I have three absolutely adorable daughters. Really, they are fantastically fun and smart and cute and get along well.
But let’s not talk about that right now. Let’s talk about the times I kind of hate them a little bit. Or more.
I yell at my kids. A lot. I wish I didn’t. I also apologize to them. A lot. And don't mind the constant bruise on my forehead. It's just from beating my head against a brick wall every day.
I waffle between “Are you kidding me?!?!” and “I love you so much, you adorable little things, so come snuggle with me!” all day long. It’s exhausting.
I understand why some parents disappear. I understand why some parents lose it and beat their kids. I understand why some parents look for a different life. It doesn’t make it okay to do that, but I’ve experienced my fair share of moments when I had the thought “This. This kind of thing is what makes parents react in bad ways.” We’re responsible for the way we act and I’m sticking around, but let’s not kid ourselves and act like it’s a walk in the park to do it right.
Parenting is crazy hard.
I think it’s because it’s no one else’s job. If they’re sick, you’re up. If they don’t sleep, you’re up. If they struggle at school, you’re up. If they fear the dogs on the street, you’re up. If they fight amongst themselves, you’re up. If they don’t know the right decision, you’re up. If they have questions about everything, you’re up. If they need their hair done, and then fixed because it “looks weird”, you’re up. (News flash: I’m not all that great with hair. But I have 3 girls. Wha...?) If they spring a nose bleed late at night, you’re up. If they can’t sleep because of a cough, you’re up. If they feel sad at being far away from family, you’re up. If they feel frustrated because learning to read or tie shoes eludes them, you’re up. If their favorite doll has a rip and needs sewing, you’re up. If the diaper leaks and you have to clean poop off of half a dozen surfaces, you’re up. If they’re hungry, you’re up. If they’re done eating and the dishes pile high, you’re up.
“Full time” jobs are 40 hours per week. Parenting is 168 hours per week. How tired would you feel if you constantly worked 4 full time jobs?! Or say you get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night (lucky!), which just means you work 3 full time jobs-worth of parenting hours.
And I just want you to know...I get it. I live it. I’m slogging through a mess of a life as best I can, and I’m much better at some things than others. I like talking about all the ways we can live better, seek God more, understand more clearly...but that does not in any way, shape, form or fashion mean that I have it all together.
Just ask my kids. They know.
And...the neighbors probably do to.