Listen, it’s no secret that parenting is hard. I never thought it would be a picnic, but I don’t think anyone can prepare you for the 24-hour-ness of it all, the relentlessness. Yesterday and today I’ve had exactly 45 minutes to myself, from 1:30-2:15pm. This is when (by some miracle) both children are napping concurrently and I can use that time to throw some lunch into the microwave and shovel it down, or pay some bills or (like I did yesterday) flop on to the bed into a sort of coma.
There are wondrous parts to raising kids. Hilarious parts. Fun parts. But there are also hard parts and this wouldn’t be a proper “mommy blog” if it didn’t sometimes speak about those. In fact, a friend without kids asked me recently if it was all worth it. He’s probably only ever heard people complain, so no wonder that he was really curious. I think that’s because parents don’t often run around saying how incredible it was when their child first said “Mama”, or when they smiled at you with such love in their eyes. We don’t talk about those moments enough.
Of course I said to my friend that it WAS worth it. I said that if you take a week of seven days, that maybe only one day out of those seven is REALLY hard. The rest are challenging but they are manageable and rewarding and often beautiful. But that one day is difficult and I’ve had two of those in a row.
On that one day you may lean down to pick up another dropped dummy or toy or piece of biscuit (with the baby on your hip as usual), and your back may hurt and you may have a headache and your one child is screaming for his lunch and the other one has made a poo on the lawn and you think: “Really? I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this.”
And sometimes at about 3pm you’ll wonder “Have I had lunch?” because you really cannot remember but your stomach is rumbling, so you probably haven’t. And you’ll notice that your bladder is full and you’ll have to head off to the bathroom (still with a baby on your hip) and then your other child will come in and demand her Hello Kitty water bottle and you think it may be in the car, but it could also be in her room amongst her toys and then you forget to go to the toilet entirely and only remember an hour later again.
My husband is away, so I’ve spent this weekend solo with the two kids and that is why it was particularly hard. Lord knows how single mothers cope – they are made from tougher stuff than me. The thing is, women have been doing this for centuries. So why do I find it so hard? Am I more selfish than most mothers? More entitled, that I expect things to be easier? Or does everyone find it this hard, it’s just that most mothers don’t vocalise it, they grin and bear it and hope that things will improve?
I think we need to be more honest with each other sometimes. And feel less guilty for admitting that parenting IS hard, a lot of the time. And we also need to know when to ask for help. I’m terrible at that, and the truth is that although we may not need a whole village to raise a child, we certainly need more than one person and I’ve realised that this weekend.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put it: “A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic”. So please excuse me, because the lunatics are about to wake up and I want to go to the bathroom, while I still remember.
Have good weeks all.
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