I’ve come across a lot of “expert” parenting books in my years as a mom. When your baby isn’t sleeping or your toddler won’t stop biting people you look to these sources of information as a way to solve your problems. You put out a cry for help and you want all those pediatricians and psychiatrists to tell you what to do…tell you how to make it better.
Every parenting book I’ve ever read tells you the steps you need to take to solve your problem. They give you a process to follow…just like that…all simple and stuff.
“Hey you, parent! Do these things and your child will respond…and then you can share my book with your friends and help their kids as well. Easy peasy!”
These experts, however, leave out one vital piece of information…NONE OF THIS IS EASY!
I don’t want to read another paragraph detailing the joys of parenting. We all know there are joys; the first smile, the first step, the first day of preschool, the first big hit in a T-Ball game. Joy, joy, joy!
We come into parenthood EXPECTING those moments. That’s why we do it in the first place. We envision cute pictures of parents walking into the sunset holding onto a tiny little pudgy hand. We dream about the first time our child will say “I love you!”
We hug our pregnant bellies and put our heads to our partner's stomachs and sigh; dreaming of meeting the perfect little miracle inside.
Then the kid comes out.
And we’re like WOAH! WTF!
In all of the pictures I looked at while I was pregnant I never saw the angelic newborn projectile vomit on the person holding it. I never saw a picture of the exhausted parents at a complete loss for what to do while attempting to comfort a squirming, screaming newborn with a gas pain.
I’m not saying we should terrify new parents here. But, I mean, would a little heads up be too much to ask for?
If I wrote a book about the parenting experience it would be called “Parenting: This Shit is Hard.”
Cause it is.
When people sign up for medical school does anyone tell them “Oh! Med school is such a joy! Savor every minute of it cause those boards will come up before you know it!”
No. They say “Dude, be prepared to work your ass off…but it’s worth it!”
So that’s all I’m saying. You will love being a parent! You will have moments of absolute bliss…but you will also have plenty of ‘Mary Mother of God Help Me’ moments.
I wish someone had told me that. I wish someone had said “Hey Danielle, this shit is hard!” That might have saved me so many hours of thinking I was doing it wrong. I still have moments when I’m close to tears thinking “IT ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS HARD!”
Then I remember…yes, yes it is. It is hard. It is work. It is sacrifice and heartache and blood, sweat and tears…and occasionally vomit. Don’t forget the vomit.
And forget looking at people’s status updates on Facebook. Everyone’s child is perfect on the internet. No one is going to post:
“My kid just hit me in the middle of the store so I went home and opened a beer with lunch…which he spilled while trying to climb the counter so I stood in the middle of my kitchen and screamed at the top of my lungs for a minute just to clear my head.”
Except me, of course. Cause I did actually post that…
Know what else doesn’t help at all? Media.
Books, TV, radio etc. etc. etc. All you hear day in and day out is how every miniscule thing you do as a parent has the potential to screw up your child for the rest of his or her life. One bad decision on your part can result in years of torment and anguish for your beloved offspring.
Oh, well in that case I don’t feel any guilt or pressure at all! Thanks for the information, assholes.
Let me tell you, so called “experts”, we parents have gotten the message. We hear the message loud and clear. We have the message tattooed on our forearms. We have bumper stickers that read “Honk if you are potentially ruining your kid at this very moment!”
TV will melt your kid’s face off. Only breastfed babies get into college. Thumb sucking leads to cannibalism. If you don’t teach your baby how to sign then YOUR BABY WON’T KNOW HOW TO SIGN!
Enough. There is no “right way”. There is no “easy”.
If your kid is fed, watered, put in direct sunlight to grow…oh wait…never mind those are the instructions for my basil plant. Let me start again…
If your kid is happy, loved and ALIVE at the end of the day then you did it right. And I would like to give you a big old internet high five for your accomplishments.
Because this shit is hard.