Life is about anticipating moments, whether good or bad, and then living the reality of what actually happens. For instance, my husband recently took a trip for 3 nights for work, leaving me with 100% of the parental duties for what seemed like an eternity. Camden (3 year old) kept asking “when daddy coming home. He mad?” and it took all of my energy to constantly explain to him daddy was working and would be back after he sleeps 3 times. So when “daddy arrival day” finally was upon us, we all were so excited we couldn’t stand it. We parked a mile away at the airport, quickly ran to the arrivals area and eagerly awaited dada’s return. During these 20 minutes, the boys were so darn cute. Their little noses were pressed against the glass trying to catch the first glimpse of dada. Other waiting families commented on how adorable and well-behaved they were. After a few minutes, they sat on a nearby couch and continued the watch. Finally, I saw dada and screamed, “there’s dada!!” Samuel (17 month old) nose-dives off the couch, creating a second huge goose egg on his forehead, crying bloody murder. While I’m picking his twisted, contorted body off the ground, Camden is running straight through security yelling at the top of his lungs with a TSA agent chasing him. Fucking OF COURSE.
I envisioned being home with my children all day to go…a little differently. This is not a plea for sympathy about how difficult staying home can be. This is not an opportunity for you to call me spoiled because I do “nothing” all day. This is just my reality. I ignorantly thought I would constantly bond with the kids and we would sing Kumbaya while snuggling and giving each other kisses. Considering I went from seeing my boys 4 hours a day to 13 hours a day, I don’t think this was that crazy of a vision. But what I failed to calculate was the time I would have to spend doing that thing called “parenting”, which unfortunately sometimes makes your kids throw shit at you and sing a Taylor Swift breakup song instead. I anticipated staying home to be easy. And while it is much easier in many ways than my experience of working was, it comes with a new set of challenges that I was blind to.
The other day while falling asleep, I cried. I don’t know why I cried…I think I was just freakin’ exhausted from my husband being gone, but I also felt like I yelled, lost my temper, disciplined, said “no”, ran around vacuuming up cheerios, cleaned up dog puke, ALL DAY and didn’t sing Kumbaya, or anything really, at all. I kept my kids alive, I made HUGE progress in the sharing department with my 3 year old, my 17 month old kisses all the time instead of biting, my toilet shines like a fuckin’ shooting star, but I didn’t sing with them. So many times I had to be the parent, not the friend, and it’s hard. Everyone’s experience is different, but for me, when I used to get home from work, I kinda spoiled my kids a little too much. We played a lot, ate crappy food, watched tv, danced. I didn’t feel as much pressure to worry about the disciplining and good habits since I was paying daycare to do that. I realize that isn’t necessarily good thinking either, but I felt like my time with the boys didn’t involve as many negative moments as they seem to now.
I think this is a particularly difficult time in the parenting department with my kids’ ages, at least that’s the word on the street. I continue hearing the phrase “it gets better” and it helps keep me focused and sane. Don’t get me wrong, we have fun and have bonded in a much different way than I expected to (aka in timeout). But being the “glass half-empty” type of gal, I usually go to bed at night thinking of the bad moments, the moments I wanted to kiss my baby because his beautiful blue eyes were staring at me, but I instead had to take away a favorite toy to teach him a lesson in sharing. And listen to the screaming that followed. Nobody specifically told me how personally I would take it when my kids are little assholes, especially now that I’m the main one in charge.
This is a little embarrassing to write about. I’m supposed to be all humor, fun and games on this blog. And I’m not complaining at all, I seriously LOVE my life and relative to 6 months ago, I’m living a dream. But maybe another mom out there will read this and know that they aren’t alone.
So after the epic airport greeting, we wanted to spend time as a family and go to Kings Island (an amusement park). Police Officers and Firefighters were in the park to greet people and let the kids check out their super cool trucks. Within 5 minutes, a fireman and police officer (in completely separate conversations, I might add), brought up Samuel’s goose eggs (PLURAL) on his forehead. They were laughing, but kinda like “damn, girl, wtf you doing to those kids?” I laughed “oh, we just can’t keep him still!” As we were walking away, I imagined getting arrested for child endangerment. Whew, by the skin on our teeth, we made it out without handcuffs.
I don’t consider myself a super judgy person, but naturally, when I see other kids throwing themselves on the ground, I think “oh, thank god my kids don’t do that. I’ve got my shit TOGETHER.” Well, I don’t really think that way anymore. When I see a kid throwing a fit in public, I think “that parent just said ‘no’, and that takes guts and is fuckin’ hard.” When I see a kid refusing to eat their healthy-ish meal at a restaurant, I think “damn, parents, you guys got balls to not order mac and cheese out in public. Go you!” When I see a kid bored, whining and complaining, I think “shit, dad, you got will power to not just give that kid a phone to watch a movie.” And when I see a kid with goose eggs all over her forehead, I think “hell to the yeah, I’m not alone.”