Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Honesty in Parenting

I thought I'd manage to get something done with her in the playpen, but she chewed her way out

One of the Facebook pages that I follow is Moms Who Need Wine. It's a fun little group that posts humorous stuff about parenting, as well as wine reviews. None of the moms take themselves too seriously. Or so I thought. That changed the other morning when one of the moderators posted, "Do you ever have those days where you wake up and just don't feel like parenting?" And a mini-war erupted. A couple of people left the group in a huff. Some were appalled that a mommy would ever consider not mommy-ing.


As I pointed out in my comment, nobody asked who wakes up and doesn't want to be a parent. Parenting is a different thing. It involves cleaning messes and dealing with tantrums and cooking meals and entertaining a little person with the attention span of a goldfish on crack. It's tough work. I think Squid is the coolest toddler I know and I love spending time with her, but I wake up some mornings, groaning at the thought of doing all the parenting stuff. And I have a full-time job outside the home that takes me away from it all every third day.

Squid even tires out babysitters.

I mentioned in the post how I would love to have someone do all the "work" for me from time to time. They could wake up and get Squid dressed and fed while I slept in for 5 more minutes or actually enjoyed my coffee. I can't imagine these super-moms who leap out of bed EVERY SINGLE MORNING, happy to attend to all the needs of their delightful, precious angels. Who get excited about a fun-filled day of Raffi and Sesame Street and kids asking for cookies (or, in Squid's case, signing for crackers because she doesn't want to eat anything that looks healthy today). They must be overjoyed when their special little snowflake eats another crayon, not 30 seconds after you pulled one out of his or her mouth. Why the hell are they following Moms Who Need Wine anyway????

I think you missed a little spot over there.

Another follower gave a long (and slightly rambling) discourse on how none of us have ever struggled to have children and if we did, we would know what a gift it is to be a parent. First, yes. Yes, it is a gift to be a parent. One that I cherish each and every day. I have suffered losses. Squid's was not the easiest pregnancy. I ended up in the hospital with pre-eclampsia and Squid had meconium aspiration, just days before my scheduled C-section. I know, without a doubt, that I am lucky to have her in my life. 

But.... I am honest enough to know that parenting isn't glamorous. And it's not always fun. And I'm one of the lucky ones. I have a husband who is extremely involved in our child's life. He changes diapers and feeds her. He lets me sleep for a few hours after a rough 24-hour shift, taking care of Squid on his own. On the days that I work and he's off, he's on his own with our little girl.  But, he works midnights, and I am often left on my own while he sleeps during the day and is gone all night. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I definitely deserve a glass of wine or a beer after she finally falls asleep on occasion.

And... Daddy's nose doubles as a teething toy.
Finally, I think it's sad that there is so much pressure to only emphasize the positive aspects of being a parent. How are we expected to ask for or receive help if we are supposed to keep up this charade of being perfect? Especially those of us who went through so much in order to have a child? We're made to feel like ungrateful wretches if we even dare whisper that this isn't all that it's cracked up to be. We're reminded that there are plenty of other women who would trade places with us in a heartbeat. Yes, of course they would. Who wouldn't want a sweet little girl who randomly comes up to you to give you a hug and a kiss? Who wouldn't want to watch a toddler laugh uproariously as they fall into a beanbag chair (again)? Being a parent is great. But that doesn't mean that we don't have those days where we wish someone else would take over the icky parts. That could leave more time for me to do the fun stuff, like reading books or coloring or just snuggling. Because there is never enough time for that.

They trick you by looking so sweet while they're sleeping.

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