|Baby Aiden (six months old).|
I remember when Aiden was just a baby, he was on a schedule and almost never ever cried. I thought to myself, This is so easy. I’m doing a great job. Why do people complain?
Fast forward a few months later, Jarod and I took Aiden to a little water park. The kid loves water. Kids love parks. We concluded he should be having the time of his life. Wrong. He hated it and he wanted nothing to do with the park and acted like if he let go of our hand for a second, we would sprint the opposite direction and never come back.
|Daddy and little Aids.|
Jarod and I were so confused. There were kids younger and smaller than him that were running at blazing speeds without a parent in sight and yet, here Aiden was, adamantly refusing to leave our sides. We tried coaxing him to the water and showing him how much fun it was but nothing worked.
I remember this day vividly because I worried incessantly that day. I worried we weren’t socializing him enough. I worried that maybe we were babying him too much. Maybe we weren’t babying him enough and were expecting too much. I thought about every possible thing we weren’t doing right and how we could fix it. I thought there was something wrong with him (because of us, of course) and I worried that he would be this same way the rest of his life, which would ultimately lead to failing life completely. He wasn't even two yet and somehow, we already managed to fuck him up.
To say that I worried myself sick is an understatement.
These days he’s so well-rounded and adjusted that whenever we go somewhere he hardly even looks back at me. There’s no longer that much-needed reassurance from his mommy. He’s off and ready to go. I see a confident little boy that’s happy and is ready to explore the world and now I worry about how fast he’s growing and if he’ll even look back. But goodness, that's a totally different post.
So why do people “bitch” about parenting?
Because it’s hard. Honestly, when it comes to parenting, most of the time, I don‘t have a clue what I‘m doing. I don’t know what the best way to handle every situation is as there has never before been an Aiden, a Tristen or Aaliyanna in the world before. Aiden’s sensitive and inflictions literally break his heart; whereas, Tristen is more cut-and-dry and emotions seem to play less in his every day thoughts. Thus, I can’t possibly parent them the same way. A reprimand that’s too harsh for Aiden could break him, scar him for life and be something he talks to his counselor about later in life. Not enough discipline for Tristen could lead him to life of crime. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a bit but you get the point.
Discipline is just one of the many parenting choices that we, parents, make and sometimes we even waver and go back and forth on disciplining methods just to see what works best for our kids and our family. Then there’s a million other choices to deal with: breastfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping, attached parenting, potty training (when and how), vaccinations (pediatrician recommended, no vaccinations, staggering or picking and choosing which ones to use), eating habits (what to do when you‘re kids won‘t touch healthy food at all? someone please help me out with this), siblings (how close together or no siblings at all), “spoiling” (everyone has different opinions on what is spoiling), childcare (staying-at-home, home daycare, nanny or larger daycare facilities), schedules or not working with schedules, extracurricular activities (what‘s too much or not enough), chores (when to start and how much) and explaining the difference between genders which can lead to a conversation about sex. And when should I even talk to them about sex? Not too early because that’ll be too much for them to handle and grasp but I definitely don’t want them to learn about it from Tommy, a kid in their class that learned it from his older brother who learned it from his friend‘s older cousin.
There’s a million different choices that I make during the day and more than once a day, I question myself. Should I discipline the kids every time they fight over some toy? Or should I let them hash things out themselves sometimes? Should I just give them what we’re eating for dinner, even though I know they won’t touch a single thing? Or make them something they will eat? Should I take my child to the Emergency Room now? Or wait it out? (Side note: I've taken Aiden to the Emergency Room three times in his four years of life).
Parenting is hard because we want the absolute best for our children. There’s no manual that comes with each child. There are lots and lots of books that theorize their preferred method; yet, in a not so convenient and charming way, there seems to almost always be another book that opposes the previous book's methods. I don’t know if I’m doing things right (and honestly, I’m probably not) but I do know that I am trying my best to be a good person, a great mother and that my children know that no matter what happens, they will always be loved and I will always be here for them.
I’ve finally come to a point where I’m content with that but still I worry about how much I might be messing them up because honestly, I only want them to have "just enough dysfunction to be funny."
Furthermore, there’s an easy surrender of your previous self and life that you give up when you have a child. Love makes the transition easy and it even seems almost out of your control; however, deep inside every parent there’s still a person with their own dreams, aspirations and thoughts. This person that we push aside for the needs of our little one yearns to still be alive. We can’t define ourselves simply as a parent because there is more to us than that. Parenting is hard because there’s a constant inner battle that wants to be everything for our children and something for ourselves.
Parenting is hard because no one knows what the perfect balance of being a parent and an individual is and no one knows what the right parenting choices are. (Anyone who says they do is just an asshole, in my opinion). No one truly does; thus, I will continue to “bitch” and “complain” about how hard motherhood is because it’s hard. It’s fucking hard and sometimes we just need to know that other people feel the same way because then we can realize that we’re not alone in this crazy-ass thing where God, (the universe or whatever it is that you believe) just hands us a very small human being and doesn’t even have the decency or manners to say, “Good fucking luck! Wish you the best!"
Thus, to other moms and dads out there that are having a bad day, I just want to say, “I totally feel your pain. You’re not alone. This shit is hard. Come on, let’s go have a drink.”