so what can i do but oblige? i’m here to answer all of your questions about parenthood, from the messy to the mundane. and i think so many people are wondering out there: so, what’s so hard about it?
after all, i spend the entire day in my pjs and sit around watching cartoons all day, right? someone once looked me square in the face, and, without a trace of sarcasm, asked me what there was to it besides putting the kids clothes on and feeding them. i am at your disposal, here, as it’s 3 am and i can’t sleep. i’ve already written half this blog post in my head, why not set it down in ink for you?
first of all, let me just reemphasize that living with small children is like living with the mentally insane. they are obsessive. they are emotional tornados. they are reckless. and they depend on you physically. not just for clothing and feeding, but for diapering, wiping, bathing, carrying, making sure they don’t fall, get hit by a car or trampled by other people. plus they want your constant attention. plus they depend on you for all of their emotional well-being.
let me put it this way: being with small children all day is kind of like being water-boarded. it’s a constant bombardment of the senses, such that, in any given day, i am unlikely to have one complete thought.
this is particularly difficult for an introvert like me, who needs a lot of quiet and alone time to process my life and to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. it might not be quite the challenge for an extrovert, who thrives off of living their life externally amongst other people. people say that if you aren’t able to sleep and dream enough, you will go insane. i think the same can be said for daydreaming and just plain thinking to oneself.
“it’s like this,” i told greg the other day, “your job is hard, but at least you get varied tasks. something that breaks up the monotony.” whereas here, i can be stuck reading the same story over and over for forty minutes. i can answer the same line of (nonsensical) questioning five times. i can walk the same circuit from the living room to the bedroom to the kitchen to the bathroom all day, without having the time to take a shower, brush my teeth or hair. most of the time, if i can remember to cook dinner, i consider the day a success. and, i don’t care how bad your co workers are. they don’t follow you into the toilet like joel does to me, dumping out an entire box of q tips, then klunking his head on the edge of the cabinet door and crying while trying to scramble up onto my lap as i sit on the toilet. meanwhile, more than likely, ruth is out in the living room, asking for help with the computer, as though i wasn’t doing anything that might prohibit me from doing so (you try and keep your voice free of sarcasm at a time like that. i dare you).
“and, though your boss asks a lot of you, he never asks more than what’s reasonable.” here, i am never making both of them happy, and i am mostly not making even one of them happy. i can’t read joel a book and help ruth get dressed at the same time. i can’t fix ruth cereal and hold joel on my lap (like he likes to spend so much of his day). i can’t make sure joel isn’t falling off furniture in this room while simultaneously watching ruth do gymnastics in that room. i can’t breastfeed joel and wipe ruth’s ass.
but they don’t know that. they don’t understand. just like, as hard as i try, i can’t make ruth understand that asking the same question over and over and over again is annoying. and that, if i’m busy doing something else, i can’t help you right now. you’ll just have to wait (a four letter word to a young kid).
as much as it can be a struggle for people to feel appreciated at work, mostly, you get some kind of recognition for the work you finish. staying home, ruth and joel don’t mind asking the world and more of me and don’t even realize i’m being put out. that my entire life is devoted to them in order to care for them and raise them.
a friend of mine recently expressed mild disappointment that it seems like i’m not enjoying every moment with my new growing family, that i’m maybe coming off as ungrateful or unappreciative of the wonderful life that i have. well, i do appreciate it. i love it. but it’s hard as hell. and, this blog is my place to vent.
becoming a parent is like stripping away all of your outer layers, and asking what you’re really made of. in my case, a lot of grit, to be sure. a tightly wound ball of nerves. a deep pool of desperation. and a lead core of stubbornness. you can’t run and you can’t hide (behind your facebook image). parenthood is as real as it gets. maybe it’s the ultimate in introspection. you finally have to take a good hard look at who you really are.
then, of course, there are the bigger picture items, like that your life is completely and forever altered by having kids, and that you will forever worry and agonize over them and wonder if you helped them or if you hindered them and what you maybe should have done differently.
but you guys don’t want to hear about all that. i know you. you don’t like all that broad mumbo jumbo. you like the concrete details, small things you can hold in your hands.
i mean, i could make it all seem like roses and unicorns like this lady http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/ (i feakin’ love this blog though it makes me feel like a big lame loser), or i could keeps it more real for ya’ll. i find comfort in letting anyone struggling know that you’re in good company.