Calm down. No seriously, get off Pinterest and calm down.
You are not meant to enjoy every minute of your child’s life. I know I just bolded and underlined that, but it’s worth repeating (in capitals): YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR CHILD’S LIFE. You’re just not. Kids are loud and messy and infuriating. Kids are annoying and pokey and dirty. I don’t care that some old lady in aisle six of the Walmarts glared at you for speaking in that scary, whisper voice to your toddler, saying, If you don’t sit down right now, I’m going to leave you here and you will have to figure out how to survive on your own, sleeping in the camping section and cooking frozen pizzas on the barbeques. I don’t care that the 50-something woman with empty nest syndrome smiled sweetly and said, Enjoy these precious moments- they grow up so fast. I don’t care.
You’re supposed to feel tired and frustrated and irritated and yes, even angry sometimes. You’re supposed to have nights where you count the moments until bedtime and gulp a giant glass of red wine after those little pickles are asleep. You’re supposed to want free time, when no one is touching you or demanding something from you or whining at you.
You’re supposed to continue to be YOU after you have your kids.
Our own mothers mothered before Pinterest. They fed us, they clothed us and they loved us. Are any of us scarred because we didn’t make glittery snowman crafts for Christmas and homemade Valentines for each of our classmates? Are you really sad that you don’t have molds of your hands and feet from birth until college plastered all around the house? Were you okay eating a processed chicken nugget every now and again because your mom was just a little too tired to prepare a gourmet, five-course meal from scratch after work?
We’re turning our kids into self-entitled monsters with our own desires to be perfect. Your child should not get every moment of your time. She should learn that if you’re already doing something, she might have to wait just a second before you grab her that cup of milk/rescue the toy from under the couch/turn the movie off/turn the movie on/etc. It’s your role to let your child know they’re important but they’re not the only person in the house. It’s how you teach patience and a bit of respect.
Sometimes, the dishes need to be done. Don’t tell me, internet mom, that I should never clean my house because it takes away from time with my kids. Well, guess what? If I never do the dishes, we have no dishes to eat off of, therefore we don’t eat. Or we eat take-out. That’s not healthy every night. By not taking care of my home, I’m teaching my kids that it’s okay to be dirty and messy. I’m telling them that their happiness is the most important thing in my world. It’s not. It’s my job to raise them to be responsible, functional adults, not people who think everyone should stop everything they’re doing to cater to their every whim. This mom, by the way, is my hero.
|Look, someone wrote a book about it
I’ve seen so many articles lately about taking the time to enjoy your little ones, and I agree wholeheartedly. Enjoy those little pickles. Enjoy the heck out of them. They’re cute, they’re lovely, they’re huggy and kissy and cuddly. They freely throw around I love you’s and the Ladybug has taken to telling me that I’m a really good mom lately. I enjoy that. Personally, I try to avoid using my phone from the time I get home until after bedtime- I have a short amount of time with my girls each day and Facebook and email can definitely wait. It’s important to me that they have my attention for the space of time I can give it to them. I prefer to have the TV off but sometimes we have some music in the background so we can have dance parties if we want. We eat dinner together, then playing, bath, books and bedtime.
Some nights, though, I need to turn on Sofia the First and veg a bit with my kiddos. Some nights, I beg the Rugby Star to do bedtime because I’m exhausted. Sometimes, just sometimes, we start the bedtime routine just a few minutes earlier than seven.
We haven’t been crafty in a while. We had pizza twice last week. I fussed at the Ladybug because she tried to shut her sister in the cabinet this morning. She yelled at me because I wouldn’t give her some chapstick. But I can’t wait to get home and see her this afternoon. I can’t wait to snuggle both of them and laugh and play and probably have at least one time out or screaming fit. And it’ll be okay.
Dear Mothers- take a break. Let yourself off the hook. Your mother didn’t ruin you and you won’t ruin your kid. Love them- love them so much it hurts. Cry when they head off to school for the first time. Celebrate their successes and teach them to persevere through their defeats. Let them know they’re safe with you… but not so safe that they never want to leave. And be tired if you want to be tired. It doesn’t make you a bad mother.
It just makes you human.
One Tired Mother