“Haggard mom attempting a smile” wasn’t on her scavenger hunt list, but here we are.
Sometimes I like to pretend that I have this parenting thing all figured out and I write parenting advice posts.
I have written a handful of them since birthing my demon into this world, posts like:
But this post, the one you’re reading right now, is the best parenting post I’ll ever write because it explains how to parent from bed.
My marriage split open on November 20, 2014, and I made the decision to end it on December 15, 2014.
I don’t think there’s ever really a good time for this sort of thing to happen, but doing it immediately before such a staggering season of events – Christmas, then my 31st birthday, then New Year’s and then Valentine’s Day – felt like a barrage of punches to the face in quick succession. Bam bam bam bam bam.
That first Christmas, I invited Olive’s dad to spend Christmas day with us. I was in shock and I didn’t know quite what else to do. I was still trying to pretend things were normal, desperate for Olive to hold onto the sense that things were fine, even though I knew they would soon be very, very different.
Decidedly NOT a parenting-win moment, captured on film: Me whisper-yelling at Olive during my sister’s wedding. Ahhh memories.
I share a lot of my parenting trials and tribulations with you guys, and I think it’s important to do so. Without sharing those parts – where I fail and falter and lose my shit – it’s way too easy to accept an edited, filtered, Instagram version of reality, and we all know that’s bullshit, right? You can’t crop out the mess in real life and nor should you try – that’s where the beauty and the learning live.
I do like to share some positives too, though, and that’s what this list is. I think we all need to write lists like this every so often and then pin them to the inside of our bathroom mirrors or slide them under our pillows, so that whenever the weight of being a parent feels like it’s crushing you, you can pull it out and see some wins.
We need to do this because jesus christ this thing is hard. It’s hard for me when 75% of the time it’s only me, it’s hard for parents of multiple kids, it’s hard for parents with spouses deployed, it’s hard for parents of children with special needs. And even if you’re a “normal” parent with a supportive, helpful spouse and a strong community and financial security and healthy kids it’s still hard because holy shit this parenting gig ain’t easy for anyone.
I have been the mother of a two-year-old for almost six months now and let me tell you, the stories people tell you? True. All true.
I mean, it’s a bit of a dick move to describe a child as “terrible”, so I won’t, but raising a two-year-old has definitely presented some very unique challenges – and delights! Plenty of delights, don’t you worry! It’s been a while since I did an update post like this, so I figured it was time.
We will dive into the challenges first, because I am fabulous at complaining.
Before kids: Seriously, bedtime at their house is a total shitshow. It’s like, this hour-long process with a horrendously convoluted mix of negotiations and stories and crying and stalling until finally everyone collapses crying in an exhausted heap. It’s ridiculous
After kids: I finally figured out a foolproof bedtime routine! All I have to do is give her a bath, brush her teeth, jammie up, read six stories (including the same one three times), snuggle for five minutes, let her fuss in her crib for three minutes, give her a banana, read two more stories, give her a drink of water, change her diaper, then bounce gently in the chair until our exhausted sobs cease enough for me to sneak her into her crib!
The best part? It only takes an hour!