Let me just assure you before you warm up those troll fingers to type some snarky comment—I adore being a mom. I’m thankful, I’m honoured, and I’m well aware of how lucky I am to have two wonderful, challenging kids. But (and there’s always a ‘but’), sometimes I admit there are downsides to being a parent that nobody ever tells you.
They don’t tell you you’ll never sleep soundly again, and they don’t warn you that every single decision you make will affect your precious snowflake(s). Nobody warns you about exactly how relationships can suffer due to the parental strain, and they definitely don’t bother telling you what your boobs will look like after 5 years of breastfeeding. They seem to forget to mention the very real financial strain of 80 million pizza days, and the never-ending frustrations involved in trying to turn feral beasts into functioning members of society. Toilet training nearly broke me, but even that can’t prepare you for preteen hormones, teenage shenanigans, or college applications. You guys, we’ve signed up for a never-ending job with zero training. We’re bonkers.
We’re led to believe that it’s magical, the best thing to ever happen, that it’s sunshine and unicorns all the time. I don’t regret having my kids or a moment, but I’m here to admit some truths.
As I sit here writing this, drinking a glass of scotch, with popcorn for dinner, I think I’m qualified to tell you about some ways that parenting is legit the worst.
Watching Your Language
Look, I don’t know who decided that curse words were so bad, but we’re bound to those rules now, and it’s proving mighty difficult for me to not utter, “What the f*ck?” a thousand times a day. Why would my son intentionally cut holes in his new clothes? Why is cleaning a bedroom worthy of an epic meltdown? Why is there sh*t everywhere, and where the f*ck are my car keys, anyhow? It’s really difficult to maintain this Sesame Street-level of polite language when my whole life is a series of monstrous WTF moments.
This Whole Healthy Eating Mandate
I don’t like kale either, kids. Balancing lunches is nearly impossible when this one like veggies, but hates fruit, and that one eats only cured meats that are apparently horrible for their health. Food groups? What are those, exactly? And why can’t we just agree to have ice cream for dinner, and cross off the dairy part of our days? Forget balancing the budget, I can’t even balance our diets.
Not Being Able to Just Goof Off
Who decided that being an adult had to be so full of . . . responsibility? As it happens, if I wanted to goof off, I’d have to schedule it in. Between working full time and parenting, who has the time to fluff off? Not this mama. There’s always something I’m neglecting when I decide to be Fun Mom—and I always regret it when the work piles up and stares me in the face the next days.
Being an Organizational Superhero
The scheduling, OMG. I don’t think it was this crazy for our parents’ generation, do you? Extracurriculars, homework, appointments, grocery shopping, dental visits, household chores—stop the insanity. We’re expected to do all these things effectively and with smiles on our faces, parents, just so you know.
Cleaning All the Things
The floors are constantly dirty, there is clutter everywhere. The dishes are never-ending, and the laundry—oh my God, Mt. Laundry is epic. Forget remembering to bathe the kids, the dog, and keep the toys tidied. You know those friends who post pics of their spotless homes? Unfriend them.
Listening to Kids Retell Memes
NO, SERIOUSLY, THIS IS A REAL THING.
The Lack of Sleep
I remember just sitting in a puddle of tears when I had my first baby. Why wouldn’t she sleep? And then when she did sleep, I’d sit there and watch her chest rise, because I lived in constant fear of SIDS. Then my kids co-slept for approximately EVER, and I spent a good seven years getting kicked in the throat all night. Then they fought me over bedtime, and I’m told that the teen years are just chock full of anxiety over where these independent half-adults are, and what shenanigans they’re up to. We’ll sleep when we’re dead.
Sharing the Good Snacks
I just don’t want to, okay?
Managing Their Education
It’s pretty amazing how huge it feels to hear a junior kindergarten teacher suggest your five-year-old may not be successful because they can’t read, and are still struggling with sharing. Like, really? This is the kind of thing I need to add to the pile of worries? We worry about how they’re progressing, how much they’re learning, how far they’ll go in life. We worry about how to work with their educators and the lifelong impact of being the class clown in grade three. We’re already thinking about future job prospects before kids are out of middle school. It’s exhausting.
Healing their Heartaches
This one’s the worst, truly, because there’s just no way through heartache but to feel it. The huge feelings of a preschooler who has lost a favourite toy, or the middle school kid who is bullied, or the high schooler struggling with love—we feel it ten times more than our kids because we love them more than anything. It’s agonizing, and nobody ever talks about just how tough this part of parenting is in our own hearts.
Now that I’ve spent all this time complaining about parenting, I want to go in my kids’ rooms, scoop them up and hug them forever.
You guys, parenting is the best thing ever.