Parenting changes us. This is a fact, and an understatement. These little people that follow us around all day, asking us questions, making messes, interrupting us; they have a way of making us different people. They teach us to be selfless, to nurture, to love, and to live with little sleep. They make our hearts swell with compassion. When they feel joy, we feel joy. When they hurt, we hurt.
But enough fluff! I need to tell it to you straight. Woman up, mommas! Take some responsibility. Stop blaming your children for what you see as your shortcomings. Either own it, or change it.
“My house is dirty/messy because of these kids!”
Own it: If your house was dirty or a mess before children came along, then accept the fact that you have a messy house. If your house was, in fact, clean before having children, then take a deep breath and remind yourself that they won’t always be little and that you’ll miss it when they’re grown and gone.
Change it: Learn how to manage your time better. Or get rid of stuff. Or better yet, include the children in the cleaning. Then you are teaching them, spending time with them, and getting help to get it all done. Win-win! If it really does bug you that you don’t have time to clean, then hire someone to come over and clean for you, if you can afford it.
“My kids drive me to drink!”
Own it: If you like to have a glass of wine every night (or with lunch), then that is your choice. After a long day of saying, “stop it” a hundred times, it’s nice to sit back and chill with a glass of wine. Just don’t get sloshed when the children are under your supervision. That’s not OK. Seriously.
Change it: Don’t keep the alcohol in the house if you can’t resist it. Get help if you need it! Or you could try substituting it with sparkling water and lime. But pretty much, you’re just going to own this one. Let’s be honest.
“I can’t exercise because I’m always taking care of kids!”
Own it: If you didn’t like to exercise pre-kids, then don’t be surprised if you still do not like it. If you were a fitness fanatic before and miss it, then start planning your comeback that will take place in 18 years. If you don’t miss it, then enjoy the freedom and ditch the guilt.
Change it: Join a gym with childcare. You get to work out, kids get to play. Everybody goes home happy. Don’t have the money? Then invest in some workout videos and get up early. Or stay up late. Or naptime. Or have the kids workout with you. You’ll be sure to have a good laugh.
“These kids have me so on edge all the time!”
Own it: If you were high strung and neurotic before, then you’re probably going to be worse. Embrace your craziness. Just don’t make others around you crazy.
Change it: Learn how to channel that crazy energy (exercise, wine, see above). Or if you really have a problem, talk with your doctor about seeing a therapist or taking medication.
Those little people that follow us around are always watching and listening. Always. Even if they are in the other room. They mimic us. That’s why they can be so annoying at times. We see our own faults being acted out in front of us. Blaming them for our actions teaches them that they can blame their problems on other people. Teach them to be responsible for themselves and that we are in control of our own choices and actions. We may not have a lot of control in life, but we do have that.
Blaming them also puts a burden on them that is not theirs to carry. They are children. Maybe even still a baby. They do not need to feel responsible for their parent’s actions. Not at that age. Not at any age.
If you want to sit on your butt in your messy house, with a glass of wine, watching tv, while stressing out, go for it. That is your choice and you shouldn’t feel any guilt about it. But please, stop blaming the children.