Nothing has brought as much joy and happiness to my life as having children. Sometimes it feels as though my life didn’t really begin until these little people entered my life and it can be hard to look back and remember exactly what it was like before I had them.
I spend time each and every day - sometimes a little, sometimes a lot - thinking about how fortunate I am to have them and how much better my life is with them in it. Yet even with my heart bursting with love there are times when they are just downright annoying.
The whining, constant sibling squabbles, the 6:00 am Saturday morning wake up calls, the noise all the time; it’s enough to make me want to drink. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling so irritated. Does it mean that I’m a bad mother if sometimes they bother me? I can love every inch of their beautiful little beings and still get irritated, can’t I?
Parenting really is the most amazing experience but at times it can also be annoying, routine, boring, and unbelievably frustrating. Ask parents what are their least favourite parenting tasks and you will get a list so diverse that you will not feel alone in your frustrations. We all have moments where the bothersome parenting moments overcome us. What makes the list you ask?
1: Hair Brushing: You would think I was torturing her slowly. Every run of the brush is followed by screams and tears. I then chase her around with the hair brush trying work out the knots as she begs me to stop. There is begging and pleading and then finally she agrees to have her hair brushed but ONLY if Daddy does it. Apparently Daddy knows how to brush hair without hurting…who knew?
2: Brushing Teeth: Unlike brushing hair, brushing teeth does not involve tears and begging. It does, however, involve a very real power struggle. Jaws stay shut while I try to pry the toothbrush in between clenched teeth. We will stare each other down until someone gives, which is usually me, when I throw my hands in the air and give up. Then and only then will they call me back and agree to allow me to brush.
3: Public Bathroom visits: Without fail, every time we leave the house my children need to use the bathroom about 15 times. I don’t know what it is about public bathrooms that they are drawn to, maybe it’s just to mess with me because they know that I’m a germaphobe. I think they sit back and laugh at me while I literally shake in fear thinking of all the germs growing on each and every surface. They smile in satisfaction while I shudder at the pee on the toilet seat that I have no choice but to clean off before I let my daughter sit. It is the most dreaded moment of any trip out of the house for me.
4: Refereeing Sibling Squabbles: For Julie Cole, this is one of her most frustrating tasks and I have to agree. Listening to my kids fight is like nails on a chalkboard. I feel my blood pressure rising as I struggle with myself internally whether I should let them figure it out themselves or step in and break it up.
5: Picking things up: Socks off the floor, toys scattered everywhere, dishes, you name it - we’ve picked it up. When polling YMC bloggers, almost each one mentioned picking something up as one of their most frustrating parenting jobs. It would be easy to pick up their snack bowl and carry it to the sink, much easier than searching the room for a shelf and then moving books around so the bowl will fit. Yet they still choose that option over walking the 20 or so steps it would take to get to the sink and just drop their bowl in it. For Deb Lowther, it’s flushing the toilet: “Three kids all over the age of nine and I am still flushing so many toilets every. single. day,” she says.
6: Bedtime: I used to love bedtime. It was one of my favourite things to do, in fact both Mr. C. and I would argue over whose turn it was to put the baby to bed. That was as a baby when you could to feed them and cuddle them and watch them fall sleep sweetly. Now bedtime is an exercise in negotiation. 5 more minutes, one more story, stay with me for 5 minutes…ok 4 minutes…ok 3 minutes…In the half an hour leading up to bedtime I feel tense and stressed and I absolutely hate when it ends in an argument. According to YMC blogger, Katja Wulfers, it doesn’t end as they get older, it just becomes more difficult to get them to understand the consequences of staying up late.
7: Getting out the door: “I could mediate and diffuse a tense international conflict in the time it takes my kid to put on snowboots.” Says Nadine Thornhill. Winter is the worst time to get your kids out the door on time. I have to tell my kids to put their coat on at least three times before they even begin to make their way to the closet. Sometimes I think the only solution is to put them to bed in their snowsuits, then maybe we will make it out the door on time.
8: Homework: There is a reason nine out of 10 mums, including many of the YMC bloggers, loathe homework; it is terrible. From getting them to actually sit down, focus and complete their homework, to helping them with their assignment, it is a stress not only for the assignee but also us helpers. I’m still very new to the homework struggle but if I already break out into a sweat each time I see that homework pouch come out of the backpack then I can only imagine was it’s going to get like as they get older!
Don’t get me wrong, the pros definitely outweigh the cons in this whole motherhood game but that doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t just want to toss in the towel or wave the white flag. They can outwit me, they have more willpower than I do, and they sure as hell are quite skilled in the art of arguing. I love the fun we have together, the way they make me laugh and nothing beats watching them grow into their own amazing people but man there are some parts of parenting that make me want to lock myself in my room with a little drink…hang on; someone’s knocking.