Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You are not a terrible parent.

Ramona is camping at the beach with her dad tonight. 
They are so sweet, and wanted to give me a bit of 'me-time' to finish my work sample. 
Then she will come home for just two days before hitting the road again to the other end of the state to stay with her grandparents for five days. 

Embedded in that everyday stress is a little (well, not so little) voice that is constantly telling you that you aren't doing it all right; 
you're not giving enough, you're not teaching them enough, you're not loving them enough,
or at the very least, you're not showing it enough.
You're yelling too much, or you're on the computer too much.
This voice is incessant, and it's unhealthy. 

I am a fantastic mother. 
As a family we explore, we learn, we laugh, we eat well, we get dirty, we love.
So why is it that every time I put a movie on or make a box of Annie's mac and cheese for dinner I feel like a failure?
Why do I hold myself to such an unrealistic standard?

Sometimes Ramona is a real piece of work. She's three. I mean, really. She is three.
I'd be worried if I didn't lose it sometimes. I'd be seriously lacking the most basic emotional capacities.

This is a struggle I face on a daily basis. So many parents do.
With blogs and magazines painting a rosy picture of 'life with kids' it can be difficult to distinguish between fiction and reality. 
Remember that people are always giving the happy story, posting the good photos.
I am guilty of it. I am absolutely guilty of it.

In reality, I am a very busy, 27-year-old.
I cry some nights after Ramona finally decides to go to sleep, most of the time I don't even know why.
Sometimes it's because I have hours of homework left to do, or sex to dream of having with my husband in a world where I don't feel so tired, and then I think about the fact that I have to wake up at 6 the next morning and do it all again. Happily.

I love my child, but I don't love every single moment. And that's ok. That's real. 
Bits of me are missing her already. Aching at the thought of not seeing her for so long.
Other bits of me are already planning a million "adult" activities, and I just can't wait for her to be gone.


This man made me cry last night with this poignant and hilarious post: 


Oh, I needed that. 
I am not a terrible parent, and I doubt you are either.


(footnote: I realized upon re-reading this post that I am not actually 27. I am still 26 until August. oh my.)

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