The other day my 3-year-old drop kicked my 1-year-old in the stomach as he was running past.
Tap the breaks.
Immediately my husband placed him in time-out, which lead to a 20-minute meltdown, and a couple of consequences he was less than happy with. Directly after, my 1-year-old peed all over my 3-year-old’s bedroom floor.
About 2 seconds after that, they were both in tears because my 1-year-old knocked down my 3-year-old’s perfectly placed T-Rex collection.
Then fast forward 5 minutes later, they were blabbering all over each other and exchanging kisses.
Did I miss something?
THIS WAS ALL IN 30 MINUTES!
I have realized in the last couple of years, this is just the reality of raising children.
After our first son was born, I let everyone from family to complete strangers make me second guess my parenting choices. They made me feel like the mess wasn’t normal, like I was drowning in parenthood. Over the course of the last few years there have been times I am just head above water, but if there is one thing I have come to realize, the mess—the overwhelmed, confused, cheerios stuck all over everything and boogers smeared down my shirt mess—I think that is pretty normal.
My kids can be complete angels, and my kids can be complete buttholes. You know what, everyone can. They are people just like you and me. They have good days, and bad. Most adults don’t roll around on the floor in Target and scream about someone not purchasing Rocky from Patrol Patrol, BUT I’ve seen some come close.
Sometimes I do like to highlight the peaceful, serene moments on social media. Why? Because these are very rare. I want to savor them.
Every. Single. Moment.
In 1 year from now when my kids are spilling their juice boxes all over my rug and screaming in each other’s face, I want to see that peaceful moment show up on my “time hop” and damn it, I want to close my eyes and go back, even if for only 2 minutes until someone whacks me in the head with a plastic car.
I also want to share the times when there is pee all over the toilet, temper tantrums at lunch, and my husband and I are battling over the use of time out vs. spanking, because that is just the reality of raising children.
I have learned that when someone gives me unwanted advice, I am probably going to let them know it’s unwanted. I appreciate all the seasoned mothers (and grandmothers, and aunts, and strangers, and in-laws and out-laws and doctors, and basically anyone who can keep a goldfish alive) sharing their wisdom, but you don’t know my kid—I do. More than likely I have handled this debacle before, so let me do my thing. If I come to you for advice, please be gentle and helpful. If I don’t, I am not asking you for it. Period.
When someone is staring at my husband and me while we quietly argue over our 3-year-old not eating his overly priced kids’ meal, in an overly crowded restaurant, I am going to look at you with my death stare because if you haven’t handled a toddler whining because their peanut butter and jelly sandwich is cut wrong, don’t judge us.
Kids bring out the best in us, and sometimes they bring out the worst in us. It’s easy to look like the perfect family when our photographer comes once a year to capture our annual family pictures. But did I tell you I fed my kids 3 packets of fruit snacks and 2 bags of M&M’s, AND she had to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” 10 times just to get that one good shot of them? It’s just the reality of raising children.
If you have unbuckled your screaming child from their carseat the second you enter your neighborhood—I get it. If Paw Patrol has been running on your TV for the last 2 hours—I get it. If your husband takes your kids upstairs after dinner and you sit downstairs on your phone (pretending to clean the kitchen) perusing Facebook because you want to confirm there is a world outside the walls of your home—I get it. I know it’s the reality of raising children, and being a parent.
So, you can keep posting pictures of your perfect, flawless family. You can give status updates about that awesome vacation in Mexico. I am secretly imagining your 4-year-old probably whining for a portion of the flight, and at one point you whipped out the holy grail of chocolate to make it the last hour. I love seeing that sweet baby with their adorable rolls, but I know it probably wasn’t adorable at 3AM when they were screaming their head off. And that touching tribute to your spouse about how completely awesome they are…uh huh. Your secret is safe with me. I’ll keep my angelic posts coming from time to time too, but know this… It’s really messy, it’s really hard, it’s really beautiful, it’s really funny, it’s really crazy, and that’s really OK.
At least at our house, it’s the reality of raising children.