Being a Parent is Hard.. Confessions of a Jaded Mommy

Today was just one of those days.

The kind where you feel defeated. You’re exhausted, distended, at your wit’s end. Even the slightest amount of disorder irritates you to immense proportions. You’re overworked and under-rested, and understandably less than tolerant.

Being a parent is hard.

Every parent has experienced this at some point or another, and unfortunately, it’s not a topic covered in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. No one tells you about the sleepless nights spent obsessing over your worth as a parent. Or the guilt that consumes you when you kiss your child goodnight, only to realize you spent more time scolding them that day than encouraging them. Every thought, every decision is made with the lives of someone else in mind and every once in a while it’s terrifying. If you’re reading this and think I sound cynical or irresponsible, that I should have known and been prepared for the struggles associated with creating a life before doing so, I would bet my life savings that you havn’t had your own kids yet. I’ve been a parent for the last 5 years, and they have been the best, most fulfilling years of my life so far – but that in no way exempts me from these kinds of days. These overwhelming, consuming thoughts and worries that I may in some way mess this up. Not only do we face pressure from society and the media but our own primal drive to raise healthy, independent, strong offspring. I sometimes spend so much time over-analizing my skills as a parent I forget to just be a parent; to try to see the world through the eyes of my children and to understand that our priorities are profoundly different.

It was one of those days where the paint and glitter stained clothing seemed more important than the “I love you just because..” card made by such little, caring hands. I saw the breakfast mess on the counter and felt disrespected instead of proud of the independence shown by my oldest, when he makes breakfast for himself and his little sister. Most of all I hated the sigh of relief I breathed as I closed that bedroom door tonight and wrapped up yet another day.

But that’s the problem. It’s not just another day. It’s a day in my children’s life that I can never get back and I spent it on irritated auto-pilot, just trying to make it through. Taking for granted every hug and kiss, and dare I even say; feeling annoyed with the amount of genuine affection and gratuity I received from them. Wishing there were more hours in a day to fulfill homesteading and work duties rather than embracing the hours we already have. Hours that may seem chaotic and stressful at the time, but are actually the foundation for the memories we carry with us as our children grow older.

I don’t have a list of coping mechanisms for you, or a surefire method of how to turn yourself around on these kinds of days. In my opinion they are inevitable and part of parenting but I want you to know you’re not alone, even if it’s not a topic shared at play dates or in parenting manuals. It almost seems taboo for a Mother to admit temporary defeat but it doesn’t make you less of a parent. These worries and feelings are counter-productive, but parenting is about learning and growing and adapting. Not beating yourself up over every little decision you make or striving for perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist, especially when raising a family. There will be ups and downs, maybe even a few zig zags but calm waters never make for a skillful sailor.

As I sit here writing this I can’t help but feel solace for finally getting this off my chest. For putting it out there for the world to see in hopes of shedding light on something most Mothers avoid talking about. Maybe its to avoid ridicule or showing signs of weakness. But we are people too, just like everyone else. We have good days and bad days, we may feel strong emotion or disconnect. We need time to grow and flourish not only as Mothers but as Women too.

Being a parent is hard.

It’s not always fun and it’s definitely not easy, but it is worth it. Every damn day.

 

*Originally posted in the Reflections category on The Modern Mommy

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