Disclaimer: This is going to be one of those venting/complaint posts, so if that’s not your jam feel free to skip this one. I sometimes see online bloggers or “influencers” say that they only believe in posting positive things, specifically about parenting, which is fine and dandy and totally their choice. It’s also fine if you are someone who only wants to read the positive stuff. I love reading those types of blogs when I need a little escape or fantasy. They’re great, and it’s those people’s prerogative to post whatever they please. I also totally agree that we shouldn’t wallow in negativity and that parents always have to have that little disclaimer that no matter how much we complain, we do understand how lucky we are to be in the position in the first place.
However, personally, what I often crave and desperately rely on are other parenting blogs that are honest, talk about the hard stuff, and make me feel like I’m not the only mom out there stress eating an entire bag of Smart Popcorn in my bathroom while I hide from my children 😉
So that’s why I write about this stuff and “complain.” Because hopefully someone else out there on the interweb reading will see this and relate. It’s okay to love your kids but also sometimes hate parts of parenting. I don’t think any human out there could not experience that dichotomy. Unless you are a parent-bot and smile all day, get dressed every morning by little birds and forest creatures, and shoot rainbows and unicorns out of your face. But I have yet to meet one of those.
So anyway, this Sunday. It’s kind of a been a big old turd. R is working so I’m on my own and have been the last 7 days, which is part of it. Usually, by day 7, I start to lose it a little. Single parents or people whose spouses are gone for long periods of time are literally heroes on this earth and everyone should kiss their feet. Because it’s hard! Seven days is about my max. And this week I had a babysitter come twice. And I still feel that raw, restless, clawing at the cage kind of energy.
Part of it is the fact that I slept about 3 hours last night. And not three consecutive hours. Three cobbled together, half in my bed, half in the upstairs guest bedroom with the baby hours. On top of about a month of crappy sleep (Bobby’s sleep training journey has not been straightforward, more on that in another post) So that helps my mood.
Part of it is that both babies have been in MOODS. Bobby is teething (which is why the last 2 nights of sleep have been really terrible for him and me). Ryland’s mood is possibly due to an ear infection from last week’s cold. I tend to let those run their course unless she gets febrile or acts miserable or it doesn’t go away in a few days, since they’re usually viral. As a nurse who has seen plenty of drug-resistant bacteria, I like to avoid antibiotics unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. Especially because trying to get Ryland to take a course of antibiotics is hell on earth. We’ve only had to do it twice thank GOODNESS, and last time we literally had to put it in chocolate ice cream every night.
It could also just be because Ryland is 2. I have heard time and time again that 3 is so much harder than 2, and if that is the case you can start forwarding all of your mail to my address at the parent insane asylum (I imagine it’s a lovely place full of parents rocking back and forth in quiet rooms, quietly humming the Moana soundtrack and reliving tantrums and public meltdowns).
2 is hard you guys. I mean, I love her. She’s the funniest person I know. 80% of this age is amazing and wonderful and the kind of thing you would find on those non-complaining Instagram accounts where the moms always have perfect hair and makeup and talk about how “fun” it all is ALL THE TIME EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY, LOLOLOLOL (again, they must be parent-bots right?)
But that other 20%. Whew. That other 20% drives me to drink (okay fine, I don’t exactly have to be driven, but still). That other 20% is where I struggle.
She is so strong and willful and feisty. And I love that. I really do. I know one day I will be so proud of those qualities. But right now, they just can make it feel like I live with an emotionally abusive midget. And to make it even more fun, picture an emotionally (and let’s be real, sometimes physically) abusive midget, who speaks Swahili.
I think part of why 2 feels so hard is that verbal gap, where she understands SO much, but can express SO little. At least in a language that her parents understand. I feel like I spend much of my time playing charades. And my partner is drunk and doesn’t understand the rules, but really, really into the game and gets REALLY PISSED when her charade partner (me) doesn’t guess right.
This is our typical interaction, particularly in the evening around dinner time:
Ryland: A stream of gibberish and very enthusiastic hand waving.
Me: Okay, starts with the letter….?
Ryland: Slams herself into the cabinet. Bangs on it with her fists. More gibberish, only louder.
Me: So you’re saying it’s a movie?
Ryland: Throws self onto floor. Bangs feet on ground. High pitched shrieking.
Me: Sounds like?
Me: Hold on, I’mma pour some more wine.
I know it’s much more frustrating for her. And I try to hold onto the knowledge, and patience, for as long as possible. But then she throws her dinner plate across the room as she furiously points into the void, wanting some food item that I will literally never guess right (Oranges? Shrieking. Yogurt? Shrieking. Cheese? Shrieking. Repeat ad nauseam). And I just feel that anger rise and my patience fall away and find myself shouting something really ridiculous, like, “LET ME FEEL MY FEELINGS!” or “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME. I’M THE BOSS OF ME!”
It also makes every public outing have the fun edge of total unpredictability and chaos because I never know when she is going to just bolt. She really loves a good bolt. We go on “fun” walks around our neighborhood, and in the last few weeks, I have chased after her as she has run toward a barbed wire fence, toward the neighborhood pond to say hi to the ducks/go swimming, and off into the flea and tick infested woods.
I’ve gotten really good at carrying a shrieking, 30+ pound toddler, body slamming her into the stroller and strapping her in, all with George on the leash in my hand and a nonchalant smile and wave at our clearly horrified neighbors.
And if all this sounds like enough to be a really effective form of birth control, I will reiterate that this stuff is the 20%. There’s a whole other 80% I’m not talking about right now, the full body run she does where every part of her bounces, her “dancing” where she skips in a circle, the way she kisses and hugs her brother, the snuggles in bed. I promise, the 80% of awesome really outweighs the 20% of emotional terrorism. Most days.
But on days like today, when I’m sleep deprived, when my sweet Bobby is cranky (which is rare, so when it does happen it kind of unsettles all of us), when I see no visible end in sight to the sleep deprivation, well on days like today I just need to get online and do a little venting about the 20%.
Some days we just need to cast a little net out there into the universe, hoping it’ll find someone else going through something similar, or who has gone through it, who can promise us that there is an end, who can gently remind us to appreciate these days, even with the teething and exhaustion and emotional abuse from a tiny dictator.
So that’s my little venting moment. I promise to be less cranky (hopefully) next time. I hope all of you are having lovely Sundays that are more Fun Days. But for those who aren’t, for whatever reason, not just the parenting related ones, just know you’re not alone.
We’ll all get through it together. With all the coffee. And then all the wine.