Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Parents Is Hard"

Life is not perfect, I'm okay with that.  Take, for example, this little snapshot of my life from last night/this morning, times are approximate:

3:30      Will wakes up, I stumble to his room to nurse & rock him.  He bites me hard with his shiny
             new pearly white chompers, oh joy.  I recover without gasping, and things are cozy once more
3:35      Start feeling a warm sensation in my lap.  Will has soaked through his diaper and literally peed
             MY pants, and all over his sleepy little self, cozy fleece blankey and all.
3:40      New jams, new diaper, back in the rocking chair, "You are My Sunshine" take # 768.
4:00      Will's asleep, I tiptoe across his room and place him in his crib~ afraid to breathe the entire time
4:01      Carefully make the journey back to my bed, careful to avoid the creakiest boards in the floor,  
             and climb under the covers to find my bed no longer feels cozy and warm
4:02      Puppy barks downstairs.  Baby stirs but doesn't wake up... yet...  I swear and throw the covers
             off in exasperation, tempted to stomp down the stairs but can't because of the sleeping baby
4:03      Let pups out, step directly in vomit because Clementine decided to eat a flashlight, batteries and        
             all and it made her sick, crazy right?  (She is okay now, no puppies were injured in the writing
             of this blog entry)
4:10      Pups are all set, head back to the stairs to go back to bed, step in puppy pee.  REALLY swear
             this time.
4:15      Mess cleaned, head back to bed, trip and make a toy start scooting across the floor with glaring
             music.  (Insert favorite expletive here)  I hold my breath in fear and wait to hear Will cry.
4:18      Back in bed, blankets over my head.  Start dreaming about sleep (that's when you know you're
4:30      Will wakes up.  I am pretty bummed walking to his room, but when I pick him up and he
             nestles that perfect little head into my neck, there is nothing to feel but love.  We head back to
             my bed and snuggle, which is perfection in an imperfect world.

Being a parent is hard, or as my hubby eloquently, jokingly says "Parents is hard."  He is right, but don't tell him I said that, let's keep it between us. ;)

I've been thinking a lot lately about how there are a seemingly a million decisions to make on a daily basis and all of them feel incredibly important at the time, life changing with potentially devastating consequences for the wrong choice.  Breast feeding or formula, cloth diapers or disposables, starting solids earlier than 6 months or later, gentle sleep training or crying it out, Bjorn or Ergo....paper or plastic.  Kidding, but you get my drift.  There is this expectation of perfection that is 150% impossible to live up to, even if you had an iv dripping caffeine to keep you going like the energizer bunny, the grace and patience of a saint, unlimited wealth and a house that cleaned itself, along with laundry that washed, folded AND put itself away.  So, those lucky ones like myself learn through trial and error to listen to what our hearts tell us, and listen up good because sometimes it's hard to know what we even feel because of the pressures of being the "perfect" mom.  I've decided that each mama needs to tune out the other voices and for the most part, she knows what's best for her baby.  I might not make the same choices as another mom does, but her baby is not my baby, and therefor what I think doesn't matter.

My friend Sarah and I had an awesome chat on Facebook last night that left me feeling like a burden I wasn't even aware of had been lifted from my drool covered shoulders.  I think we both left the conversation feeling recharged~ speaking truth is important and venting is so therapeutic.   It was freaking fantastic to talk about everything from sleeping, new mom loneliness, pressures of perfection, oops moments, etc...  (This is all stuff we hope to create our own little collaborative mama blog about, stay tuned, it's gonna be awesome.)  We need to create little spaces and places to think and talk and process how we are feeling, day to day, as mothers, as people, as wives, sisters, daughters and friends.  As REAL people.

For instance, earlier this winter William fell.  Yup.  Set your caged bird free, I said it.  He rolled right off the couch and landed on the floor.  A basement floor.  I almost died.  My obituary would have read: absent minded mother dies from shock after not paying attention to her infant son who rolled on the floor and busted his brain.  With my heart in my throat I immediately raced to him (he was seriously right next to me) through streaming tears and thought crazy thoughts: he's fractured his skull, there's permanent damage, he'll never learn to read or drive a car or get into college and it's all my fault.  I called his pediatrician, googled head injury in infants, watched for signs of concussion, looked into his pupils, said a prayer (or a thousand) and everything turned out fine, but still...

Turns out, I think this has happened to just about every parent.  Babies are resilient critters, but we're afraid to talk about our parenting failures, to lift the veil hiding our oops moments where we messed up and acted like real human beings, capable of making real mistakes~ GASP, say it aint so!  Sarah's sweet little boy had a similar spill and she felt much the same until talking to some friends who assured her it had happened to them too.  In this crazy world of pinterest perfection, it's so easy to try and create this image in our minds of what our lives should look like instead of actually living.

Ginny over at Cheetos for Breakfast says it well in this blog entry that I love.
"I have lots and lots of friends on Facebook who are young moms or young moms-to-be. The choices they have before them are astronomical. The websites, the mommy blogs, Pinterest (oh EVIL Pinterest). The stakes are high. The expectations are huge. The consequences of every little decision are supposedly so dire. At least that is what they say.
Somewhere along the way we began to believe a lie. And it is a LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL. The lie that there is one right way to be a mother. The lie that we must make every RIGHT decision or the consequences will be catastrophic. The lie that we can control our children's lives. The lie that being a failure as a mother is a fate worse than death.
And even more hilarious is Kristen over at Rage Against the Minivan (best blog name ever!) in her blog entry Let's Bring The Holidays Down A Notch, urging us to slow down and to live more simply.  Although I love doing those special things to make holidays magical, I can appreciate her view point, and her sense of humor.

...We’ve got Valentine’s Day which has became The New Halloween, because God forbid you send a simple store-bought card. You’d better include some candy or your child will be shunned. Shunned! One of my kids came home with not just a candy from each class, but a WHOLE FREAKING GOODIE BAG from each student... And suddenly Pi Day is a thing? My children expect to be served pie because someone at school told them so? And Dr. Suess’s birthday and Johnny Appleseed Day . . . all things I didn’t even know existed but am now being asked how we’ll be celebrating at home.  And do not even get me started on what Easter has become. When I was a kid my mom went to the store and bought us a new dress and a pre-made plastic Easter basket for $8.99.  THE END. There was candy and we loved it. Maybe we would die some eggs from a kit sitting in the check-out lane at Target. They would look like crap.  Now we’ve got to leave footprints from the Easter Bunny and make artful, Pinterest-worthy eggs with stencils and ikat prints and probably some that are hombre.
I don’t like the feeling of disappointing my kids. But I refuse to give into this holiday overkill. I’m overwhelmed enough as it is. Today I gave all of my kids a bath. We read with each of them for the recommended 20 minutes. We reviewed our Math Facts. We practiced guitar. We sat together at the table and ate a meal that was NOT procured at a drive-thru.  We played outside. Most days, I’m struggling to achieve all these things. I can’t have these haphazard, once-monthly overblown holidays take over my life.  I can go big for Christmas and Easter. That’s all I can handle.  But I can’t do this alone. Fellow parents . . . teachers . . . sunday school workers . . . I beseech you. BRING IT DOWN A NOTCH.  Y’all are setting up expectations that I just can’t maintain. Wouldn’t we all be just a little happier if we returned to the slacker days of store-bought valentines and kit-dyed eggs and JUST WEARING A GREEN SHIRT AND CALLING IT A DAY?
For the sake of overwhelmed parents like me, I beg you. Stop the madness.
I'm not even sure all of my thoughts are well connected in this post, but because I want to embrace imperfection and being real, I'm gonna roll with it.  Just this tired mama's thoughts at the end of the day.
I need to get my butt to bed in case this evening's nighttime adventures have more puke, pee, battery ingestion goodness in store for me.

Dear God, I just pray for sleep.  
Goodnight friends!
Some pics from this week....

Who would have thought my kid would be the most quiet, attentive one at the library today?!?!

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