the way I intended, through my vagina, she came out instead through a slit cut open above my vagina. Not according to my plan. Guilt.The next bit of guilt came after we brought her home and after crying non stop, in exasperation,(and kind of jokingly) I asked my husband, ‘Can we take her back?!’ Not being able to change her nappy for the first 2 weeks due to me being in major pain after 36 hours of labour and an emergency caesarian only added a little bit more guilt to the load that was already starting to pile up. And it hasn’t stopped. From shouting at them, to feeling like I’m not present with them, don’t play with them enough, feeling irritated with them, the guilt just keeps on piling and piling up. Yip, this part of being a parent truly sucks!
11. WORRYING ABOUT THEM.
I like to think I was a pretty chilled mom when they were babies. I didn’t feel I was overly paranoid or protective and as far as first time moms go, I was relatively relaxed. But now! I can’t say the same. It’s not that I’m overly paranoid but I definitely tend to worry a lot more. Because, well, it feels like there’s more to worry about. When they’re little, at least you can keep your eye on them most of the time, but now, they’re out of my sight a lot more. They’re at school every day. They go on play dates on their own. They get lifts in cars with other people. They climb trees, do acrobatic moves on the monkey bars, roller blade, ride bikes, jump into the pool, horse ride…do you see where I’m going with this??? However much my instincts tell me I should be wrapping them up in bubble wrap before they go anywhere or do anything, I know that I need to let them explore, expand, learn, experience all that they can. I need to trust that they’ll be ok. But doing this is just sometimes really hard and really sucks 🙁
I guess if I really tried hard to see the silver lining I could say this. That every one of these things challenges and forces me to look deeper into myself, to discover more of who I am. They push me to places I never thought I’d go. They force me to take a good hard look at the mirror that my children are reflecting to me and help me become a better, more conscious person. Yes, that would be the silver lining. That would be the silver lining for when I’m in the mood for being conscious, enlightened and present. And for the times that I’m not, these are the things about being a parent that just suck.
When I’m in one of those conscious, enlightened and present moods I’ll be sure to write about the 100 things about being a parent that are the best thing ever. For now though, I’m sticking with this.
Would you like to indulge with me in my ‘no silver lining moment’? Go on…what would you say are the things about being a parent that just suck?