Sometimes when I look back on my blog I can't help but notice how gosh darn cheery it is. Parenting is not all butterflies and cupcakes, and there are certainly some tough aspects. Let me elaborate. Here are some things about parenthood that can drive me a bit insane at times:
1) Lack of sleep
From DAY ONE, you're tired, and I swear you just never catch back up. I remember being EXHAUSTED after giving birth. It's called LABOR for a reason. However, at the hospital there is constantly someone in and out of the room at all times. Then, you go home, and CONTINUE to have a wacky sleep schedule because you're living with a newborn. I'll be honest, there are some mornings where I hear that first cry and I just think "PLEASE NOOOO. GO BACK TO SLEEEEP!" I've never been a morning person, anyway. Oh, but funny story. The other day I had to be at work at 8 am, and I come home to find out that Audrey decided to sleep until 11am for dad!! ELEVEN?! She usually wakes up between 6:30 am and 8:30 am, usually closer to 8:30. I swear, I don't know what he does to her. And then of course, he went to work and she took no nap that day! That darn Audrey.
2) The time added to everything I do
With a child, a simple trip to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk becomes quite an adventure. Even just getting out of the house takes so much longer than it once did. Oh, and don't forget those perfectly timed poops that I seem to sniff JUST as we're getting out the door. LOVELY. I feel like I'm constantly late. I swear there's a mental checklist that forms in your brain of all the things you need to do and need to bring to get yourself out of the house and accomplish anything.
As a young parent, I often get the "WOW, you look too young to have a child!" or "Oh, really, she's your's?!" or even the "So are you the babysitter or the mother?" Listen up; I'm old enough to menstruate, therefore, old enough to create a baby. Keep the comments to yourself and mind your own business. And don't give me that once over. Sometimes, I feel like I'm not allowed to express discontent because I did chose to be in the situation I'm in. Yeah, I made that decision, and I'm so happy I did, but that doesn't mean that, like any parent, I don't have stressful days.
4) Stretch marks
Yes, I said it. I've got stretch marks! I'M TWENTY! That weight gain during my pregnancy has left me less than pleased with my skin. It's not even my stomach, which was the area that primarily grew! Nope, it's all over my thighs and bottom, and it makes me much less enthusiastic about swimsuit season.
5) Unwanted advice
It's AMAZING how many people don't even hesitate to tell you what the best thing for your child is. I guess some of it may be because I'm young, but that really has nothing to do with the type of parent I will be. My mom always encouraged that any concerns I have brought up are the same concerns she had as a new parent, and she was close to 10 years older than me when she first gave birth! I'm not an idiot; I have raised Audrey thus far, and I'd say she's doing pretty well. So no, she doesn't need one more layer of clothing. And if her sleeping in my bed is going to get us all a good night sleep, guess what? THAT'S WHERE SHE'LL SLEEP (though she hasn't in a while, and if she ever does, she's VIOLENT in her sleep...she gets it from her mama) It's so frustrating. I've found that at the end of the day, when I trust my parental instincts, both Audrey and I are happy. And I'm tired of being told "Just WAIT till she can (fill in the blank with an important childhood milestone)! Then you're in for it." WHAT does that even mean?! Well, considering I'd like my daughter to be a competent, functioning member of society, yes, YES, I'm certainly "in for it."
6) Competitive parents
Don't even get me started on the competition. WE'RE RAISING CHILDREN NOT BATTLING IT OUT ON A GAME SHOW FOR A TOP PRIZE, PEOPLE. I don't care if your child and my child aren't meeting the same milestone at the same time. I don't care if you're child is a genius, or if he or she is a little slow. It's not about that. Children develop at their own pace, and guess what? Usually, most of them turn out just fine. I don't want my child's entire life to be a competition. I don't want her to grow up and think that she has to constantly be better at everything than everyone else. So BUZZ OFF, and go play a game or an organized sport or something to burn off that competitiveness of yours.
UGH. Menial tasks like putting away laundry or unloading the dishwasher are the most annoying tasks in the world. Especially when I've just put Audrey down for the night and all I want to do is sit down. Sometimes, I look around and just get down on myself because there's clutter everywhere. But you know what, if it comes down to it that I either have time to play with my daughter or clean, I'm going with the first choice.
8) Inconsistent Naps.
Some of these baby books act like if you do "the right thing" your child will take 3 hour naps every day without fail. Well, hey, guess what?! That's a lie. Oh, and how about that books that claim no crying is involved EVER? Not here. I hope that doesn't include the mom, too, because if so, we are wayyyy off track! There are times I get frustrated, and I need to leave that room and take a breather. But I've come to realize that though routine is important, we all have days (or nights) where we just can sleep right. By putting less emphasis on naptime as a time to squeeze in all types of school work and chores, I've gotten less frustrated if she only naps for a half hour. Does it make me less tired? No. Can we get through the day and go to bed a little earlier? Yes.
9) Lack of freedom
No, I don't mean this in the way that many young parents controlling our prime time TV shows may mean it. I'm not interested in going out and partying all the time. I don't want to, and I don't have the energy to. I honestly feel like if you're going out constantly, you're probably not putting in 100% into your parenting. BUT, that doesn't mean there aren't nights where it's like, you know what, I wish I could go out to dinner and see a movie tonight. I'm lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life who love Audrey and would love to babysit. I AM able to occasionally do things (though I usually use babysitter time for school or work haha), but I can no longer make decisions at the last minute. If I want to do something, it needs to be planned in advance.
10) Getting bathed.
Ok, so this may sound kind of weird, but bathing is so overrated. Since becoming a mother, my showers have become a challenge of See-How-Quickly-You-Can-Semi-Clean-Everything-Before-The-Baby-Gets-Bored. I've already submitted to bribery! I can't believe it. I usually give her a granola bar to munch on so that I can bathe in something close to peace. However, my showering is usually filled with trying to keep Audrey's head/arms out of the stream of water, peeking out when it gets too quiet to make sure that Audrey isn't digging in the trashcan or peeking in the toilet, deflecting objects thrown into the bathtub, talking and/or singing songs such as "The Wheels on the Bus," and opening my eyes after washing my hair only to find the shower curtain pulled open and a fifteen-month-old staring at me and giving ME the once-over. It's just such an ordeal! Plus, I just can't find a good time to do it. Sometimes I'll get a shower at night, but some nights, I don't feel like it, and I just want to go to bed. However, if I have somewhere to be early, I don't want to get it in the morning. I usually judge it by my hair. If my hair looks greasy, I've got to get a shower. If not, I'm good to go. Lovely, huh?
But you know what, after all of this, I see why my posts aren't usually negative. Even through doing this post, I laugh. I laugh at the little things that I get stressed out about. I laugh about the situations Audrey and I have been through. I laugh at the silly faces she makes when she's upset. No, it's not funny at the time, but at the end of the day, when it really comes to what I'll post on my blog, I just laugh. Ultimately, all of these annoyances are trumped by the fact that I have a beautiful daughter who can now point at me and say MAMA! and give me the most adorable kiss and the biggest hug that her little arms could possibly give. And all of that is worth more than any frustration parenting could throw my way.