(My darling children. I understand fully the weight of publicly publishing my thoughts in the digital age. One day you will find this blog and read my words. So read this first- I love you. I adore you. You are magical little fountains of joy who have bettered my world in every imaginable way. I am eternally thankful to be your mother. My love for you is the Universe- vast, unending, filled with the energy of infinite time, bigger than myself. You, Byron and Claira, are my world in all the best of ways.)
Sometimes having kids is really fucking hard.
I have noticed a distinct trend on social media that, whenever an overwhelmed young mother posts vent or complaint about the challenges of raising young children, some well meaning 60 something with grown children will cheerfully chime in with those same 3 words…
“Enjoy every minute!”
I get it. Childhood is fleeting. Seeing your kids grow up and fly the nest is emotionally complex. Young children are perfect little cherubs filled with nothing but love and goodness.
Except, little kids can also kind of suck sometimes.
Because being a good parent and raising your children is REALLY HARD WORK.
They cry. They tantrum. They get up at 4:30am every fucking day. They throw their food on the floor instead of eating it even though they NEED TO EAT TO LIVE and they just don’t understand that. They pinch and kick and bite. They cling to you when you are desperate for a minute alone. They poop only half-way into the toilet while you are trying to eat your dinner. They take and demand and scream and throw themselves on the ground, ready to die for a cause you can’t even understand. Little kids are A LOT.
They need everything. They need every ounce of energy, attention and care we can muster. Because they can’t HELP that they need so much. It’s just part of the normal developmental process. It is, yeah, a lot.
When we lived in Madison, when Tim was alive, I was mostly home with the kids. I had a small private practice because I loved having clients to work with, but my focus was on my babies. Tim worked long hours. Too long, considering what a greedy dickweed his company turned out to be (yeah, I’m talking about you EPIC SYSTEMS). Tim would go away on 4 day work trips and I would feel sorry for myself and talk about how hard it was to “single mom”. As if I had any fucking clue. It was a lot, being home with my babies all day. I had the support of my friends, but they all had jobs and/or kids of their own. We were all busy. We were all overwhelmed.
Since Tim’s death, the weight of motherhood has increased ten-fold. I now have the responsibility to raise these kids on my own. Their loving father is not physically present to be my partner in this journey. We are a family of three, and I’m the only adult. This is an immense responsibility to carry, and I am overwhelmed.
Because they need so much. They deserve so much. And I worry that I will not have the physical, emotional, mental, and financial means to give them everything I dreamed I would. I worry that I will not be enough. I worry that I will not be the mother I want to be. The mother they should have. The mother I was before, when I was half of a whole.
So it’s hard for me to enjoy every minute.
It’s hard for any parent.
But I work to enjoy and embrace the moments that I can.
I focus on what I am capable of. I try not to focus on what I am not.
More importantly, I have my human community. The hundreds of friends and family members who have risen up to support my children and I through this process. My parents. My friends. Tim’s family. All of us will work together to bring these babies up in the world. We will work together to give them the life they deserve, even if it can never be the life I planned for them. It will be a life. A good life. And they will experience the joy, the love, the wonder, the adventure that they deserve.
Facing this world alone, my babies at my side, is a painful and challenging undertaking. But I am SO. DEEPLY. THANKFUL.
Because Tim gave me these babies.
And with our love, they are the greatest thing we could have ever created.
2 Replies to “On Not Enjoying Every Minute”
Parenthood is the hardest thing I ever did! I give you the words of a dear friend-
Years fly, it is the afternoons that drag. That and the observation that the time between dinner and bed is much longer than the clock indicates.
Perfectly stated. Parenthood without doubt is the hardest job I ever had. I taught when my kids were babies and ironically I swear that was easier than being home full time. There was no such thing as my time. I laugh at how I liked to wash the dishes because then I was “busy” and Allen had to tend the girls. I love my girls and would not want to imagine my life without them, but damn raising them was hard. I think the best advice I ever got was to take care of myself – because otherwise everyone suffers. “If mama aint happy, nobodies happy” became a mantra of sorts. Not selfish, but as in the flight safety reality. If the oxygen masks drop down a parent must put it on herself first or there is a chance the whole family will suffer. So, deep breathe, use whatever resources you have to get the time you need for yourself, and yes, it is okay to think that life will be easier when they get a bit older.
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