It's Not All Fun and Games
There are some people that balance it out, and there are some people that take it waaaaay to the extreme and put their entire life out there, dirty laundry and all, which is sadly sometimes too crazy for me to look away from. I admit, there are some people I stay friends with on Facebook just because their dramatic lives and status updates are better than any real housewife I know. It's terrible!
While I am not one to put my dirty laundry items out in the world of the internet, I tend to be pretty honest about things like my anxiety disorder, my crazy toddler and my struggles with balancing my budget. What you will never see from me is complaints or negativity about any of my relationships or any complaints about the not-so-glamorous side of parenting, save for a joke every once in a while about the chaos that a 33 pound person can bring to a situation. The way I see it is that we wanted to have children and knew that it was going to be completely life changing and probably pretty difficult at times, so why would I complain? Add to that the number of people who want to have children in their lives and can't or who have lost their kids and it just seems ungrateful to complain about something that is more great than it is terrible most days.
But I want to get back to the title of this post, and the idea that seeing people's perfect lives in social media can cause people to feel like they aren't "doing it right" or that they are somehow missing out on the luck and fun part of life, especially with children.
So here I am, with an honest look at how parenthood has changed my life and how it really, truly is not always as peachy keen as my Instagram feed may indicate.
1. I did not sleep for two years. No, really, there was never more than a few hours of interrupted sleep until Maddie was at least 18 months old. She was a TERRIBLE sleeper and Matty and I spent many, many nights holding her, crying, falling asleep on floors and praying for some miracle that would allow us to feel half human again. We had many whispered fights about how we should be doing something different at 3am to get her to sleep. Now, at two and a half, she takes three hours naps every day and sleeps ten hours through the night, so apparently those prayers were answered, but FUCK was it a hard couple of years. There is no easier way to hate everyone and everything about parenting, marriage and just plain being alive than to take away someone's sleep for that long.
2. I have the patience of the anti-Christ. Some people have the patience of saints, I have absolutely none. Zero. Zilch. The first sign of Madeleine whining in the car and I immediately internally lose my shit, see blind rage and want to scream and jump out of the car. I am working on it, and I don't actually do these things (usually), but it makes for some tense "is she going to flip her shit or not?" moments when were are commuting home in the evenings. Something about whining and screaming makes me want to whine and scream SO BAD. It is definitely my biggest flaw and the thing I try and work on the most, and luckily Matty is more on the saint team than anything, so he can take the reigns in most of these situations.
3. Although we still try and do it all, there are times that it doesn't work out. Take for instance our recent trip to the MFA where Maddie screamed so loud I am pretty sure she woke up the mummies and peeled the paint off of a Manet. Or the recent birthday dinner where she was literally laying on the dirty restaurant floor, licking the chairs and trying to escape onto the busy street while NOT eating any of the food we got. We try to keep our lives as rich as they were before we had her and expose her to all sorts of scenarios, but as cool as she can be she is still a toddler and equivalent to a bucking bronco with tourettes sometimes. Thankfully we surround ourselves with friends who understand that we might have to talk current events over a screeching fit or bounce out of an event early to escape anywhere without an echo and Matty and I have a pretty good "tag out" system for taking turns calming the hysterical child, but it still sucks when your plans to have a lovely, Instagrammable day at the park turn into a mad dash for the car and some Advil.
4. Try as I might, I will always be working on balance. There is no one thing that is the center of my life except life itself, and sometimes certain parts get more of me than others during any given day. I may spend the whole day engulfed in Madeleine and be too pooped to give Matty the attention he deserves at night or I may throw myself into work and spend my time with Maddie that night watching a movie instead of getting down on the floor and playing with her. I think that it all balances itself out at some point, but I do not split my time and attention equally, and I also don't feel bad for it. I don't always leave work and shut off, I even answer emails from home some nights, not because I have to, but because I love my job and I want to; sometimes I leave my phone in the car when I am at the park with Maddie and give every single bit of attention I have to her and don't care who is trying to poke me on Facebook or retweet me and sometimes all I care about is hanging out with that man of mine and putting my marriage on the pedestal it deserves. Some days I get it right, some days I don't, but each day I wake up with a new chance to strive for better balance and one day I might find it.
So for all the parents, non-parents, marrieds and singles, just know that things are never as perfect as they seem and if you're ever feeling otherwise, come on over during an epic circle-pit style meltdown sometime and tag me out.
Have a great weekend, y'all!