Let’s be honest, it is hard work

Time to revisit that parenting/motherhood thing. Its been a rather challenging few days up here in my corner of the world. First off Mama is dealing with PMS and it seems with each passing month that mothering and PMS do not go together…all I want to be honest is to be left the fuck alone. Seriously, I just want to relax and veg out on bad fiction (re-reading VC Andrews first books at the moment) and bad TV (silly programming on Bravo and maybe Lifetime for real cheese-ball factor). I want to eat junk food and generally just be in the zone.

The problem though is that I have a super active almost 4 year old daughter (known to regulars as mini-me, for she looks a lot like me and acts like it too) and despite having a uber helpful husband, mini me is just not wanting  to hang out with him.  As you can imagine, this can create a lot of tension, it meant this weekend, I helped my girl create construction paper eggs and other Easter decorations when all I wanted to do is sleep. In the end it was fun and I enjoyed myself but I am still tired and extra cranky.

Thing is this parenting gig is hard work, I have said it before but I will keep saying it, parenting effectively is not for the weak. There is nothing that can prepare you for parenting, I did it the first time as a young woman and figured it was my lack of education and maturity that made the job hard at that time. So I waited almost 14 years before I tried again, in that time acquiring an education, skills and a solid marriage. So I was sure this time it would be easy since the first time it must have been hard because I was woefully unprepared. Nope, this time I got a kid whose energy level is insane…..seriously, mini-me came out the womb requiring little sleep and demanding 150% of my efforts. No mere 100% was good enough for her. There are days I look back fondly on when I was a single Mama with my son, at least he was a mellow child and my concerns were on feeding us and keeping us housed.

Let me say it again, parenting is not for the weak. Which is why I get amused with the writings from fellow Mamas and how when they strive to be truthful those who live and die on the altar of motherhood, get all up in arms. Check out this blog piece by the NY Times Judith Warner. She talks about an article in another publication and about the downside of pumping breast milk. In the past few days I have seen Judith and the other author get roasted, my goodness we all know breast milk is best at least that is what they started telling us after I had my first kid in 1992. In 1992, there simply was not the push to or rush to make women breastfeed.

Now before anyone gets ready to roast me on breastfeeding, let me just say I have proper breastfeeding credentials, I won’t get specific other than to say I nursed my daughter for over 2 years, so I am above the national average when it comes to nursing. So I feel that I am in a place to comment but truth is nursing is hard work. The first 18 months of my daughter’s life I never slept longer than 3 hours at a time. I thought was going to die, I was so tired and run down that my husband put his foot down and took her out of our bed so that I would sleep. See, this is the shit folks don’t tell you about….that at 18 months you still won’t be sleeping. New mothers expect that they won’t sleep in the first weeks after a baby’s arrival but a year and a half later? No one tells you that and in my case I had done this mothering gig before. You have no idea how many times I blamed breastfeeding with my girl’s inability to sleep, my son slept through the night early on, so I expected the same thing.

No, its easy as to idealize motherhood when you aren’t in the trenches or you have the mellow kid but for those us deep in the trenches with a high maintenance kid, our eyes are wide open. Which is why Oprah’s most recent show (disclosure, I didn’t watch it but a friend told me about it and I saw some clips and read up on it on Oprah’s site) about Mamas being truthful really struck a chord with me…why don’t women ever talk about the bad shit and why is it bad when we do. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our kids but my goodness sometimes you wish you had a mute button or a pause button to hit when your kid is driving you ape-shit. Shit, sometimes I wish I had that button for my Spousal Unit and I bet he wishes there was one for me as well.

Yet while its a hard job, the love we receive back makes it oh so sweet and I would trade my girl for nothing in the world.

10 thoughts on “Let’s be honest, it is hard work”

  1. When you get between 8 and 14 kids, you also get a reality show. Definately not worth it. Most reality shows suck, and so would having that many kids!

  2. Keeping it real, as always! 🙂 I have no kids. Not sure I ever will, but I’m always taking notes.

    My good friend, a single mom, has four kids under 10. Four kids! I don’t know how she juggles them with her job and classes. I’m glad I’m not in her shoes, but my hat’s off to her; I know she loves her children and would do anything for them.

  3. Sigh. My daughter broke my sleep. She just turned 12 but for real, she broke my sleep and it’s been 8 years since she finally slept through the night on a regular basis. That’s right, she was well into year 4! before she stopped coming into my bed at night and putting her freezing cold little feet into my back and snuggling in.

    Lordlordlord. My private nickname for my son was Bait, cuz I knew that it wasn’t normal for a baby to be that easy and I was right because my nickname for my daughter was Birth Control. The colic reared its ugly head at a few weeks old and my tiny little bit of sweetness commenced to crack the whip for the next several years.

    The thing is, she taught me compassion for and gave me a frightening glimpse into how a mother could snap from exhaustion and frustration and not having any resources. We got through it due to being fortunate enough to have some wonderful help but there was one moment where I grasped how someone could cross that line and shake their baby. Sobering.

    I totally know how it feels to want to sign off for a while.

  4. Girl, 3 is bringing me to my knees in many ways! I had to find a “support group for parents of 3 year olds” and found that it’s not me and it’s not my kid, really. 3 is a nutso age and we just have to breathe through it.

  5. Hey there!

    This is the type of honesty that makes a blog phenomenal!

    There are many mothers who feel guilty making negative statements about motherhood because they fear that they will hear the ole, “well no one told you to open your legs and get pregnant in the first place!” types of responses. So they just remain silent and their silence is deceptive.

    My situation on the motherhood trek is MUCH different. I have been a childless-by-choice black woman for all of my life but God has also placed me into “rescue parenting” mode.

    It’s one thing for a woman to CHOOSE to have children. It’s another thing for a woman to be in a position to rescue someone else’s child from destruction and depravity. Motherhood becomes compulsory and not necessarily a planned choice.

    To be honest… I am not sure why more women do not hire full-time nannies PRIOR to the birth of their children. They often try to “wing it” as new moms for a while and when they are completely frazzled mentally and emotionally…THEN ….they try and find a nanny and it’s too late because they aren’t in an optimal state to make the best selection and tend to choose out of desperation and regret it later.

    I commend you on your honesty and your perseverence! Rock on, Mommy-In-Chief!

  6. LOL @ support group for parents of 3yo’s. Yes, 3 is a beast, especially where my firstborn was a mellow child and the girl child, I love her but as the old folks used to say LAWD…she is a killer. I need something myself.

    Lolo, your two sound just like mine. The first one being so easy, you just assumed the next one would be as well. Our girl at 3.5 is sleeping most of the night in her bed but generally by 5 am requires someone to come to her room and lay on the floor next to her. Being the bad wife that I am, that is the hubby’s job…he has a better back than me.

    @Sekan, if I had that many kids I would be running for the closest insane ayslum. LOL ….Two are more than enough.

  7. I envy you your husband’s sense of responsibility. In my case, my ex actually woke me up out of dead sleep to go and deal with my baby …. and I did it! Ah well, lessons learned, etc.

  8. Nothing like the parent who’s already awake making the other parent get up out of a sound sleep.

    Gah! Sorry, Lolo…

  9. Yes, it is very hardwork. I job that you need a break from too, now and then. No, I am not ashamed to admit it.

  10. I have to agree BGIM, it is hard work that is so frustrating at times. My first is very demanding and I thought that my second would be my “easy” child only to find that he’s just as demanding in other ways. I am *ready* to be done nursing at night so that I can get a straight 8 hours of sleep but somehow, I keep sabotaging myself. In the middle of the night, it just seems easier to stick a boob in the baby’s mouth and fall back asleep rather than deal with the crying and screaming it would take to get him back to sleep sans nursing.

    I keep wondering how I (and so many other parents I know) find myself in a situation where there is so little support and help. I can’t even depend on my own parents for dependable, worry-free relief as they are still working full-time and not even close to retiring. And with the hubby working lots of overtime (I’m not complaining about that in the least), I’m here with the children by myself *a lot*. Some days, I don’t get a moment to myself (like this morning when the little one decided to be up at 6:00–canceled out exercise completely–yesterday I exercised while he was screaming to be let out of the play yard). I fantasize about dropping them off somewhere or having someone come in to watch them just for a few hours a day. I can’t lie and say that I don’t get a little green-eyed seeing the nannies and the kids get dropped off at the playground by mom who’s headed to the gym!!

    We are making this one paycheck do magic right now . . . the only “break” would be to go back to work full-time and that’s not what I want or what my family needs. Part-time employment would be great but wow, who knew it’s so impossible to find a part-time gig. ((((Sigh)))) Sorry for the mini-vent.

    Parenting is *not* easy and it is not for the weak. But I’m so grateful for my kids, and even for the situation right now however hard it is. No one ever said life would or should be challenge free. To keep it together, you have to make a consistent effort to enjoy the enjoyable things and wait for the infuriating things to drop off as the kids get older or as you become more willing and able to ignore it. .

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