Of course, there are the picture perfect moments, the ones on Facebook and Instagram; the ones we watch on repeat that makes parenting seem effortless, the snapshot worthy seconds we view with envy, the picture I myself posted earlier this week.
The reality though is very different, and it rarely makes the highlight reel.
Parenting Is…(The Uncut Version)
Parenting is eating the hotdog skin your child refused because you’re starving (yes, it’s as disgusting as it sounds). It’s crumbs all over their little bodies, in between your toes, inside your pockets, on your lap, the couch, the car and any other surface you can fathom. It’s sticky hands and handles. It’s never owning a clean shirt again.
Parenting is chaos, a loss of control, a lack of privacy and personal space.
Parenting is rationalizing in the face of the irrational. It’s crayons on your wall, in their mouths, and down the toilet. It’s plumbing fiascos, monster truck sized messes and unlimited accidents, of various sizes and varieties.
Parenting is repeating yourself twenty six times before they acknowledge you opened your mouth. It’s defiance, selective listening, and stepping on pointy and painful little toys designed to deconstruct your foot.
It’s losing your patience, saying something you shouldn’t and then spending hours sitting with remorse and guilt, except you’re never actually sitting because parenting is doing all the things, at all the times, unless you allow them thirty minutes of screen time, in which case you’re the devil and warping their precious little minds for decades to come.
Parenting is playing pretend and make believe in a world you don’t understand, much less want to visit. Can someone please tell me why my daughter thinks there are so many frogs there?
Parenting is calming the little people through their meltdowns, while biting back your own. It’s frustration in your voice at five o’clock, and the internal countdown to bedtime, desperate for a few minutes to yourself, knowing most nights you’ll be too tired to enjoy them.
Of course, there are tender moments too: the sweet sighs and snuggles, the tops of their heads, their soft downy hair, tucked into the nape our necks or burrowed in our chests. There is loud laughter, boisterous belly laughs, and literal jumping for joy. There is boundless energy and untainted excitement for even the smallest of things, like oranges and warty toads; the bumpier, the better.
When it’s all said and done though, you’ll find far more tears, trying moments and excrement in our daily routines. Looking at it on paper, I don’t know why anyone procreates on purpose. And yet, we do; again and again.
I can’t explain it, but I do know I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Bring on the frogs.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go earn my M&M.