Parenting is hard. There are some days that I dread getting out of bed, some days that I wish I worked a job that required major travel so I could wake up in the confines of a cozy hotel room, swaddled in a down comforter with endless hours of mindless television before me. And then, there is the guilt associated with having those dreams of solitude, making my life as a mom, an emotional rollercoaster ride. Parenting is an endless battle that is marked with occasional sweet moments that help us feel like "it's all worth it." I say, "us" because I'm hoping that other mothers feel this way and I'm not the only one who feels like she is going to lose her mind on any given day.
This morning, in particular, was exceptionally hard. Charlotte woke up early, and just when I thought that she was playing sweetly with her talking stuffed animals in her room, she started banging on the door, demanding I dole out milk, chicken nuggets, and "nuggles" (short for 'snuggles'-like, how can I pass up on that, right?) Emily had already woken and was, much to my surprise, dressing herself for camp. I submitted to their daily demands and got things rolling. Loaded the car with the bags that were pre-packed the night before on my mission to lessen the burden of my upcoming day. I fed the dog, got the girls' breakfasts ready and served, including the chicken nuggets. Milks were drank, a diaper was changed, and I managed to put my own clothes on before Emily demanded her second course..."salami, I want salami."
I had intentions of getting the salami, but I got sidetracked along the way...with the cereal that Charlotte had stolen from Emily and dumped on the floor, with the dog that needed to be administered his allergy meds, and with my own need to urinate. So, I forgot about the salami, and maybe it's for the better, since Emily could benefit from not having greasy meats first thing in the morning. By this point, it was time to get both girls out the door and to their activities for the day, which happened to be in two different towns.
But, Emily wasn't letting go of her dreams of salami in bed first thing in the morning, and her head started spinning. Picture a sweet little redhead transforming into Linda Blair from the exorcist. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a little scared when these tantrum fits occurred, which seemed to be every other day lately. As if she was reverting back to her toddler years, she started emitting this piercing monster-like screech if you can imagine such a thing. Her body then turned into one of those little puppets that punch rapidly when you pull the trigger. This was followed by claws digging into my arms when I tried to restrain her. She had one more thing to do before we could leave the house for the day and that was to brush her teeth, but she didn't want salami after the minty toothpaste touched her teeth. I can't blame her, but by this point the salami was a distant memory and she was flailing and kicking and using her body to convey how much she despised me as a parent. Meanwhile, Charlotte is walking around somewhere downstairs in only a diaper, likely flirting with the soft spoken man who is currently painting the interior of our new house.
I consider myself to be a pretty strong gal, but it took all my force to keep Emily pinned down before she hurt herself or damaged the walls. But, my bootcamp classes paid off and I kept her contained until I could convince her to brush her teeth. Her breathing was back to normal and after she told me to "not talk to her, look at her, or think about her ever again," she slammed the bathroom door and hopefully brushed her teeth. By this point, I was trying to wrestle Charlotte into clothes and get her into the car.
This is where the whole "mom guilt" thing comes in. After a relatively quiet ride to Emily's day camp, she confessed that she just wanted "more time with mama." With tears surfacing in her innocent blue eyes she said, "I just miss you so much and I just want to stay home and 'nuggle' you all day." Yes, she stole Charlotte's word to sound even sweeter.
Let's Talk About It
By 9:00am nearly every single day, I feel defeated. Parenting, in my opinion, is harder than any job I've ever held, it's harder than any college exams or essays I've had to write, more difficult than any half-marathon or obstacle course race I've ever attempted, and even more mentally challenging than the Air Force bootcamp I went through all those years ago.
And the only thing that managed to comfort me through this rocky morning was bumping into a couple of other disheveled moms on my way into the office. They too, had stories to tell about their mornings and looked as frustrated as I feel every day, and it made some part of me feel at ease. Unlike college exams, there are no study materials that can truly prepare you for parenthood. There are no extensions on a kid's health that allow for more time like a writing deadline, and you have to face everything in the moment, regardless of any other things that may be considered a priority. Unlike a bad job, you can't beef up your resume and find another. You are IN it. WE are IN it, and the only way to relieve some of the daily stresses and emotions of parenthood, is to talk about them, to laugh about them so we realize that we aren't alone in this rollercoaster ride of a life.
So, what's your story? Do you have any daily exorcisms or salami-obsessed children that make your blood pressure rise?