Home with the little one. This is me now, all day, every day. If you’re expecting a lengthy description of how wonderful it is to spend every moment playing, laughing and learning with the sweet, precious angel I call my child, you are wrong. Although maybe somewhere in between what I am about to say you will sense my sincere gratitude for being able to do this three months out of the year. But you have to look hard. Or maybe you don’t have to look at all.
Parenting, it turns out, is hard. Yes, I’m whining. Yes, I’m complaining. When my daughter throws a gigantic tantrum because I, oh I don’t know, cut off her coveted supply of string cheese by closing the almighty fridge door, I want to join her. Sometimes I do, but most of the time I save it for later and take it out on all the wrong people. Like my husband, for instance. Or my blog readers.
Babies are generally synonymous with all things adorable and perfect. Before having children, most people think of their future offspring as beautiful replicas of themselves, laughing and giggling and being, well, utterly delightful. And why shouldn’t they be? They are, after all, your children, so they’re bound to be awesome. Cuddling with them at bedtime, dressing them up in cute outfits, showing them off to family and friends. These are the things people think about before having kids. And these things are indeed wonderful, but they are not the pulse of parenting.
Babies, kids – they poop through their pants and onto that two hundred dollar swing you just had to have. They cry when you tell them no, regardless of who you’re talking to on the phone. They keep you up in the middle of the night and they wake up at the crack of dawn, wide-eyed and ready to be entertained. So wipe that sleep from your eyes, disregard the clock that’s telling you it’s 6:30 AM, and start performing. One, two, three. A, B, C. Yes, that’s a red ball. Yes, that’s a pink chair. No, you may not have my phone. No, you may not put that extension cord in your mouth.
This – this perpetual “kid brain” that cannot be turned off until bedtime – is one of the many things people don’t think about when they envision life with their future child. And they should, because temporarily sacrificing yourself as a living, breathing, adult with interests, hobbies and an identity that doesn’t include being someone else’s servant, is something for which one should prepare.
I wipe boogers daily. I pick up toys constantly. I make meals that my diva won’t eat. I read books that turn my brain to mush. I pretend to be a monster, a princess, a doggy, when all I really want to be is asleep. Or tipsy on La Casa Salsa’s peach margaritas. I change her clothes three times before two o’ clock but can’t seem to get out of my pajamas until noon. I am a mother.
And for all of these things, because they matter, I am thankful.
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