What Life is Really Like with Children
Before I became a parent, I always pictured what life would be like with children. I had this vision of how perfectly well dressed, neat, and well behaved my little ones would be. How I’d take them to the museum, and other various experiences throughout the city, to expose them to everything they would need to become culturally, well-rounded individuals.
I’d be the perfect mother- remaining calm in stressful situations and teach my kids about themselves and the world through experience and explanations. Much like the Brady Bunch, they’d listen to me and I’d listen to them- their struggles, their ideas and their view on the world around them.
Then I had children.
What It’s Really Like…
As time has gone by, my patience has run thinner- with each hour of sleep I’ve missed, each second of quiet time that I’ve lost, each stained item of clothing I’ve had to toss, and each ruined big ticket purchase whose fate was succumbed to by the children.
It’s not easy raising kids. It’s not all laughs, giggles and enchanting memories. Sometimes it’s over-caffeinating to stay awake, sharing your food at every meal (or snack), and finding sticky stuff in your hair or on your clothes right before you leave to go somewhere.
It’s being late everywhere, dealing with tantrums that surface at precisely the worst minute, apologizing for the mess or disruption, and mustering up enough skill to simply walk away for a moment when you realize you need to.
This over-caffeinated Mom who used to picture cute get-togethers with other Moms at Starbucks has had to decline invitations that require my children to be in a setting that isn’t conducive to the destruction they bring. I’ve missed out on making new friends and great opportunities because caring for children is a job that demands your best effort and sometimes, even your best efforts aren’t enough to make a pleasant outing happen.
It may not be what you pictured at the first thought of having children. You might have pictured organized, structured days filled with Mary Poppins-style ballads and manners. Instead, your reality might be chasing a full-diapered toddler through the library screaming, “No, no!!” and wondering how you’re going to prove that: 1) You are in fact the said toddler’s mother and not some kidnapper; and 2) that you are not abusing them in any way- they just want to climb the bookshelves and run around- all with a stinky load in their dipey.
I’ve come to accept that there is no perfect formula to raising a well-mannered, happy child. Each kid and each parent is different, and while some methods work on one of your kids, they might not work on all. You’re constantly changing and adapting as your children are, too. So you accept the shortcomings- the laundry, the messes, the cracked tv screens, and the tantrums. You’re learning together.There is no perfect formula to raising a well-mannered, happy child. Click To Tweet
It’s Not Perfect, but…
So it’s not all peaches and cream, my friends… but in a warped way, it is my absolute favorite thing.
It’s finding a bunch of Hotwheels cars in your purse, car and kitchen cabinets that makes you smile. It’s getting an unprovoked hug followed by “I love you, Mommy”, and macaroni art designs with hearts and love surrounded my your name… “Mom”. It’s them holding your face in their tiny little hands, looking at you lovingly, and whispering to you. It’s those tight hugs that warm your heart with love.
Children are love and light. They are the goodness in the world that shines through the dark, and no matter how messy and gross they sometimes are or how many tantrums they throw, they are to be cherished.
Life with children is difficult, and it’s definitely not easy being a parent, but it fills your heart and soul with more love and passion than any other aspect of your life ever could. It is truthfully and whole-heartedly a privilege- even with the minor annoyances. Remember that they’re having a hard time with you, too.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my posts What’s He Eating?: A Cautionary Tale for New Parents About Gross Things Kids Do, Listening to Your Kids: Slow Down, Mom!, and Getting Kids to Listen Without Losing It.
What drives you nuts about life with kids? What do you love?