There used to be a time, not so long ago, when you couldn't really talk about how hard it is to be a parent. Motherhood, especially, was cloaked in fantasy and illusions and assumptions and judgments. All you heard were words like "rewarding" and "wonderful" and "miraculous."
Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Women are speaking out--through blogs, books, articles, even musicals--about how hard it actually is. We know the truth: motherhood's not glamorous. And despite what some women wanna make you believe, it's not all glorious and totally fulfilling. We are finally being honest with each other about those days when you want to run away--the days when the kids are fighting and the laundry's piling and the bills are late and the baby refuses to sleep and everything is going wrong.
But what about the other days?
What about the ones when everything is relatively calm (we all know I'm using this word loosely) and we still feel like maybe, just maybe, we could run away anyway?
I've come to realize that I hate about 50% of parenting.
Even on easy days.
Cause here's the thing: there are no easy days.
Parenting is tedious. Parenting is exhausting. Parenting is stressful.
I don't enjoy giving my wiggly, whiny, tub-hating toddler a bath.
I don't enjoy convincing my strong-willed, opinionated 5-year-old to share his "special toy" with his brother.
I don't enjoy trying to figure out how to make semi-healthy school lunches night after night.
I don't enjoy emptying and cleaning said lunchboxes night after night.
I just don't like the every day monotony of parenting two little kids.
So this is where I interrupt this regularly scheduling ranting to pop in the usual cliched disclaimer: I love my kids. I love their wet kisses and their squeaky voices and the way they smell like saliva and Cheerios and boy sweat all mixed together. But I don't like parenting.
So the other night, when I was scrubbing my kid's hair in the tub and he was wailing that the tear-free shampoo that was not even in his eye was making his "eye hurt! eye hurt!" I was just like: "Man, I hate this." And then I was like: "Oh, man. That can't be good." I mean, it was a typical night. No real drama, no major parenting problems to tackle, just a regular day. And yet, there I was: little patience, exhausted, annoyed, and resentful.
Really, really guilty.
Because, c'mon, what kind of mom am I if I want to run away on the "normal" days?
Then, of course, I make myself feel worse by telling myself that I'll be sorry one day...that I should be enjoying them more...that one day I will miss the days of tear-free shampoo and Scooby-Doo lunchboxes.
And then I feel worse.
Cause now I'm not only beating myself up for hating this, but I'm stressing myself out because I'm hating this and then I'm wishing I could just be responsible for washing only my own hair and then I'm looking at this fat little face and he's stopped crying and I'm feeling guilty-er cause really, shouldn't a mother enjoy washing her little angel's strawberry blond curls and what the hell is wrong with me, anyway?
We are finally at a point where moms are being honest. We're admitting that no, sorry, but the stretch marks probably won't ever go away after you have the baby, and hell, yes, the labor hurts like crazy, and no, having a newborn around really wasn't what I thought it would be, and no, being a mother isn't enough for me... So I thought that maybe it'd be okay if I could just admit that, even on the pretty good days, sometimes I struggle.