Some days being a parent is hard. Not every day, mind you. Most days are all they are supposed to be: fun, rewarding, inspiring, challenging and testing.
It must also be the hardest job there is. As a parent we have so much responsibility on a daily basis. We hold ourselves to the highest standards in our role as parents. We have very clear ideas of the kind of parent we want to be. We have very strong opinions on certain aspects of parenting and a plan as to how we are going to raise our children and positively impact them. Sometimes as parents we face unknown parenting territory, we don’t know what to do and our response to it is trial and error. Especially when raising multiple children, what worked for one child may not work for the next child. But that’s ok. It’s a learning curve. A steep one, by all accounts. We have to be alert and clued in, we have to care and figure stuff out as we go along. We always keep ourselves in check. We hold ourselves to high regards. We want to be the best that we can be. For us. For our children. Because that’s our job. That’s what we get paid to do…..(Oh, hang on.…That’s right. It’s unpaid.)
Whether we are sick, tired, distracted by other things in our lives or are having an “off day”, it doesn’t matter. Our tiny bosses will not give us the day off. They will expect us to be up at the crack of dawn, ready for fun and games with a smile on our face and a bounce in our step. Ready for an exciting, fun day; a day with patience to come up with smart answers to the never ending Whys; d day with creativity to fill all the blank pages in the colouring book; a day of singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” including all the movements AGAIN AND AGAIN; having snacks at the ready and the dinner of their choice cooked on demand. We are kind. We are patient. We explain to our tiny bosses everything they want and everything they need to know and we explain it again and again seemingly never getting tired. We use positive language and positive affirmation. We praise, we encourage, we stimulate and educate. We kiss the ouchies better and the tears away. We are teachers, coaches, and referees. We are parents.
But sometimes when we are having an “off day”, we face this little struggle:
- between our role as parents and the expectations we have for ourselves
- and our limitations as human beings.
And when we feel this struggle within ourselves and this thought sneaks into our heads, it is like the ‘parent’ shell breaks away from around us (it’s like a scene from Men in Black!) and reveals that beneath lies just a human. And this is when we know today is a day where we just DON’T WANNA. (*stamps foot*)
Where we don’t want to eat our dinner with someone sitting on our lap, because we want just a little personal space.
Where we run out of answers to the never ending questions and we want just a minute of silence.
Where we need to hold back the tears because tiny boss accidentally whacked us in the nose while using us as a trampoline. (Yes, Mama has feelings too!)
Where we are not okay with having our hands covered in poo after yet another nappy malfunction. (Seriously. Who poos sideways!)
Where a “I don’t like you” mid-tantrum really crushes our heart.
Where just as we are sitting down with that cup of coffee that’s been microwaved five times already, someone calls to have their bum wiped.
Where we are tired of listening to the bickering and fighting followed by the high-pitched “I am going to tell Mamaaaaaaaa”.
And we just want a break. We just want a break from being that perfect textbook parent that has all the answers, has all the patience, does everything perfectly, explains everything in a soft voice and with parental reasoning.
We just want to let out a screech, tell the tiny bosses to bugger off, hand in our notice and walk out from this job, doors slamming and all……… to catch a breath.
We are doing the best we can. We work as hard as we can to do this job right. We are giving this our all. Twenty-four-seven. We aren’t perfect. We can try to be and we certainly aspire to be. But let’s remember that after all we are human. Underneath that parent shell we are still us with basic needs like, having an uninterrupted shower without an audience or a hot coffee…. Is that too much to ask?
I salute all you hardworking mothers and fathers. You are doing a mammoth job. Needs to be said. And let’s me say this also: Let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Let’s not feel bad for thinking that thought because as quickly as this thought enters our head, it disappears again. It doesn’t make us a bad parent. Rather, it makes us [super]human.
Now go and reheat that coffee and drink it this time. Get ready to be the human trampoline and try not to get whacked in the nose again 😉