So, if you were to read a lot of bloggers out there, myself included, we joke, we poke fun, we appeal to heartstrings. A lot of what you don’t see, however, are the moments where we are less than the ideal picture represented online. I don’t want to speak for any of them other than myself, but as I’m a human and as they’re human, I simply assume that they have similar feelings… like all parents do. Granted, I’m just going off my experience as both having been a child and now being a parent.
These moments exist in a similar fashion as their more jovial counterparts, fleeting and yet mood-changing. The amazing thing about children can also be the most frustrating. They have an almost zen-like ability to be a screaming tantrum monster one second and a cherubic cute factory the next with no turn-around time. Adults take longer to adjust and tend to hang on to stuff longer, especially the negative.
There are moments when my near inexhaustible levels of patience have been nearly exhausted and I’m just counting the minutes until bedtime. Suddenly, an explosion of anger from him (which usually involves throwing things or fists or feet) or a sudden explosion of pain from me as I’m hit in the runestones for the umpteenth time causes a string of obscenities to race through my mind (as well as some anger, frustration or rage to course through my body) and occasionally a few spew out (which then necessitates a discussion about what are and are NOT ‘Ben Words’). These are the moments that take the most out of you as a parent, these are the moments that make you long for just five minutes alone in the bathroom.
It’s hard during these moments to recall that the little emotional maelstrom of spinning bellicosity in front of you is not your enemy, is not trying to intentionally hurt you, and is, in actualty, one of the greatest loves of your life. It’s hard sometimes to stay calm and rational and, above all, act as an adult, when you’re surrounded by the tiny terror of tantrums all day.
So, what I’m saying, essentially, that while a lot of the times the internet makes parenting look easy or funny, it’s not the whole picture. Parenting is difficult and filled with a LOT of unexpected twists and turns, not all of them good ones.
For all of you who are parents, I want you to know that your efforts are appreciated. Maybe not by the child, and not at that moment, but there will be a time in that child’s future where the light bulb will spring to life and the epiphany will hit when they look into their own child’s eyes and realize the love, patience and effort it took to bring them to where they are today. Those are the moments we work so hard for.
Parents, tonight in the quiet, take time to enjoy what you’ve done so far, have a glass of wine and congratulate yourself on your efforts. You’ve done well. Reward yourself with a little Minecraft (or whatever past time you enjoy that you’ve not gotten to do as much because of your priority of raising children), but above all, love and forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself. After all, we know that kids are prone to do what we do and not what we say, no matter how often we encourage the reverse.