Parenthood Vs. Pinterest
Nothing brings out the Pinterest worthy moments like the holidays, but the truth is that motherhood is so far from glamorous it’s not even funny. Social media gives our inner voyeurs full access to all manner of brag worthy parenting moments. I’m not going to pretend I don’t do it too, but make no mistake those moments of bliss and glitter are few and far between, especially if you’re finding yourself perpetually on the night shift.
Raise Your Hand If You’re Not Sleeping Either
I don’t know if you have an infant or a toddler or school age kid that has nightmares or maybe even a teenager with a curfew or perhaps your kid is sick, but we all know what it’s like to work the night shift. Somehow the photos of moms holding their kids hair back while they throw up at 1 am or climbing into beds WAY too little for them just to calm their child’s fears NEVER seem to make it to the brag reel, but I’m here to say that it’s a DAMN shame. The night shift, when our brains hurt and our need for sleep almost outweighs our ability to climb out of bed when you hear MOOOOOOM, that’s when we truly shine. Not because it’s beautiful or enviable, but because we literally have nothing left to run on, but love and mother’s instinct.
As I write this I’m binge drinking coffee after my five-year-old woke me up, afraid of creepy shadows despite the hall light that floods his face like an interrogation room inquisition. Then just as he’s falling back asleep I hear the baby who refused to sleep anywhere but on my chest most of the night wake up to be fed and I think, “Oh COME ON!” So when Ugly O’clock dawned and Sydney decided that she was up for good, there was some muttered curse words followed by, “Well, I guess we’re up for the day now.”
In The Trenches
I was reading a blog yesterday in which the writer asked her readers if she was transparent enough or did she think her readers thought her life looked too perfect and I laughed out loud. There is ZERO chance that I give off that impression. I’m sitting in my sweats clutching my coffee like it has some magical powers to pull me out of this sleep deprivation haze that feels like a water boarding hangover. I leave the sweet moments to other well-meaning bloggers; I’m talking to my fellow mommies in the trenches. Parenting is not a Hallmark commercial and even I feel bad sometimes like I’m not baking enough cookies or doing enough arts and crafts with my kids. Yesterday, I watched my daughter help my son Jay do extra homework and I held my breath like I was witnessing animals in the wild and just the sound of my breath would spook them and they’d go back to fighting.
No Pain, No Gain
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Sure there are snuggly, dreamy, heart filling prideful moments. Sure that’s what it’s like, but just cover that in drool from a teething baby and add in a few hallucinations that you’re standing in a ring saying, “Let’s Get Ready To RUUUUMMMMBLE,” every time one child comes to tell you the other hurt him/her. So unfortunately I don’t have anything to offer my readers, except my ability to tell it like it is and maybe a little humor and solidarity. Nobody ever tells you that having kids is like going through navy seal training, but I’ll say it. But hey, “no pain, no gain” and “no risk, no reward.”
A Gift I’d Really LOVE
Some day when I wake up MANY years from now, to an empty and hopefully clean house I know that I’ll be a little sad. Well-rested hopefully, but probably a bit emptier. The kids will be grown up and won’t need me and the only thing waking me up will probably be an overactive bladder. I’ll think back on the adventure/job I signed up for when I had kids. Hopefully my kids won’t be in jail or on a stripper pole, and will only need a little bit of therapy. In all seriousness though, I hope my kids remember that “grumpy mommy” did the best she could, running on little sleep. I hope they know that even though it was extremely hard sometimes, I would choose them over and over again. The REALLY REAL TRUTH is that you never know just how strong you are until you have kids, and you don’t really understand just how unconditional love can be.
So I wish you all the best present a parent on the night shift can get this holiday season – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep or perhaps some truly magical coffee.