It's no secret that parenting is hard and so I expected the responsibility of being a parent to be overwhelming and exhausting. I mean, for goodness sake, I am raising human beings here. However, what I didn’t expect is that there would days that I would feel completely defeated. There are days when I feel I am putting everything into my parenting and I get nothing in return but tantrums, complaints and zero cooperation. Some days there is one big thing that sends me into a tailspin but most days it's just a domino effect of small things. And I try and try to change the course of the day but eventually my energy gets sucked out of me and it is replaced with that feeling of defeat that creeps into the pit of my stomach.
There are days I wake up with the cheeriest disposition or at least with all intentions to be cheery and the day manages to disintegrate before we even make it out the door for school. Sometimes my kids are exhausted, sometimes I am and sometimes it’s just because there was an epic tantrum over shoes and socks. Then there are days I know I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and I can't get the restart button to work and the day just spirals down the wrong path. My kids push every button, break every rule and ignore every word. And I try so hard to get a grasp on my patience because I want to be able to power through those moments and be there in the way that my kids need me but, honestly, some days they need more than I have to give.
There are days when the house is so messy it looks like a disaster area and for everything I manage to clean, my kids manage to destroy two more things. It feels like the laundry basket is a bottomless pit, dishes magically appear out of thin air and mealtime never ends. Those are usually the days when I have plans to make a delicious homecooked meal and surprise my husband with a clean house only to end up a depleted pile on the couch watching some terrible cartoon because I just plain gave up. I haven't sat down all day, not one thing on my to do list is done and I am completely drained. The house looks like it has been ransacked, there is no way that dinner is getting cooked and I don’t even know how it all happened?
There are days when I feel like my 4th grader and I have finally gotten into a good rhythm with school because we have been working so hard with his teacher to figure out all the ways to support him. Then I get a call from his school to inform me of behavior problems and missing homework and it feels like a punch in the gut that completely deflates me. But then there are days where school went really well… and then homework ends with frustrated tears for all involved because my kid doesn’t get it or just plain gave up out of frustration and I just can't seem to figure out why or what I can do to fix it.
There are days my toddler seems to throw an epic tantrum every 10 minutes because her shoe won’t go on the wrong foot, or I put the toast she asked for on her plate or I changed her diaper when she told me she had poopoo. I know it’s ridiculous but after the 20th tantrum of the day, I just want to throw my hands in the air and bang my head on the wall. A lot of days, I cheerfully get through the morning routine, the tantrums, the homework and even the “witching” dinner hour only to lose it 15 minutes before bedtime. I fail to muster up the patience to deal with another cartwheel or handstand from my 5 year old that still hasn’t put on his pajamas or brushed his teeth. Then bedtime disintegrates into tears and I feel like all the good parts of the day no longer count and I am the worst parent ever.
I don’t share all of this just to complain, but to be honest about the not so rewarding parts of parenting. A lot of the time, parenting is about investing much more than I will get back in the short term. It is draining, it is frustrating and some days I just feel completely defeated. But when I chose to have kids, I signed up for all that comes along with that… the great stuff and the stuff that sucks. I know this parenting gig gets harder as kids get older so for now I will stick with the belief that one good day is worth 100 bad days.