Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Epiphany

When they're a little older, I used to tell myself, it will be easier. I won't need to bring a diaper bag with me everywhere I go. I won't need to worry about a hungry baby and schedule everything around feeding and nap times.

When they're a little older, they will be able to use their words. I will be able to explain that it isn't okay to scream in the supermarket or throw a sock out a car window. They will be older, so they will understand.

I used to tell myself that as soon as this phase is over, things will settle down, life will be easier, calmer, more peaceful.

I told myself a heap of lies.

The thing about motherhood that nobody ever tells you is that it never gets easier.

Sure, you might not have to tote a heavy bag full of wipes, powders, lotions, toys, changes of clothes and diapers around with you all of the time, but there will still be stuff. If you saw the third row seat in my car right now, you would know what kind of stuff I am talking about, you most likely have it too.

By the time kids are out of the baby phase, you don't have to tell them not to scream in public . . . much. And if you are still reminding them of this when they are eleven than either they are having a really bad day, or it is time for you to get the number of a good therapist. I kid.

I remember with my daughter, I thought as soon as her colicky phase was over, she'd calm down. I was so wrong. Not only did she not calm down (ever!) her temper only grew. I was left perplexed, thinking that this should be getting easier, that I should be more adept at handling the moods of young people. I mean, I did go through this with her brothers, right? Wrong, this child was a whole new breed, that of a feisty little girl.

I thought that as soon as the boys entered school, things would be easier at home. I imagined myself lounging around after going to yoga class every morning, a cup of tea in hand and Norah Jones on the stereo . . . imagine my surprise when that little fantasy never materialized! Instead of enjoying relaxing mornings at home, I was busy volunteering in classrooms and co-ordinating various other activities for them. I barely would get done doing their laundry before they'd be bouncing in the front door, ready to tell me about their school day.

Never mind that during all of this, I was taking care of their stubborn sister and trying to keep her entertained while I attended to all of my other parental duties.

Soccer practice, taekwondo, baseball, sleepovers, permission slips, band aids, bikes, camps, homework, field trips. It never gets easier. Never ceases to be busy, like I thought it would.

And guess what? I'm okay with that.

Although during my first few years of motherhood the only way of dealing with the incredible changes in my life was to tell myself that one day it would be easier, I'm at that place now where it just doesn't matter anymore. It's a busy job, it's a hard job and it's the single most rewarding thing I will ever do. It's my job.

Sometimes I want to crawl into the closet, turn the light off and tune it all out, but I don't. Sometimes I want to walk out the front door and never come back, but I don't to that either. All I have to do is look at the faces of those children, my children, and see just how important this job, parenting, is.

As the years progress, I expect that things won't get easier. They might get better, they might even get worse, they might even get amazing. I am ready for whatever they will bring, I am done telling myself that it'll get easier, done lying, done pretending that one day a rainbow of unicorns and fairies will swoop down on my life and make it look like something in a movie.

For parenthood isn't easy, isn't a walk in the park, isn't a Johnson & Johnson ad for baby shampoo.

It's a whole lot more.

26 comments:

Sunshine said...

My best friend has kids who are already out of the house. But when her son was in high school (and getting in trouble for some stuff) and I was exhausted from having just the three I had at the time, she wisely told me, "Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems"

Turns out, I think she was right.

Shit.

Carrie said...

I so did not want to read that! I just pulled Ethan out of playing with the power cords for the 25th time in 5 minutes, and was just deluding myself as you described early in your post :)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It gets harder. Then they leave home and you (hopefully) have raised some wonderful people you enjoy spending time with and who enjoy spending time with you.

I've always said that parenting is not for the lazy or faint of heart. At least not if you're going to do it right.

alice c said...

I am not sure if I should tell you this...
We took twelve 14 yr old boys out to a restaurant and they were delightful company. They sat there and made conversation and had a good time.

And it went so well that two years later we took twelve 14 yr old girls out to the same restaurant. We thought that as they were girls they would be even better behaved...

I think that I had better stop there - I don't want to spoil your dreams.

Carol said...

My sister in law tells me everytime she see's me 'I just wanna get this horrible part over and done with and enjoy me kids' she is deluded. Makes me sad cos her kids will leave home and she'll have never taken the time to enjoy them because she was so busy trying to get the hard parts over with.

Loved this post!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I think if you feel like crawling into a dark closet every now and then, it means that you're doing something right.

Jen said...

I will admit to feeling this way at times...wanting to get the hard part over with. That was when they were babies/toddlers and it was a lot of hard parts. I do regret having these feelings but I can't change the past. Things aren't perfect now, but I feel like I'm finally getting into this parenting groove and loving all the parts--hard and easy.

Jen Rouse said...

So true! I thought my daughter would never learn the meeting of "don't touch" when she was a toddler. I thought I'd be dealing with that one simple command forever! Well, I no longer have to flick my daughter's hand to train her not to touch a hot stove...but I have to to train her to be kind and respectful and thoughtful of others. Those things are so much harder to instill in than "Don't touch."

Kelli said...

My BFF and I just had this conversation yesterday...at 4pm...as we were cracking open a bottle of wine to make it thru the rest of the playdate! Our kids are only 3 and 5, but as we were watching them crash bikes and throw sand we were reminded that at every phase there will be a whole host of hurdles and OMFG-I-could-just-dissolve-into-a-puddle moments. You've confirmed the truth - thanks!

houndrat said...

Hmmm...the crawl in the closet thing would be very tempting--if only my closet weren't such a huge disaster zone. I guess it's just one of those mommy jobs I never get around to.

And I love being a mommy for the most part---it's the hours that kill you!

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

Parenting isn't for the week, that is for sure. Different ages, different problems but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

painted maypole said...

i'm still waiting for the unicorns

The Mrs. said...

What a fantastic post! I was just blogging about this. I've lately been trying to adjust my expectations of parenting. And what you said is spot on true... it isnt a johnsons and johnsons ad, nor can you make it one.
And truthfully life would be way to boring if it was.

The Mrs. said...

What a fantastic post! I was just blogging about this. I've lately been trying to adjust my expectations of parenting. And what you said is spot on true... it isnt a johnsons and johnsons ad, nor can you make it one.
And truthfully life would be way to boring if it was.

Allison R said...

What a great post. I'm not looking forward to the teenage years. My (almost) 4-year old already has an attitude...I can't imagine it getting any better.

Belle said...

I hate to tell you but kids just roll from one phase into another. Most of it is wonderful stuff but even with mine at the ripe old ages of 18 and 22, there is always something going on. We're parents forever!!

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I was beginning to figure this out! My kids are 5 and 4 and even though certain things are getting easier, new "issues" are cropping up!

Well, if nothing else, it will keep us on our toes!

Mamasphere said...

Can I just pretend that I never read this? We're about to start trying for number two, and I think I still need to be in the delusional stage, lol.

anti-supermom said...

My husband keeps asking me what I want to do when the kids start school, looks like I can inform him that my schedule is booked for the next 18 years. Geesh, you sound busy~

Valarie said...

Its a wonderful ride were on. :)

jen said...

amen, sister.

San Diego Momma said...

My kids are two and four and right now, and I really, really need to believe it's going to get easier.

BUT after reading this, I suppose I'm OK with what comes next.

Parenting is our greatest education, I think. (And biggest head and heartache!) (Also, our greatest love.)

Mommy Schiff said...

Great post! I am going to contiune to lie to myself and say that it is going to get better even though I know it will just get more difficult. I can't imagine what my know-it-all 2 year old will be like as a teenager.

God help me =)

Elaine A. said...

That's so funny what you said about the diaper bag. I used to kind of think like that too.

I think it does get harder especially as they begin to turn into bigger kids and thus their own person...

Grim Reality Girl said...

I used to think it got easier too... and I agree that it doesn't. I also thought each phase my kids went through was the best -- even better than the last! No, it isn't easier, but it is better as I watch them become great conversationalists and wonderful friends. Hopefully the teen years don't suck.

Ann(ie) said...

um, this post scares me. I need more booze.