Welcome my Guest – But Then I Had Kids

Due to all the sickness filling my house the past few weeks, I had to postpone my last neighbor’s visit (as I continue to participate in Never True Tales Won’t you Be My Neighbor) from Friday.  It made me sad not having her stop by, but I now can better appreciate her visit.  Please welcome Liz from But Then I Had Kids.  Liz was really my first friend that was truly welcoming in this blog world.  I don’t recall exactly how I found her but the first post I read of hers, I knew we could be fast friends.  She writes about topics that totally and completely resonate with me, and she has such a real, heartfelt way of expressing them.  So many mom bloggers write about how they’ve had to say goodbye to their old selves as they’ve welcomed the world of motherhood.  Liz writes about how she yearns to stay true to herself while finding how that self can fit into the shoes of a mom.  (And her shoe of choice is definitely a stiletto).  She’s full of passion and a zest for life and I look forward to each and every post.  I’m so thrilled she’s visiting, although I’m sure she’s not thrilled to be braving the snow up here in New England from sunny Florida.  Thank you Liz, for stopping by.

Parenting Sucks

Yeah, I said it. It does. Parenting sucks.

I did not say “Being a parent sucks.” Actually, I must admit that being a parent…actually creating a whole human being, watching that little tiny infant grow up and turn into a funny, spirited, unique little person…well, that is pretty damn amazing. But the act of parenting…the endless exhausting redundancy of day to day life? It just sucks.

Tonight, while I was simultaneously eating my dinner, unloading and reloading the dishwasher, and trying to entertain a crawling Aidan Kai, Ben insisted on drinking his milk from a cup with no lid.

And you know what happened.

Yes, I know there is no use crying over spilled milk. Can I cry over an 11-month-old crawling and rolling in spilled milk then? ‘Cause that’s what happened while I was trying to get more paper towels: Aidan decided to go swimming in his big brother’s strawberry milk. The photos in the baby magazines and Pottery Barn For Kids catalogs never show reality: a half-eaten veggie burger getting cold on a plastic Disney plate…the mom holding a dripping, sticky, crying baby while she tries to mop up the mess…the nearly-4-year old looking down at them from his chair, complaining that the milk is still dripping from his Lightening McQueen place mat and oh no, now his cup is empty.

I don’t know if all other moms are like me. I don’t know if some of them actually enjoy the daily grind. I am sure most don’t, but I wonder if most hate it as much as I do. When I find myself surrounded by the cartoon noise coming from the TV, the whines of my 3-year-old, and the cries of my 11-month old, all while trying to tend to the necessities of life: loads of laundry that have been sitting and waiting to be folded for days, dishes in the sink that quite possibly now contain the beginnings of curdled milk, and at least 40 Hot Wheels cars strewn throughout the living room…it is very, very, very hard for me to remain calm.

Being a parent (at least of very small children) is basically like being a slave. I am constantly “on call.” I am either being asked to play with, fix, make, or clean something. I barely like making my own dinner, much less someone else’s…especially when that someone else whines and complains at least 50% of the time about what is on the plate. (Never mind that yesterday tomatoes were his “favorite,” but tonight…well, apparently, tonight he decided he is “never eating tomatoes again.”)

After all was said and done, Ben and I sat on the couch and snuggled as he watched one more episode of “Max and Ruby.” (Yes, I had to bribe him: “If you keep snuggling with me, I’ll let you keep watching for a few more minutes…” Something I never thought I’d say to my child, but then again, there are a lot of things I “never thought” before I had kids.) And he was so delicious. But stuck in between those delicious, funny, poignant moments are the crappy ones. The diapers, the vomit, the bickering, the whining, the spills, the cleaning up, the complaints, the crying, the tantrums, the defiance, the disciplining…that never ends. Everyday you wake up to do it all over again. Some days are better than others. On those days, I thank God for my family, my two little boys, my house full of noise. On other days, I wonder why I ever got into this, if I’m really any good at it, if I was really cut out to be a mom.

I’d love to end this post with something wonderfully poignant, some fabulous and moving closing statement about it all being worth it. But although I do know it is, today I do not have one of those grand finishes. Today, I guess, I don’t really have a lesson learned or a point to make. All I have is a sticky floor and that damn pile of laundry.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Welcome my Guest – But Then I Had Kids

  1. Hell yeah, sister! You are right on the money with this one.

    Mothering small children is an endless stream of meaningless tasks. NOTHING you do lasts. Bathe them, they get dirty. Make food, it gets eaten or rejected. Do dishes, there’s more waiting for you. Ditto laundry. And picking up the house.

    Yes, there are flashes of beauty and hilarity in the day. But most of it, truly, is occupied with meaningless tasks. Nobody told me how drop-dead bored I’d be after the third game of CandyLand.

    But your honesty? That’s what other mothers need to hear. So we know that we’re not the only ones out there.

  2. Liz

    Becca, thanks again for having me over. I, too, wish it was “for real”! I had to laugh re-reading this post…I am oh, so, glad that at the very least, Aidan no longer crawls in the spilled milk…now he runs through it.
    It has been an honor to visit today…I can’t say enough how damn good you’ve gotten at this!!!
    P.S. And I am truly digging your description of me…I think you truly get me. =)

  3. Thanks, Becca, for offering us this post from Liz. Two of my favorite ladies!

    I’m with Kitch (another favorite!): what you describe here is such an important and universal feeling. So many of the moments of parenting are frustrating, dull, and/or sticky. And it’s honesty like this that makes me feel like I’m not completely self-centered for finding the frustrating, dull, and sticky less than thrilling.

  4. Nicki

    Love this post! I love all you write, Liz, as it takes me back to some “firsts” in my parenting world. You are so right that parenting sucks but as much as it sucks, it is also a privilege. Or maybe the privilege part is being a parent, not the act of parenting.

  5. You won’t be having that comforting egg over easy after one of these days. But how about a cocktail over laundry?

  6. Holy high hell YES, parenting sucks. It’s suckage. It can suck like nobody’s business. The day-to-day, the dreary, the mundane, the DISHES! I leave the office at 4 pm every day and I anticipate this moment with happiness and DREAD everyday. Because once I leave it’s go go go until lights out! And though it is only a few hours, it is a mad rush. I don’t get to snuggle with the boys without watching the clock. Everything is timed. Everyone gets cranky. And I am the warden.

    Yup. Suckage. Exhausting.
    Love ya, girl! Nice to see you here at Becca’s!

  7. Great post! The daily grind…yeah, not my cup of tea either. Glad to get to know you; now I’m off to browse your blog! Thanks for playing Won’t You Be my Neighbor!

  8. OK. Round two!!

    Liz,

    Thinking about your little Aidan swimming in strawberry milk makes me smile. My girl loves to make pools out of strawberry milk, water, juice, and all sorts of liquids!

    The daily grind is messy and often down right frustrating. It is like the movie Groundhog’s Day, except your kids get a little bit older every day.

    Sometimes there are days where you can’t see the silver lining. That’s okay. That is life, right?

    I think parenting is about endurance. Enduring until bedtime that is. : )

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