Some of you aren’t prepared for the FULL parenting truth I’m about to drop so feel free to excuse yourself (and stay outta my comment thread), but here it goes…
Stop telling me I’m their safe place.
Don’t remind me that, as the mother, I’m the nurturer, offering comfort and extending unending grace.
Resist the urge to suggest to me that I’ll miss this one day.
I know. I know.
You mean well.
Your intentions are pure.
You’re 107 and miss when your kids were little.
But here’s the thing . . .
I am in the thick of it, Susan, trudging through the mud and muck of battle and I am so war-torn and weary that your kindness doesn’t just fall on deaf ears . . .
It makes me feel like a FAILURE because the last thing I want to do right now is to make memories with these miniature monsters I call my children.
They are making me crazy.
They fight over everything and they are somehow still greedy even after entire life lessons of gratitude and generosity.
I don’t feel like their safe space.
I feel like the giver of time-outs.
The maker of 427 meals a day.
The breaker-up of arguments.
The constant reminder to stop whining.
The opener of snacks.
The desperate waiter for bedtime.
And the cleaner of ALL. THE. THINGS.
And honestly, I’m not overflowing with gratefulness right now.
Guilt? You betcha.
Anger and resentment? Check and double-check.
Not lately. Nope. No ma’am.
Friends, I could blame my feelings on extreme parenting, on quarantine, on my own mental health battles, on homeschooling, on the absolute total dumpster fire that is 2020 . . .
And it’s probably a combination of all of it.
But maybe this is just parenting right now.
None of us know the right thing to do.
For the holidays.
So HOW am I supposed to work, to be a wife, to be a half-decent mom, to pay bills and make doctor appointments, meet deadlines, finish grad school, and don’t even get me started on maintaining ANY kind of mom friendships because HOW!?
Every day feels like a repeat episode of Groundhog Day and there is no escaping the nightmare.
Now I’m supposed to be all holiday-spirit-y and sprinkle magic everywhere I go when all I WANT to do is throw my kids’ gifts into the fire and crawl under the comfort of my warm blankets and not come out until spring.
Friends, this is the actual truth many parents aren’t speaking aloud right now. But I’m here to tell you that some of us are treading water and others have been drowning since May.
So, instead of offering advice (which I’m willing to bet no one asked you for).
Instead of asking how I am and accepting a sigh of “fine” as my response.
Instead of buying my kids a whooooole bunch of plastic crap they don’t need this year.
Consider this . . .
Come pick me up for coffee (don’t ask first or I’ll make an excuse why I can’t come).
Pay for the mom in line ahead of you at Starbucks.
Hug me (with your mask on) when I look like I’m crumbling . . . and be OK to sink to the floor with me when I fall apart.
Because this . . . this whole thing—2020 and COVID and quarantine and kids and parenting during the age of Pinterest and completely unreasonable expectations—
It. Is. Too. Much.
If you, like me, are finding yourself floundering and somehow drowning even in the shallow end, friend, know you’re not alone.
This just sucks right now. That’s it. The end.
Know you’re in good company and that feeling like you’d die for your kids while somehow simultaneously wanting to throw them out the window doesn’t make you a bad parent.
It means you’re normal.
Because we are quick to beat ourselves up and accept the full blame for our kids’ behaviors, listing out all the things we’ve done wrong.
But can we just agree that sometimes kids are just acting like miniature mental patients!?
We were, too!
Only 20+ years ago our parents told us to go outside and don’t dare return until the streetlights came on.
If we did that now, CPS would be at our doorstep by lunch.
So, settle in, mama. This road is HARD.
But I’m right beside you . . . with coffee.