The monotony. The early mornings and late nights, or sometimes all nighters.
The endless chores. Circles of tidying, sweeping, washing, cooking, laundry and dishes. But at the end of the day, quite often the house looks worse than in the morning.
The to-do list (or as I call it, the “I-don’t-want-to-do list”) that is never done. Making appointments with doctors, dentists, teachers, therapists, and specialists. Piles of paperwork to be completed or filed. Groceries to buy, diapers to buy, toilet paper to buy…why are we always out of these things?
Coordinating caregivers, nurses, dayhome, and the hospital’s day care, as well as often grandparents to help.
Because all of this regular mom stuff, that moms around the world and throughout history do, yeah I’m sucking at it. I’m drowning in it. I’m needing a village to help take care of my kids.
And yes I know we aren’t a “typical” family, and that Braxton’s needs are far greater than average, but still, I mean these are my only kids and I feel like I should be able to handle stay at home mom (“SAHM”) duty.
I mean they eat every day, multiple times a day. How do all you moms feed your children so often? Healthy food without preservatives and sugar and GMOs or whatever is scaring us now? No, I’m pretty sure Zander is surviving on rice, French fries, frozen waffles, and oreos.
Then there is all the stuff we are supposed to teach kids. Alphabet, numbers, to pee in a toilet, to not hit, to not yell…and that’s just before they are 3. It’s a tough one because the teacher in me loves to see Zander loves books, loves to be read to, and seems to be a sponge always soaking up all I teach him. But there is so much pressure. A million posts popping up on social media asking am I teaching him right? Does he get enough free play? Have the right toys to encourage him to be a creative thinker? Too much screen time? Will he understand money and time in a digital and electronic world if I don’t start now? Is he developing good posture and coordination? Don’t be a helicopter parent, but don’t let your child be wild and rude. And how on earth do I make sure he isn’t a bully one day, because, man oh man, he can get aggressive with his hugs. Everywhere are Pintrest/Instagram perfect parents with lovely smiling children. And all I want is a shower without someone puking or running out the front door or tantruming in the tub at my feet.
I guess I just thought after 4 years as a SAHM I would have my feet under me. Maybe I could give both kids a bath without burning dinner at the same time. Maybe I wouldn’t scare my kids with fits of yelling when they just won’t get to sleep after hours of putting them to bed. Maybe I would not be offended when people look too long at Braxton in his wheelchair.
What it really comes down to is I’m scared I’m messing this whole parenting thing up, while everyone else is getting it right. And that I’m spending my days begrudgingly playing the part of who I think a super SAHM should be, that I’m not being authentic to me or my kids. This turning bundles of joy into real humans is hard work. Real work that should be authentic and individualized to each family’s needs.
So are all you moms just nodding along with me? Like, do none of us actually have a clue what we are doing? Because each kid is so freaking different, I swear I could read every parenting blog and not find one that would have all the solutions for our family. But I talk to some parents who seem to have found “the answer”, the one way to get kids to sleep, or eat, or potty, or walk, or talk, and if I just do it their way, ta-da, my problems will be solved. And, you know what, I do go home and try their answer, but apparently we have a completely different test sheet because it just doesn’t make sense for us. I do think there is a general parenting paradigm that works better for me, and probably certain ways of parenting that work better for you. But so far I have not found “how to raise your 4 year old who has the motor skills if a 6 month old, while helping a 2 year old be kind and eat protein, without being able to have a daily routine because you will have appointments scheduled at different times of day each week, while being a domestic goddess on the side”. If you see this in bookstores please let me know!
So a huge thank you to my village. My nurses and caregivers and mom and mommy-friends and husband. Those who I can lean on, to take a breath, have a laugh, and get grounded again.