Parenthood: Prepare Yourself for Disappointment
Where are those rewarding moments, again?
We are having a bad day today.
The kind of day where my child is throwing tantrum after fit, and I just want to throw my hands up, hide in my room and cry.
But I can’t, because she’s up in our bedroom crying right now.
Today, I don’t think that any of these tantrums have to do with her disabilities, but more that she’s a hormonal, newly thirteen-year-old who doesn’t know what to do with her frustrations in life, so she takes them out on me.
The parent, the human emotional punching bag for all children everywhere.
Yes, this is one of those posts where I will complain about how hard and thankless a job parenting can be.
There’s nothing easy about parenting.
I think a lot of parents, especially new ones, romanticize that their child will be perfect and their parenting skills top notch.
They believe that their child will always respect and love them and be the cute little rewarding bundle of joy that they get to hold in their arms on the day of their birth.
This is not so.
I hate to tell you, but infancy is the easiest part of parenting.
You take care of their basic needs, you comfort and hold them when they cry, and you nurture them into learning and growing, and that is where the easy part stops.
Because then children learn to speak, and it’s all downhill from there.
I remember once being at a friend’s house when Elise through a fit and told me she hated me. Elise was about five at the time, and my friend had a brand new baby.
My friend was shocked and appalled at Elise’s behavior, and said point blank:
“My daughter will never tell me she hates me.”
And I rolled my eyes and choked on my drink, because girl, you are dreaming.
Your child WILL tell you they hate you one day, I practically guarantee it.
You could be the best parent ever, with the nicest child around, but I bet one day you’re going to do something they don’t like and they’ll take it out with words of hate.
Your kids won’t care about your feelings.
Remember, you’re your own child’s emotional punching bag — everything bad that happens in their life, they’ll take it out on you.
They can’t find their favorite stuffed animal?
It’s your fault, and they’re going to cry and yell until you find it.
They don’t want to do homework when it’s clearly time (like it’s always time) to do homework?
They’re going come up with every reason in the book with why they shouldn’t have to do it and then make you feel like an asshole for trying to do your job.
You’re having a really bad day, and your kid is also having a bad day?
Guess what, your child’s bad day trumps yours and they’re not going to cut you any bit of slack.
Parents, I’m sorry, your kid won’t give a crap about your feelings, but you are always supposed to care about theirs.
That’s your job as a parent.
It doesn’t get any easier.
Remember when I said that infancy was the easiest part of parenting because they haven’t learned to talk, and therefore, can’t talk back yet?
Well, cherish that time, because as the years go on, things don’t get easier, they just turn into different flavors of shit sandwiches.
I thought that the age between 6 and 9 was really hard because that is when your child really starts to learn about the world but doesn’t exactly have a sense of reason.
I mean, simply, kids aren’t reasonable. You can’t reason with them to get them to listen or behave better.
They’re going to do what they want to do and be who they want to be.
So, I thought, maybe when my daughter gets older things will get easier because I will be able to reason with her.
Oh, how I was wrong.
Once they get that sense of reason, they’re going to use it… against you.
Prepare yourselves, parents…
Because if you thought parenting would be a constantly rewarding endeavor that you’re going to accel at every day — you are wrong.
You are very, very misled.
I’m sure most of you don’t want to admit it, but for the most part, parenting is a thankless, unrewarding job that never ends.
Now, for the sake of saving face, I’d like to remind you all that I love my daughter completely and would lay down in front of a train for her — but that doesn’t mean I find this parenting gig fun or rewarding.
There are those moments of joy in seeing them succeed, the deep feelings of love when they snuggle up and want you, the satisfaction in hoping that they will, thanks to you, eventually be able to fend for themselves.
But parenting is fucking hard.
It’s the hardest thing, I think, that a person can choose to do.
If you prepare yourself for disappointment, if you go into it with your hopes high and expectations low, I think it’s a little bit easier to get through the worst days.
Parents with bright and shiny newborns, I salute you.
Cherish all of the best of times, because there will be many — but prepare yourself for the worst of times, because there will be even more.
And then, when your kid goes to sleep at night, remember to pat yourself on the back.
You’ve always done a good enough job if you’ve both gotten through the day alive.