Today I want to run away.
Today was harder than yesterday.
I’ll tell you the truth. Being a mom is hard. Even on easy days it comes with it’s challenges. Even on the smoothest day of sailing there are moments of treading water with heavy legs and standing face first into waves that threaten to sweep you off of your feet.
Today was not an easy day though.
Look, in case you are incredibly naive, let me assure you that every single post you see on Face Book by a parent regarding their child/ren is always only a half truth. For every wonderful brag post you read, keep in mind that that very same child has pushed limits, rebelled, argued, demanded, fussed, whined…something. Something that has caused that mother or father to grit teeth, breathe deep while counting to ten, lock themselves in a bathroom to cry, face a huge brick wall and just stare at it in defeat. Because parenting is HARD AS HELL.
My kids are wonderful in so many ways. They do chores, they help with the baby, they watch out for each other. I have seven young children and yet, while I was pregnant I managed to nap most days because the youngest would nap and all of the others would sit quietly for a solid hour and a half and watch a movie so I could sleep. They ask to help prepare meals. They clean the bathrooms. They rub my feet. They are unschooled and get passionate at times about what they are learning about. I have a lot to brag about.
But lets be real here. REALLY real.
They try me. They test limits. They push buttons. They eye that line that I drew and jump right over it while staring me defiantly in the eye. My ultimate goal every single day is to not yell. Not cuss. Not lose my patience. I want to be that calm, smiling mother that reads 20 story books in a row without complaint and hunkers down on the floor to build castles with blocks and has the zen of Mr. Rogers. But honestly? Truthfully? I fail. I fail every single day. Some days I do pretty great and maybe I am simply a bit impatient with them at days end or something. But I still call it a failure. Some days are bad. Somedays are like today. Today when the 11 year old, who is so much like his biological father with too much pride and not enough humility, argued incessantly with every freaking thing I said. I could have told him I was his mother and he would have refuted it. He argues everything. During Family Meetings, when I am explaining a rule, when I am chatting with someone else, he always has to jump in with his two cents. He interrupts and cuts in and won’t stop if I say stop. It drives me mad. Makes me want to punch him. Go ahead, react to that one. I would never actually punch him. I’ve never punched anyone. But don’t tell me you have never had a moment like that. A moment when you want to smack your child or flip them off or say “Fuck you, you’re being a jerk right now and I don’t deserve that.” You don’t ever actually DO these things, but oh man have you thought them at least once. So, he argued all day. With every damn thing I said. And on top of it when I asked for his help after dinner because I was busy and the baby was crying he looked me straight in my face and said “No.” and then turned to walk away. And his 6 year old brother, who has anger problems and we KNOW he has something going on within him but we don’t have an official diagnosis yet so we take it day by day and today was a tough day for him. He threw rocks at two of his brothers. Big rocks that could have done serious harm. He called me a bitch. Slammed his door. Lay in his bed kicking the wall and screaming verbal abuse at me. When I sent him to his room and stepped outside for a smoke to calm myself down so I could handle him rationally, he opened his bedroom window and pressed his head out to cry and fuss and argue with me and refused to close the window and the 11 year old came up to me at that moment to argue once again with me so I put out my cigarette and went inside to clean the kitchen to breathe to escape to calm down and the toddler ran in, busted straight through the baby gate and grabbed a special knick knack I had had sitting up on the counter, a gift from dear friends, and threw it smashing to the ground. And I plopped him in his crib and gave him a bottle, and the baby is going through a growth spurt and nursed 3 times in one hour and was crying for more and I was sweaty and had sore nipples from thrush and her bad latch from her lip tie and the mere thought of nursing her made me want to run away and cry so I made her a bottle and gave it to Justin and just kept on cleaning the kitchen. While crying.Because I’m dealing with all of this in the span of ten minutes and I only got 4 hours of sleep last night.
That was my entire day. Not just that ten minutes. But all of it.
I basically just coasted. Just prayed to get through it alive. Just survived until bed time.
And I wish I could be more honest. Could just once make a FB status update that says : “OHMYGODTHEY’REDRIVINGMECRAZY!!!!!!!!”
And not fear the repercussion of judgment from other people.
Because in reality, we all have hard days. Days we wait out the tantrum and wonder how the hell they can scream that long. days we want nothing more than a freaking shower. Days we don’t even get to PEE alone, but find ourselves peeing with a fussy baby sitting on our lap and chubby toddlers fingers sticking under the door. Days we lay in bed at night feeling like we failed. Days our child cries themselves to sleep or the very last words we said to them before bed were harsh and grouchy. Days we are so exhausted and yet the house is a mess and the kids didn’t take baths and we didn’t even get the chance to brush our teeth and we wonder what in the actual fuck we DID all day.
I have a friend on Face Book who I admire so much because she is REAL. She loves her children with a passion. Truly. That is obvious. She is her children’s most valiant defender. She is their voice. She fights for them, stands in the gap for them. She has a son who has autism and she is so hands-on and perserverent with him. I do admire all that. But what I truly love about her is how REAL she is. She posts cute pictures of her children. Shares their achievements. BUT, she also has the balls to be 100% REAL. If her children are testing her, if they trash the house, if they throw a fit, if they push her to her limits, she admits it. She vents about it, lets out her frustration.And once in awhile she will get some unsolicited advice from a fellow mother who thinks that is what she is seeking, some solution to her problem at hand and she will respond with a polite but firm matter-of-fact “Thanks but no thanks. I’m not asking for help here. I’m just saying it’s hard right now and I’m being real.” Why is it okay to bitch about a job or the traffic but not about the tough moments of being a parent? I think it’s unbelievably healthy and brave. To not swallow the truth but spit it out and show the world that motherhood is not all neat and perfect and tidy and easy. it’s messy and tiring and sweaty and bloody and an emotional mind fuck. I wish she knew how many times I find myself doubting myself as a mom and then I remember how she had posted about that same sort of thing the week before and it brings me so much comfort just to know I am not alone in this. That other moms right now are struggling too. That we are all in this together.
I’ll footnote this to say my children are always worth it. Maybe it gets easier as they get older. I do know right now that my eldest son rarely tries me these days. He is maturing and learning to handle himself better and incorporate coping skills and its nice. Maybe new challenges will come down the road with him but for now, he’s pretty cool. All I DO know for sure is someday I will MISS THIS. As crazy as it sounds. In the same way I used to complain about my first son keeping me up all night struggling to nurse and now I look back at those bleary dark silent nights when he and I were the only two people awake on earth and I see how PRECIOUS those nights were, in spite of the frustration of him unable to nurse and my utter lack of sleep….it was in those nights that our bond formed and strengthened like steel. So, now I savor those same sort of nights with my youngest child. Even these bad days, I will look back on eventually and miss.
Today I need wine.
And that’s the truth.