Monday, January 23, 2012

Carpe Kairos

You may have tried to read this post a couple of days ago and when you clicked over it was gone, you have my baby E to thank. He somehow managed to publish the post in the 45 seconds I walked away from the computer. I'm in trouble with that one, I tell ya. Anywho, here it is now, for reals.

Have you read this article? If you're a parent or hope to be one some day, you should. Actually, even if you're not a parent, or don't plan to be one, yo should still read it. Really - since I hate the word "should" and all - you need to.
So, if you're not going to click on over there and read the original article, here's the short version. The author hates when people (often well-meaning older people whose kiddos are probably old enough to have kids of their own) tell her to "treasure these moments because they're gone way too fast" or that they "loved every single moment of parenting/when their children were young". Because, the author asserts, that's crap. All moments in parenting are not glorious. Some of them suck big ones.

And I'm gonna have to have her back on this one. Take my Friday night for instance. I put baby E down at 7:30. It was 9:30 before he went to sleep. Then he was back up at 11:45. This eventually necessitated me rocking him to sleep. I finally crawled back into bed at 1:15. He slept til 4. Then was back up at 4:45. And 5:30. And then 7:30 for good. Hubby was out of town at a meeting so it was all me. Tell me, who is going to enjoy that crap? I mean, do I love him? Of course. But was that something to be appreciated and treasured? Not. So. Much.

Funny enough, I feel guilty about all the cussing that was going on in my head that night. It's that infertility thing. You know, I asked (more accurately begged) for the gift of parenting, and all that came along with it. I spent nights pleading with god to just give me a baby and I'd love every single moment. The puking, the diapers, the sleepless nights. Through all of it I would be happy and loving and calm and patient and...and...and...

And yet, I don't enjoy all of it. I am grateful for being a parent, but those moments...those moments, well, they kinda, sorta, for real suck. I'm pretty sure God was laughing at me through all those tears. You know, in a loving kind of way. God knew there would be times when I hated parenting. Times when I would be pissed off to be covered in baby vomit. And not want to read "Goodnight Moon" for the 13th time that day. And hide the play dough because I don't want to have to clean it up again. When I would think, to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson, "Go the F to sleep!". Or "You are not that cute" in the midst of changing today's 3rd disgustingly explosive diaper. Or come in to find the playroom rug and walls covered in bright red and purple finger paint.

And that, my friends, is okay. Because nothing in life is all good or all bad. I mean, I adore chocolate, but too much of that and I have heartburn for days. And if one of my kids gets it on their clothes, it's a pain to get that stain out. Parenting is like that. Wonderfully delicious at times. A miserable pain at others. I know these well-meaning people had those painfully crappy moments, too, so why don't they remember them? Didn't they, too, get inundated with people telling them to treasure every little moment and feel like a failure at times for not loving every minute? Do they feel the need to - for some reason - pass along the errant belief to unsuspecting parents that everyone else loves every minute of parenting?

But all those things do is make the rest of us also feel crappy about the moments - the very normal and universal moments - when crappy things are happening. I think that when we ignore or try to hide the bad parts of parenting, all we do is set each other up for more feelings of guilt and inadequacy. It makes us all feel more alone, more isolated, more ashamed.

I would suggest that what we should instead do, is walk up to the mom whose 2 year old is throwing a very public tantrum and remind her that it won't last forever, and that we've been there, too, or at a minimum smile at her. Or remind the mother of the middle schooler that we, too, every day have moments of wanting to both hug and kill our children. Or tell that new mom that we, too, had that moment (perhaps nightly) where we truly "got it" as to why people shake their babies.

And I know that that some of you are still waiting for your child, you're still at that place where I was, bargining with God to be happy with every single moment, poopy diapers, screaming fits and all, if only you could have your baby. And I'm not negating that place where you are. I've been there, too, so many times.

But this article (which I don't think was written by someone facing infertility) still stands true in my book. Even when all you want in the world is to be a parent, it won't be perfect. You will hate moments. You will think "what the eff was I thinking?". There will still be moments when you're pissed off at your kid, exhausted beyond what you thought possible, painfully embarassed at your 4 year old's tantrum at Target, and wanting nothing more than a day to yourself.

And that is okay.

Today's lesson: Carpe Kairos, y'all. Living in God's time allows us to treasure the small moments, without feeling the pressure to treasure all the moments. You don't have to love the screaming and poopy diapers as long as you can find the moments that really make you happy. Like those giggles, and kisses, and "you're the best momma in the world"  moments. Those are the important ones.


Peg said...

Love the lesson!

Emms said...

Well said and I agree fully. There have been many times over the last 18 months that I was unsure if the tears were from the guilt of feeling the way I did or the sometimes overwhelming difficulties of being a parent. That does not change just because I struggled with infertility. That does not mean I'm not allowed to feel overwhelmed, wish for bug to grow up to get beyond something, etc. Parenting is NOT all rainbows and butterflies, no matter what we want to tell ourselves!

Leatisha Pogioli said...

OMG so true on the getting why babies get shaken thing, with a food sensitive (breastfed) colicky baby there are many times when I'm like LISTEN KID!!! But then she smiles... and well what can ya do? Lol but seriously before I tried gripe water... I was seriously considering calling in reinforcements I was well past my limit