In this age of social media it is so easy to look at other people’s lives through their Facebook page and Instagram account and make grand assumptions about what parenting life should be like. One of the many reasons that I love reading and contributing for Madison Moms Blog is it is a place I can read stories of real moms and their triumphs and struggles.
I’ve been known to gloss over what motherhood has been like on my social media pages and even in my writing, so here is how much of motherhood has been for me, if I’m being honest.
If I’m being honest, I don’t know what in the world I am doing. I mostly feel like a complete fraud. When people ask me for parenting advice I try to give them the best answer I can. What I’m really feeling is, “Ha! How in the world would I know? I’ve let my kids cry it out, sleep in my bed, told them no, completely given in, turned organic chicken into homemade baby food, watched them eat sugary cereal off the floor, made them cry, and apologized profusely.” My parenting ‘style’ is usually determined by which kid I’m dealing with, what time of the day/night it is, and how tired I am.
If I’m being honest, motherhood is the loneliest thing I’ve ever done. Have you heard the saying, “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?” That is what motherhood has been like for me. I’m surrounded by kids all day, but a lack of regular and meaningful adult conversation has made life as a stay-at-home mom very isolating.
If I’m being honest, this whole parenting thing is way harder than I thought it would be. It’s been hard in the typical ways of losing sleep to hungry babies, breastfeeding woes, toddler tantrums, and picky eaters. With my kids getting older, it is now hard in the way that I have to look at their sweet faces and explain racism, terrorism, sexism, and why they have to practice a lock-down drill at school. These are conversations that will evolve over time and we will have to revisit over and over again. Sadly, these conversations never wrap up quite like they did on the after school specials of my day.
If I’m being honest, I am scared all of the time. I’m scared of being too soft. I’m scared of being too hard. I’m scared of the big things and also of the little things. I’m completely overwhelmed when I picture a lifetime ahead of being scared something will happen to the people I love.
If I’m being honest, I really do want that last piece of pizza/cake/candy. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child, but I just want to be selfish. I share and sacrifice, but inside I’m throwing a gigantic toddler-sized fit because I WANT IT! I also want to go to a happy hour without finding a babysitter. And I want to use the word I want to use when I drop and break a glass or burn my hand taking dinner out of the oven.
I thought parenting would be more like on T.V. Yes, I do realize how naïve this sounds. My kids would have a problem and I would solve it confidently in 45 minutes time. We would sit down and calmly discuss the issue. I would be firm but fair and they would completely understand where I was coming from. If I’m being honest, it’s been more like if you put June Cleaver and Roseanne into a martini shaker and poured out something that leaves all parties involved ornery and confused.
When my husband comes home from work and asks me how my day was I have no idea how to answer. There was fighting, whining, messes, hugs, and laughter, all within the first 15 minutes of the boys returning home from school. So I just smile and tell him it was fine, because that really is the truth, if I’m being honest.