Not as bad as I make it look

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 8:48 am

Do I make parenthood look bad?

It’s the question I asked myself as Daniel drove us home from our twice-monthly dinner club.

We’re the first couple among the group who’ve had children while continuing to regularly attend – and when people ask me how I am, I’m likely to respond that I’m tired, Tirzah Mae’s not been sleeping, it’s got to be teething, or (my favorite line) “I signed up for this – and it’s only another twenty years or so.”

But is that the sum of how I feel about parenthood? How I feel about myself as a stay-at-home helpmeet or about Tirzah Mae as my 24/7 companion?

No. It’s not.

Parenthood is hard, make no mistakes about it. But it is also rewarding, fun even.

But the “Happy Food” friends ask me when I’m hungry because it’s an hour after my normal eating hour, when I’m exhausted because I’m at the end of the day (and quite possibly after my usual bedtime.) So I respond with a litany of complaints.

I remarked on this to Daniel and he responded that I was being honest. That I have found parenthood hard.

And it’s true. Parenthood has been hard. But I realized that even Daniel doesn’t see the fun I have.

By the time Daniel gets home from work, I’m hungry (it’s almost dinner time!) and I’m tired (it’s been a long day of work and play.) Tirzah Mae gets clingy right around the same time I’m trying to get dinner prepared, so I’m often feeling stressed about juggling cooking and a clingy child. So Daniel hears my frustrations, my exhaustion, my readiness for a break.

When Tirzah Mae and I go out in the morning and I talk with other moms, I’m more than likely stressed about having had to get out of the door by a specific time and I’m working to keep Tirzah Mae’s normal morning energy under control so she’s not disrupting whatever we’re doing. So I’m likely to be happier than at night, but still frustrated.

What no one else sees is what happens in the mornings and early afternoons, while Tirzah Mae and I are both well rested and well fed. We roll around on the floor laughing. We dance around the living room. We make faces at one another. We cuddle. We go out on the front porch and watch the rain streaming down, occasionally sticking our hands in the overflow from the gutters. We talk through the ordinary events of our day – making oatmeal, changing diapers, making the bed, putting on makeup or brushing my hair, cleaning the toilet, watering the garden, washing dishes, emptying the dehumidifier, folding laundry or hanging it to dry,

I’m sorry for how I represent parenthood. It’s not as bad as I make it look.

Reader Comments (2):

  1. Barbara H. says:

    When I recently watched Timothy for a morning while his parents moved, and then went over and kept him and Mittu company for several hours while repairmen were at their house, I was reminded how almost all-consuming having a baby was. I’m exhausted after a single morning – one of the reasons, I am sure, that God gives babies to younger women. :-) Yet there is great fun as well. Some of it gets easier as they get older, but there are challenges and joys with every age and stage.

  2. OH, how I relate to this post, and my children are 11, 9, 5, and 2. :-)

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