I love my kids and I love being a mom more than anything.
But if I’m honest, I’m tired all the time. Hands up parents, ya all tired with me?
I expected the bone weary tiredness to end once they were past the toddler phase and slept through the night. And the truth is it definitely got better. A lot better. The fact that I can get a solid 8 hours of sleep most nights is the epitome of nirvana compared to the days I was lucky I got 2 hours before the wailing screams started.
I don’t feel that “I didn’t get enough sleep” tired. I feel mentally tired. Every. Damn. Day.
Every parent gets this. Mentally we are managing more than the average human being on any given day, Unless you’re the CEO of a major corporation and even if you are, those fuckers have assistants and people to do all the things for them. Lucky bastards. That’s not the case with most parents.
Nope, we’re managing 50 open tabs in our brain around the clock… paying bills, driving them to/from their activities, grocery shopping, making dinner, filling out school paperwork, making the doctor’s appointments, shopping for the birthday present for Saturday’s party, oh shit Johnny has an ear infection again, gotta take him to the doctor, answering questions, staying on top of homework.
And for some of us, we need to manage all those tabs while holding down a job.
So when people say to parents with young kids, “Don’t wish this time away for anything, you’ll never get it back”, I hear that. I already miss the days my kids were little enough to crawl up onto my lap and rest their cute little heads on my shoulders. I’m not wishing this time away.
But let me say it out loud…. Even though we don’t want to wish this precious time away with our kids, parenting is e-ffing HARD and exhausting. It’s like climbing Mount Everest (although I’ve never tried to climb Mount Everest but I hear it’s hard)
It takes bravery and stamina. It takes relentless determination to make it to the top. It takes balls to be a parent. And forgive me if I’m not enjoying the climb some days. Someone has gotta say it, some days the climb ain’t pretty.
Does it mean I’m not grateful I was even given the opportunity to do the climb?
Does it mean I don’t know how lucky I am that I’m on this mountain in the first place?
Does it mean I didn’t know what I was in for when I agreed to take this on?
Nope, nope and nope. Please stop screaming at me and other parents, “ENJOY IT! IT WON’T LAST LONG! THEY’RE GOING TO LEAVE YOU SOON AND YOU’LL MISS THIS!”
I AM enjoying it. And I’m also tired too.
I’ve had long talks with my mom friends and I think we all share similar thoughts on what are some of the hardest things about parenting. These were some of the biggies:
1. Setting boundaries.
It starts when they’re toddlers and they want to sleep in your bed or smack you in the face (my son did both) and doesn’t end in adulthood. Do we let them stay up past a certain hour, stay out at a party past 11pm, monitor screen time? Do you let them borrow money when they’ve graduated college and already have a job? Does it ever end and how do we know if our boundaries are strong enough?
2 Time management.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to give everything we want to give to our kids. Whether you have 4 or 1 child, parents are constantly struggling with being everywhere they need to be, doing all the things they need to do, making sexy time with their partners (do any of you even have time for that?) and staying remotely sane.
3. Being present.
I can’t tell you how many times a day my daughter asks me if I want to watch her latest gymnastics move or watch a TikTok video she thinks is hilarious and I find myself saying, “Yes, of course I have time to watch that” while trying to figure out how I can continue to listen to a client on the phone while making dinner and helping my son get his football jersey over his shoulder pads. I try hard to be present but some days it’s impossible.
4. Feeding them healthy meals.
I really just wanted to say “feeding them” in general. I mean seriously, how many times a day do these kids need to eat? Like, I just fed you yesterday, I don’t understand the need for breakfast after that satisfying pizza I picked up last night.
5. Giving them what they want without them becoming entitled a-holes.
I err on the side of “needs” versus “wants” because I don’t want them to be spoiled. At the same time, when they’re talking about how all their friends have hoverboards or their pleading little eyes want to buy some completely useless crap in Target, I don’t know when to draw the line.
6. Comparing them with other kids.
Your kid is in all honors classes? They play on elite sports teams year round? They have a group of 20 friends they hang out with every weekend? We all compare our kids to other kids and think we’re doing something wrong or not doing enough but really we’re doing just fine.
7. Balancing what I need versus what they want.
I need to not talk to another human being or answer another question after 9pm. I need to read a book or write at least an hour a day or else I’m not a happy human. I need to not have to do another thing after doing all the things all day. I don’t know how to say “no” when they want me to do another thing and every day that’s still hard.
We’re all doing the climb and in my opinion that warrants a big pat on the back. We can do hard things people! For all the Karens out reminding me to enjoy every second of it, I want to go on the record and say, I am. Most days I am.
And for all you other parents out there who are enjoying it too but have moments where you aren’t enjoying it at all (like when you’re in the middle of bailing them out of jail), just know I get how hard it sometimes is.
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