My Mother-In-Law Joan has the perfect quote about parenthood her own Mom used to say: "It doesn't get easier, it just changes."
She first said this to me during their visit when our new baby was 3 weeks old. I was fighting a 102 fever from mastitis, was still in agony from that birth, and had severe pain when Zoe latched on. (I still shiver to think about it!). I didn't get it then, because it has to get easier, right?
She said it again, when Zoe was 4 months old, crabby and drooling, because she started teething on our first beach vacation in North Carolina with the in-laws. I began to understand.
I have now seen my kids through potty training, fearful first days of school, having someone bully them, and vomiting on a loooong car trip. You know what, it doesn't get easier. And it's STILL changing.
Parenting is HARD! Having a baby is perhaps the most difficult thing Scott & I ever did (for sure the physical pain- damn! I remember telling Scott, "Every sex organ I have HURTS"! Maybe after a few beers I'd tell of that hideous ordeal, but not in this venue). Anyhoo, your freedom is gone, your life revolves around this little one, and your marital relationship is in upheaval (and this is with a healthy kid). Nothing was easy.
And then... there was Sam. Such an good baby. Then he turned 18 months old, and I thought I was gonna strangle that kid. He was into EVERYTHING, so unlike my peaceful daughter. Plus, he would never listen. "NO"! meant nothing to him, yet meant everything to Zoe. I thought, OK, it must get easier at 2. Nope. At 2, he climbed anything he could and things he shouldn't. He ran wherever his feet could take him, including a street (yes, that was when I would YELL). I thought, "It will certainly get easier by 2 1/2".
I began calling Zoe 'Sunshine', and Sam 'Moonshine', because I needed Moonshine after spending an entire day with him.
On rare nights out, all I wanted was to be STILL. No one crawling on me. No one demanding of me. Not having to constantly monitor someone. The ability to actually say an entire thought to another human being without being interrupted was so rare. It was SO hard.
I actually met and bonded with my good friend Keri at the library. I heard her yelling her son's name, "Dylan!". Wait- there was actually someone else running and yelling after a fleeing child? I wasn't alone! I had that entire place looking for Sam among the stacks more than once! Little shit (and I mean that in the nicest way).
Last week, I had you saying, "I am NOT a bad Mom!" Our mantra this week: "It may not get easier, but it will be different".
If you have a newborn, you will sleep again. It may seem like forever away, but you will.
If you're chasing a toddler, you will be able to sit and have a lovely conversation with an adult again.
If you cannot get your child to do their homework, you will figure out a way with some help from teachers and friends.
If your son made the high school football team, then got a concussion, he will be ok (but that is pretty scary, Ryan!).
If your daughter is about to deliver her first baby, they will be fine, and so will you.
As Rosanne Rosana-Danna on SNL was fond of saying, "It's always something. If it's not one thing, it's another". And once you finally get used to that thing, it'll change on you. Ay, Mama!