Perhaps you’ve already seen this. It has been floating around my little corner of the interwebs lately. I found it helpful, and thought I’d pass it along.
I think she paints an accurate picture of parenthood: the mix of transcendently-wonderful moments with the daily slog. And I, too, am perplexed by the older folks who stop me in the line at Target with admonitions to “enjoy every second.” I love parenthood. It is absolutely the most rewarding thing I have ever done. But it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. Right now it feels like it would be impossible for me to forget the harder parts of parenthood enough to ever, ever, even in a million years, say something like “enjoy every moment.”
During the newborn phase, when I was asked about how parenthood was, my most frequent answer was, “intense.” There were the moments of intense joy that these ladies remember. But there were also:
- moments of intense exhaustion (when everything became blurry and fuzzy because of sleep deprivation)
- moments of intense frustration (bursting into tears because at 10pm I still hadn’t been able to move to the drier the load of laundry that I had put in the washer at 8am)
- moments of intense pride about the job I was doing (He’s asleep! Maybe I’m finally getting the hang of this!)
- moments of intense doubt about the job I was doing (He’s screaming and absolutely nothing I do is making him stop! What kind of parent am I?)
- moments of intensely wanting to throw the baby out the window (see screaming above)
Three years out, things have settled down significantly. I’m not as tired. The intensity of the other emotions has waned somewhat, but they certainly haven’t disappeared. This parenting gig continues to be rewarding and joyful and wonderful and all of the things that the older ladies in Target remember. But it is also continues to be intensely frustrating and terrifying and exhausting. The fact that it’s not all sunshine and roses makes me respond to the “enjoy every moment” folks by wondering if I’m doing something wrong. The post I linked to above helped me to remember that I’m not alone in not finding joy in every second.
And when I’m having a rough day with Tadpole, the image of pushing overly-cheerful observers off of Everest is really satisfying