Monday, September 16, 2013

The Trip of a Lifetime


Congratulations…you just had a baby!

I know things are overwhelming right now but I wanted to be the first to tell you to pack your bags…cause you’re going on a trip!

Are you excited?

Well don’t be. 

Sorry, I know I just got you all hyped up with my big trip news but now I have to also be the one to tell you that the trip you’re going on sucks.  It’s awful.  And you’ll be on it for a while.  What am I talking about?

Why, the Mommy (and Daddy) Guilt Trip of course!

It seems like every time I go online I see a new blog, quote, story, picture, hieroglyphic detailing how great moms should act…

“Enjoy your kids now because this time won’t last” or “You only have this day with your kids once so don’t waste it”.

The message here is that good moms make every moment count with their kids and never need a break because if you take a break or aren’t having fun during every single second then there is something wrong with you and just THINK of all the moments you lost!

Parenthood has its ups and downs.  You’re going to enjoy a lot of it.  But there are going to be moments where it’s not as fun and you’re gonna want to throw your hands up and scream “What the F!?!?” And then the internet will show you an example of parents doing it “right” and you’ll be like “Oh, yeah.  I totally forgot I was supposed to feel guilty for everything I’m not doing for my kids.  Thanks so much for reminding me, Internet!”

When I see those kinds of posts the guilt automatically sets in.  Because I usually come across them at the end of a long day where my kids fought to the death for hours and I screamed a lot.  And on those days I don’t want to stop time and take in every detail.  I want them to go the hell to sleep already so I can sit in peace and quiet and drink my wine.

But then they’ll finally be asleep and I’ll read something about how I’m supposed to be savoring every  minute of my time as a mom and then I’ll think about the day I had and get all sad and think “SHIT! I totally forgot to enjoy my kids today!”

Let me tell you something, it’s really hard to enjoy someone who is telling you he wishes the police would come arrest you because you said he couldn’t have another cookie. 

But nevertheless when I see one of my friends has reposted some sappy quote about motherhood I automatically start to tear up and vow that tomorrow, tomorrow I will enjoy everything my kids do. 

I’ll even enjoy the annoying thing Grant does where he sits on the toilet and slams the vanity door open and shut over and over just to be an asshole and make noise cause he knows I hate it when he does that and also, he’s definitely going to break it off one of these days and we can’t afford to replace it right now…

But guess what?  The next day, oddly enough, I STILL DON’T ENJOY THAT!

And I yell at him to stop.  But then I remember the thing I read about the mom who used to yell at her kids all the time but she realized how bad it was for them so she stopped…and then all of a sudden rainbows sprung up all around the town and the world was a happier place. 

Right.  No yelling.  Got it. 

But then Carter is teasing Grant and I calmly ask him ten times to please stop being a douche to his brother but the message is not getting through so I MUST yell.  And then I immediately feel guilty because the internet told me that only nasty troll moms raise their voices to their kids. 

And wanna know what else?  I didn’t enjoy that moment with my offspring either.  So two strikes for me. 

One thing I try really hard to do is read to my kids every day.  You’re supposed to do that, ya know.  But some days are just busy and exhausting and I’m not even sure if I said the word “book” that day, never mind actually open one.  And when they ask me for a show before bed instead of reading I say yes. 

But then I start feeling guilty because, come to think of it, did we read yesterday at all?  When was the last time I sat down and read to them?  That bookshelf is looking a little dusty.  OH MY GOD! Their brains must be at least half mush by now. Can I double up on the reading tomorrow?  Does this work like that?

There have been nights where I literally lay awake worrying about all the things I’m feeling guilty over:

-Have my kids eaten a vegetable this week?

-I haven’t ever taken my kids to a museum.  Everyone else takes their kids to museums. 

-I let Carter eat that M&M he found on the floor at Target.  If he gets dysentery from that I’m gonna be screwed.

-Today I told Grant to hurry up.  According to recent internet data you’re not supposed to rush your children.  I hope I didn’t royally F him up for the rest of his life.  I probably did though.

Once you have a kid you feel badly about everything.  You’ll see other moms doing it “better” and you’ll wonder why you can’t keep up. 

But you never know.  The mom who you look at and wonder how the hell she always has homemade organic snacks for her kids might be looking at you wondering how you managed to shower AND blow-dry your hair this morning.  (And you’ll look at her and say ‘Cause my kids love TV, sucka!'...and then you'll feel guilty about the fact that your kids watch too much TV.)

Other moms aren’t doing it better, their doing it differently.  And it’s ok that you sometimes yell (a lot) and sometimes don’t enjoy your kids (cause sometimes they suck) because there are plenty of times when you don’t yell and you enjoy the crap out of your kids because they’re funny and adorable and snuggly. 

So let’s all stop letting other people’s versions of the perfect parent define our self-worth.  This just in: There is no such thing as "doing it all". You make sacrifices, you let some things go and focus on what is important to you and your family...which may or may not be what's important to me and my family.  And more power to ya!

Let’s stop feeling guilty and bad about ourselves because someone on the internet tells us we wasted our day not soaking up every aspect of parenthood.  Enjoy the good, screw the bad, drink some wine.  Now that’s parenthood in a nutshell. 

24 comments:

  1. I <3 you. But you knew that already. You know what's really fun? Hearing your 4 yo tell you that she likes to be at daddy's house better because he lets her eat candy. And then have her cry herself to sleep because she just wants to see her daddy. I don't even NEED the internet to feel the guilt, so the internet can just suck it!

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