“Being a parent is the best job in the world”
But it’s also the most pressurised job, and can be the most tiring and the most difficult. Of course there are the kind of rewards that money can’t buy, but there are also bad days. There I said it. I have the best job in the world, but there are some days it really sucks. And yesterday I had a bad day.
It is okay to say that. I don’t believe there’s a job out there that doesn’t have it’s pitfalls. I could be chief chocolate taster with Gerard Butler as my boss, (stick with me during this dream-world detour) but I’d have to eat some crap chocolate. And I bet some days Gerard would be a complete arse. But you need to have those bad days to make you truly appreciate the good chocolate.
Children are a blessing, but you know what, when the little one is beating me over the head with a plastic toy, and the big one is asking the same for something I have already said “no” to twenty times in the last 10 minutes, in those moments it’s hard to fully appreciate those blessings.
Let me give you the heads up here, small people are a game changer. There’s a lot of stuff that’s omitted from the ‘parenting’ job description. Simple tasks are rarely ever simple again. There is always someone else’s needs to put before your own. Most tasks are completed with a small person attached to you in some way, and the days are full of endless questions. And they are not all easy to answer. There’s always someone telling you to do things differently, and always someone who appears to be doing things a damn site better than you. Oh and there’s always poo. So much poo.
In the early days of newborn fog you marvel at your little creation of perfection. That tiny person that you waited so long for, is finally here. Then you try to leave the house and you are instantly reminded of when your life was much simpler. Remember that grab the keys and go? Never happening again. If you are in the newborn stage, I know it’s tough, and huge congratulations for getting dressed today. That means you are winning. If you didn’t get dressed, don’t sweat it. I bet you are rocking those PJ’s. Right now be thankful there are no small people’s shoes involved in your leaving the house mission. Trust me, one day you will understand.
No sooner do you find your feet (and shoes) with this parenting business, then something changes.
Before you know it your tiny baby is a toddler and you find yourself living with a small and very volatile dictator. Those days of tough board room negotiations and staff management of your work life will seem like a good day at the office. Just think of it as life enhancing skills. If you can win an argument with a toddler you can take on anyone.
Then school starts and suddenly your parenting skills are being questioned by your own child. The tantrums that you thought were behind you return with avengence as your small person rages at the injustice of not being allowed to do something that his new bff (yesterdays sworn enemy) is.
If only every day was a Legoland day!
When I thought about becoming a parent I didn’t envisage so many tears and tantrums. I didn’t know about the days when everyone wants a piece of you, and you give all you have to give, and it’s not enough. No one told me that using the bathroom alone is a privilege and a rare occurrence. I had no idea that some days the words I longed to hear for so long could near on drive me crazy, “Muummmmmyyyyyyyyy”
There are days when I don’t have the patience required. Days when I shout too much. There are days when it can feel like my head will explode from the constant stream of questions aimed at me. Days like yesterday where I run out of punishments to give (it was a really bad day). Those days I wish I could phone my husband and say, “Help! Please come home, I need a break”. Those days are often rainy days.
After a bad day, once the small people are asleep and I have collapsed on the sofa, I will often sob. Wish that I had done things differently. Chastise myself for not doing a better job. I will feel so much guilt for having wished for a break and a bit of time for myself. And I will think of my small people’s faces and I will want to rush upstairs and wake them, just so I can hug them and kiss them and tell them how much I love them.
I won’t of course, I mean I’m not crazy, they are finally asleep!
But I will go and peek at their angelic slumbering faces. I will listen to them breathing and wonder how they got so big and at the same time marvel at how little they still are.
At the end of those days I am thankful for my husband and his words of reassurance and understanding. I am thankful to the other mums out there who are honest about the bad days and make me feel like I am not alone. I am thankful for all the photos of my smiling happy boys that surround me and remind me of the happy memories we have made together. And I am very thankful for the wine!
We live in a world of high standards and glossy images of perfect lives. And yes, being a parent is amazing and a privilege and a gift and many many wonderful things. But it’s not always rainbows and butterflies.
Saying you need a break doesn’t mean you love your kids any less. Admitting that you are not perfect doesn’t make you any less of a parent. Making mistakes on the job is normal. It maybe the best job in the world, but it’s okay to have bad days. It’s impossible not too. And those bad days shouldn’t be a guilty secret.
The guilt and worry that you’ve done a really crappy job today, shows that you are doing a pretty amazing job. My mantra is always the wise words,
Having a bad day doesn’t make you a bad mum
Tomorrow is a new day and the small people will wake you up at the crack of dawn by bouncing on your head with their hearts full of unconditional love for you.
Yesterday in my house was awful. I was that shouty mum that I never want to be. My patience and tolerance were MIA. There were a lot of tears. Today the house has been filled with giggles and cuddles and fun and love. Although I will still be avoiding eye contact with my neighbour for the next few days. *Sorry for the shouting.
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