If Parenting Were Graded, I’d Be Getting an F+

Here’s the ugly truth. I’m not sure I should have been a parent. I worked SO hard to get the kids we have, and now I’m fucking it all up.  I’m not very good at it. I get really, really angry and frustrated, I’m not patient, I get bored easily, I get crazy annoyed by normal, age-appropriate things they do, and I’m selfish. I miss my kids when I’m away from them, but then I don’t enjoy much of it when I am.

 

I hate not being in control and being ignored and (at least in my soft version of parenting) this is like, 97% of life with kids. We’re encouraging them to speak their minds, and have authority over themselves and expect respect from others, including us, which is probably the most bone-headed parenting move ever. So, now everything is chaos and no one knows where the little one hid the piss.

 

Where is it??

 

I’m so tired of getting hit. I’m so tired of getting scratched, and screamed at, having to repeat myself 40 times, having to pull people by a leg out from under benches where they’re hiding to avoid me. Surely, this shouldn’t be this hard?! It can’t possibly be this hard for other people, and so, in conclusion, I suck and should have just avoided it all in the first place. Not that I think my kids shouldn’t exist or anything- they’re amazing, and they definitely should exist, I should just not be part of it because obviously I’m bad at it. Otherwise, they would be nicer to me, right? If someone better at this were here instead of me, things would be calm and everyone would be reasonable, and no one would fly off the handle (so SO far off every handle) all the time, right?

 

We were at the zoo this weekend, and a mom of three little kids approached us to say that she “can’t wait for this phase.” She was referencing my perfectly behaved, and several phases beyond hers, children, who were at that time reading a book together under a tree in a grassy area. Robb and I were on another bench nearby, having a full, real conversation, with only rare interruptions from the kids for snacks and water.

 

She was right. WE HAVE ARRIVED. These autonomous, brilliant, angel faced people play together, independently of us! They read! They can generally get dressed and tend to their own bathroom needs! They can make their own waffles! I felt a rush of pride, and a desire to run to the bathroom and check my IUD string to confirm that we are hella done with the 2 we have and all the phases that came before this one, forever and ever, amen.

 

I strutted like a damned peacock along with the actual peacocks.

 

Then we got home and the 4 y/o urinated in a family heirloom; an antique jewelry box with the Last Supper painted on it, now complete with puddle of pee. Lid back on, latch closed, PEE INSIDE. Later, she smacked me across the face. The 6 y/o scraped himself when leaping off of something and said he was LITERALLY DYING RIGHT NOW, and there area Band Aids everywhere, and we’re all sweating, and can there be such a thing as too much sunscreen, and we only ate tater tots for lunch, and they’re both crying, and why am I yelling, and someone poured sand in my beer.

 

Also, the zoo thing was great, but the truthiest truth is that they both weirdly insisted on bringing backpacks full of junk, and stuffed animals and single shoes…AND a few books. so we had to fight to limit what junk was allowed inside the zoo, so there were ‘negotiations’ in the zoo parking lot mere moments before the blissed out tree reading sesh. If I remember correctly, one of them hissed at me, and the other one slammed the car door narrowly missing a trip to the ER with car smushed fingers. Also, they CAN get dressed, but DO they, without so, so much begging and fighting? They CAN tend to their own bathroom needs, but hahahahahaha, they don’t. And, yes, they CAN make their own waffles. They are capable of working together to remove a waffle from the freezer, toast it, and eat it while we sleep in. However,  the 4 y/o insists on eating hers frozen, but gets weary of it halfway through and hides it in the couch.

 

So…things are better than they were a few years ago, but Dear Barbara, things are still rough. I have no idea what I’m doing. Still. I look at my friends with older kids and think, “I can’t wait for THAT phase.” Yes, because surely everything will be perfect then. 😉

 

At least we can take heart in the fact that all of our nice things are trashed already, so they can only destroy that which is already destroyed.

 

Everything is fine.

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