I'm Tired of Parenting. So There.
It's January. The holidays are over. My five-year-old doesn't want to go back to kindergarten, nor does she want to play with the toys and games we've played with over and over and over ad nauseum for the past two months. It's too cold to go outside for more than an hour. Every indoor play place looks like a snot-smeared petri dish. I've run out of plot twists for the Barbies' pool parties.
I'm so done.
I adore my wee child, but I'm tired of parenting. I'm tired of guiding, suggesting and correcting bad behavior I know stems from boredom and frustration at being trapped inside. I'm tired of food preparation, clean-up and insisting she put on her hat and zip up her coat. I'm tired of trying not to just do things for my five-year-old my damn self because it would be faster. I'm tired of telling her to do her chores and go to sleep right now and sit up and eat. I'm tired of falling asleep while reading her books and not having the energy to have an adult conversation with my husband even though I did nothing taxing all day but repeat myself.
It's January, and right now I'd honestly like to let my daughter eat whatever she wants, wear whatever she wants and trash a nice padded room that I don't have to clean up with as many colors of fingerpaints as she wants. It's not that I'm tired of her, it's that I'm tired of trying to parent her.
You know what I mean? It's that worry that if you slack off, you're going to end up with a nightmare kid. Or at the very least, a kid with severe frostbite and scurvy.
Gail Underwood Parker of Upbeats and Downbeats has a unique perspective: She has raised older children and is now parenting younger children. She writes:
But when I get tired of parenting, of dealing with homework struggles or sibling squabbles for the umpee-thousandth time I celebrate the chances I have for do-overs, for mini or extreme makeovers, and for the blessings and focus of hindsight.
I think some hindsight would be awesome right about now. Though I fear my hindsight would be: "Enjoy this now, because teenagers are hell."
I parent now even though I'm tired of it because I feel like there's some window I'll miss if I don't stay on top of things. But I would love, love, love to relax my constant insistence that she eat vegetables and dress warmly and, for God's sake, say thank you when someone gives you something. As my friend Linda once said, "If I'd known someone could raise a perfectly good child while practicing benign neglect, I might have tried it myself."
I don’t enjoy tailing The Boy in every activity he pursues as though he might light himself on fire or get snatched up in a windowless van if my back were turned for 15 seconds. He’s a pretty responsible kid, especially for his age. My mom friends and I lament to each other about how we wish we could let our kids run around outside in little gangs, unsupervised, the way we used to run around when we were kids.
I have actually let my daughter run (at least to the next two yards over) pretty much unsupervised with her neighborhood gang, even though she is the youngest. I trust the others to at least tell me if she falls on her head. But I also know those little girls aren't taking into consideration whether the youngest is capable of doing what they can do, and I know they won't stop to wait for her if she can't. But the compelling part of Lynn's comment to me is her desire to let go, to stop trying to control the child. Because controlling the child is so tiring.
Even worse than trying to parent one kid? Trying to parent the whole neighborhood gang. I tried that once, and now I don't want the free range kids trashing my house. It's January, and we're all stuck inside.
Kori of See Kori Rant may have nailed my malaise on the head:
Things are a little wonky at our house just lately, though, and I would be hard-pressed to put a name to it. It isn’t that anything is wrong, per se, there is just a funky vibe running through everyone right now; I am hoping it is just too much togetherness.
Maybe that's it. Mabye I'm not tired of parenting. Maybe I just need to leave the house. Alone.
Is this happening to you?