This week has been full of so many great things: great friends, great food and great conversations. What surprises me most is the number of moms I talk with (friends and strangers) who absolutely agree with me that parenting is the hardest job. (I thought for sure I’d find someone who thinks this is all just breezy). It’s not just the monotony of the daily routine that’s hard, although that can wear on a mom too, it’s the emotional ups and downs our kids have that have us reacting like someone just scratched their nails along a chalk board. (Or insert any other spine tingling, nerve attacking sensation).
I find it reassuring when I meet other moms who have “difficult” “spirited” or “challenging” children. It makes me feel like; OK I’m not the only parent who questions their abilities on a near daily basis. I’m not the only mom losing her mind trying to understand why … just WHY can’t my kids wipe their own butts? Why do they fight so much? Why can’t they drink from a cup without spilling it all over themselves? (Seriously kids, it’s not rocket science it’s a cup!). Why do they need a band aid for an imaginary cat? Why does their teddy bear need a band aid too? And for the love, why does the world screech to a halt when someone’s sister sits THISCLOSE?!
Kids. I love them, but they drive me crazy! Mine can certainly test my limits. But, isn’t that what childhood is for? Testing limits and learning just what makes this crazy world tick? I have to keep reminding myself that my kids are learning something about life and the world around them whenever they freak out when someone bumps ahead of them, or they cry because the shopping cart they want is gone. It can seem like such an annoyance, and yes some days it is when I’m in a hurry. But, (grrrr) it’s my stinking job to teach them how to get through these moments. I have to use my “nice” voice to model for them how to correctly and appropriately respond. I can’t say things like, “shut up and sit down! I’M in charge here!!” no matter how much I REALLY want to!
I think some days the hardest part about parenting is digging deep to find that self-restraint, that self-control that is going to teach my kids the right way to handle a situation. Guess what? I fail. A lot. Like, really fail. I may or may not have ripped the handle off of my husband’s driver’s side car door in response to a screaming child who just bit her sister. In my defense, I did a spectacular job ignoring her glass shattering screams for the first two hours of our two and a half hour road trip. It was that last half hour that did me in. I also confess I had no idea what I was going to do once I got that door open. All I know is I pulled over and wanted to get out of that car FAST. I am happy to report we all made it home in one piece (of which I reminded my husband as I hung my head in shame and handed over the door handle to his car).
My point in all of this is, well we’ve all been there. It’s really true. At some point every single parent will feel like they have zero control over their child’s behavior. I think those of us who take this “raising productive humans” thing so deeply serious are the ones who are freaking out the most. We are feeling the pressure of doing everything right the first time. Truth is, no one gets it right the first time. That’s why most people get a practice kid (sorry first born). You get a chance to see that all that freaking out isn’t going to change a darn thing and it is certainly not going to motivate your kids into getting their shit together either.
So to my mom friends who keep me real and help me see parenting from a broader perspective, I thank you. If it wasn’t for all of you screwing up your own kids first, I’d never feel this good about doing whatever I’m doing just to survive my day! (Don’t worry I’m messing up my kids too *wink*).
Do you ever feel like you’re alone in your parenting struggles?
The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.
Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy