Thursday, July 10, 2014

The ugly unspoken truth about parenting

The truth is...

Sometimes I don't like being a mom. 
Sometimes I just want to drive to the store for apple juice and not return. 

I'm not the mom I thought I would be. 
I yell at my kids.
I say things out of anger that I immediately regret. 
I cry when they go to bed because I know I have destined them for a life of therapy. 

You may not enjoy your children a lot of the time. 
You may not even like them. 
You may not like being their mom. 
You may even dream about what life would be like if they weren't born. 
(That one leaves you as soon as they fall asleep - and that's when mama guilt comes in. No worries, I'll talk on that in just a bit) 
Truth is... 
It's normal. 

I have a couple of friends who have perfect children. 
They were born sleeping through the night. 
They never went through the dreaded terrible two's (or threes or fours) 
They never had an attitude problem. 
They never threw a tantrum in public. 
They woke up one morning at age 2 and decided "I'm going to be a big boy/girl" and that was their version of potty training. 
They eat what is put in front of them without any arguments. 
They were never told twice to say please, thank you, yes sir, or bless you. 
They get along with their siblings and never argue. 
They actually want to help do chores and put things in the exact place it should go. 
And they love cleaning their rooms. 

But those few children aren't the majority of children. 
So that makes parenting hard for the most of us. 

Half the time I feel like I'm not a mom but a referee just trying to keep everyone alive. 

Raising kids is like teaching wild monkeys how to be servers in a fine dining restaurant. 
Except thanks to social media you have the whole world watching every move you make and criticizing every fault you have. 
And heaven forbid you mention how tough it is raising kids. Or hint that you need a break. 
Because if you have more than 2 children, you'll get a lot of "Well you should have thought about how hard it was going to be before you had X amount of kids!"
Or worse. 
"I told you that you should have stopped at number 2!" 

The judgement.

Because I have more than the "perfect" number of children I am automatically not allowed to say how hard raising kids really is. All because I brought this on myself. 
And those people are right I guess. Two kids was easier than five kids. 
But I love my last three kids just as much as my first two, and I can't imagine them not being here. 
And the comments about how all this chaos could have been prevented isn't doing me much good right now. Thank you very much. 

Lets skip to the guilt. 

I'd like to thank Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest for creating what I dread most about parenting.

Mama guilt.  

Mama guilt was around before all these social media sites but boy they really know how to lay it on a mom who is about to loose her mind. Before these sites I didn't have mama guilt as bad because it wasn't shoved down my throat all the things I should be doing with my children.
No one really posts about how they thought about running away when their child pooped in the floor for the fourth time. In. the. same. day. 
(Yes, that happens) 
No one was trying to out-pintrest the next mama. 
No one had a place to post 700 pictures of the 8 hour family time day you had. Your perfect little family doing perfect little things for 8 hours straight. 
(You don't fool me. I know after 30 minutes you were ready to leave too) 
Instead they picked up a phone, called their other mom friends and cried all while the friend reminded them that this was a stage and raising toddlers was hard... and that it would pass.  
They compared horror stories about raising kids and you both hung up the phone feeling better that at least your kid will have company in therapy. 

That brings me to another guilt I loathe now that I have kids...

Friendship guilt. 

As if mama guilt isn't enough, I quite often feel what I like to call friendship guilt. Not only am I a horrible mother for thinking/saying/doing terrible things that will ruin my children for years to come but I am a horrible friend. I can't have a regular pre-kids conversation anymore. I say I'm going to call you back, and I don't. It's not because I don't want too. Quite the opposite actually. I want so badly to just have an hour to spend chatting with my friends... catching up on their lives and how they are doing. But I can't. 
Because someone puked. Or peed. Or pooped. 
Someone hit their brother and I spent an hour making sure nothing was broken. 
This is my life. 
It's crazy. It's loud. It's wild. 
And what I don't need is another guilt trip in my head because my friends are mad that we never talk anymore. 

I'm trying to be the best mom I can be. And I'm juggling that with being the best wife I can be, and the best friend I can be. And when you have little people running around wanting you to give all your attention to them, something has to not become such a huge priority. And as much as it pains me to say it, sometimes that means friendships will be put on the back burner while you navigate through these toddler years. 
Don't give up on me. 
There will come a day when I will be able to chat for hours while my kids could care less what I'm doing.

So many mom's are like myself right now. Struggling to figure out the in's and out's of raising kids. 
I know so many friends who want to know that they aren't alone in the feelings they have some days. 
I know it will get better, and then harder, and then better again.
And I know there is truth behind the saying "you'll miss this..." because truth be told... I already miss some of it. 
But I'm tired of beating myself up about feeling the way I do and feeling like I'm alone in these thoughts when I know I'm not. 

To those mom's who are struggling with these same thoughts and feelings.. 
it's normal. 

It's called parenting.