l downloaded Jim Gaffigan’s book “Dad is Fat” on my phone and started reading it last night (I’ve found that reading books on my Kindle app on the iPhone is one of the best ways to keep myself entertained/awake during nighttime feeding sessions), and besides being absolutely hilarious (I actually had to stop reading it last night at 4am, because I couldn’t keep myself from laughing out loud, and I thought that might be kind of rude to my husband who had to get up and go to work today if I continued to laugh hysterically in our bed at 4am), it has so many amazing quotes that are so right on about parenting. And today was one of those days where I really need to hear someone else say how I was feeling. Here’s what he had to say about the fact that a lot of his jokes are “complaints” about parenting and that some people find that anti-family.
“I love being a parent and enjoy finding the humor in parenting. You joke about it. That’s how you deal. If parents don’t like being a parent, they don’t talk about being a parent. They are absent. And probably out having a great time somewhere. Failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent.” -Jim Gaffigan
So by his definition, I am the sanest parent there is. In all seriousness, I really did need to read a quote like that today, because it was just one of those parenting days where my head was not in the game. I wasn’t feeling it. I was a C student, at best. I was just kind of “eh” all day about having to take care of my offspring.
Part of it is Bobby is going through probably the crankiest phase in his short life thus far and today especially has been rough. He hasnt napped for more than 30 minutes at a time and has pretty much only been content when nursing. This is the opposite of how he normally is, and I realize just how complacent and lazy I’ve become with an “easy” second baby. I totally forgot that infants can in fact be giant pains in the butt and try to ruin your life just as aggressively as a toddler.
Part of it is because after such a beautiful week it’s been a cold and rainy day, and somehow that brief taste of spring has made the return of winter feel like a more bitter pill to swallow.
Part of it is because every time Ive turned around today Ryland has a penny or nickel in her mouth (she’s old enough to know better, she just thinks it’s funny). No matter how many times I think I’ve hidden all of our change somehow she finds a freaking dime or quarter. Where are they coming from!?! There must be some hidden stash somewhere along with all of my makeup brushes she’s pilfered from the bathroom. And every time she does put a coin in her mouth, I have a mini heart attack and find myself in that parent child stand off where you don’t want to go after it too aggressively fear she’ll swallow it just to be as difficult as possible. So you kind of quietly face off, like confronting a lion in the Savannah.
Part of it is because randomly today I’ve really missed living in the city. I love our house but gosh sometimes I miss the city something awful. We’re not going to live here forever and again I do LOVE our house but at least for me there are times when I just miss the energy and community of a closer in environment. I miss being able to walk to shops and restaurants. I miss quirks and peeling paint and lawns that aren’t perfectly manicured. And sometimes the missing is just a faint feeling on the periphery and some days like today it randomly feels more acute.
Part of it is because R is on day 6 of a 9 day stretch of work. Which is obviously hardest on him, but it’s also not super easy for me to be a single parent to two babies for 9 days (I have to pause here to say that single parents and military moms are my absolute heroes, to perform the mentally, physically and emotionally herculean task of child-raising by yourself is absolutely astonishing, you have my insane respect forever and always).
I am so grateful for R’s job and hate to ever sound like I’m complaining about it, but any wife (or dad) who has a spouse that works long hours also can relate to the fact that you can be grateful for their job and what it gives your family but also have days where you really miss having your partner there. Parenting works best as a team sport. You need to have a sub for when you aren’t performing at your best, someone to take over at the pitcher’s mound for a few innings while you get your head together.
And when you have long stretches of doing it solo you just are going to have those days where you’re not at your best.
And well, today has been one of those sub-par mom days, one of the days I just haven’t felt like doing it all, making meals and feeding the dog and changing diapers and cleaning the endless mess.
And I feel guilty about that, guilty to not always be the cheerful pleasant Julie Andrews mom who sings and dances and smiles sweetly as she skips around the house.
But I guess as Jim Gaffigan wisely points out its okay to have these days, okay to complain and fail sometimes. Being a parent isn’t always about being the mom you think you should be. Sometimes it’s just about being there and doing the best you can.
So if anyone reading this is having a hard day or feeling kind of blah about it all I hope you know you’re not alone. We’re already ahead of the game just by showing up and loving our kids, even when they bug us and we’d much rather be on a beach somewhere sipping a mai tai 🙂