It’s true. I don’t. I think I do, in the moments when everything is clicking along in drama free fashion. You know, for those five minutes each day? But then reality starts crashing down, people start screaming or crying (or both) and I’m lost in the vast greyness that is parenting.
Every evening I replay the day’s events and do an after action report.
What Went Wrong:
- Daughter took four hours to do a simple school assignment. There was all the yelling.
- Son peed on the carpet THREE times, even after continuous gentle (and not so gentle) encouragement not to.
- Baby didn’t get any tummy time. He will surely never get into college. Ever.
- I forgot to change over the laundry. Again.
What Went Right:
- Okay – there was that one moment at lunch when everyone was laughing and my heart burst with happiness of motherhood. That was good. But it was at Chik-fil-a (that was bad).
How to make tomorrow better:
- Wake-up BEFORE the babies and change over the darn laundry.
- Make coffee and actually drink it.
- Have a morning meeting to tell everyone the plans for the day.
- STICK TO THE PLANS
- Don’t Yell.
I fall asleep knowing that I have a plan and a fresh start of a new day, but inevitably, the baby and toddler wake up crying and I have to rewash the same load of laundry, yet again. I yell, kids cry, someone bumps their head and can’t find their shoes. The day is done before it ever really begins. I’m treading water and daydream about going back to work and sending my kids to school. That hopefulness that I settle on each night before I fall asleep comes crashing into my reality and in that moment I realize I have no idea what I’m doing.
Here’s the real truth. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING. We have ideas that work and we are just as amazed as the next parent. We have ideas that flop and miserably we hang our heads in shame because it worked for someone else, why oh why didn’t it work for me? And the single moment that we feel as if we’ve gotten the hang of this whole parenting thing, the rug gets pulled out from under us and the bow breaks. We go back to the drawing board and fall asleep with that warm glow of new possibilities, different outcomes, and better days ahead.
We are in the trenches and one day we will be on the other side and look back on our days with our littles and smile at the memories. The Labor Fairy that magically takes away the horror of childbirth and replaces it with smiles and laughter will come again…at least, that’s what I’m banking on. In the meantime I am coming to terms with the notion that I have no idea how to parent and praying that my children find the good in each day and remember that mommy is not perfect, but she tries. Every day she tries her hardest to not lose her mind and steer the family ship into calm seas, and when she fails every day (because I do) she doesn’t give up trying. Maybe that is what parenting is. Not giving up.