After seeing a blog post titled “My Kid is a Shitty Sleeper” one of my friends who has not yet experienced the joys of parenthood expressed a growing fear regarding the path. The blog posts that I share most often do tend to make motherhood seem daunting. It places the majority of the blame on the children and their behavior and little of the responsibility on the parents. It’s tickles a funny bone that only someone with children has and it can seem slightly heartless to those who don’t have children.
I want to break this down for just a minute though. To have a child is to have an enormous amount of responsibility placed on your shoulders. It is a parent’s responsibility to raise a human being that is a productive, hopefully kind member of society with the potential for success that no one has achieved prior. That is no joke. Commercials and sitcoms have led us all to believe that children are blessings, that never tantrum, are hardly heard from unless they have a witty one liner. Yes, children are blessings. Yes they have the potential for a perfectly timed witty one liner. Tantrums though? That happens in real life. Unsolicited advice, judgemental looks, and a combination of guilt and embarrassment so thick you could spread it with a knife. That’s not what the commercials show. That’s not how the kids behave on TV. Sure, this could be all part of the rose colored glasses that not everyone wears but let’s complicate things further, shall we?
In addition to a child being a child (precocious, curious, boundary pushing creatures), let’s add a developmental delay to the mix. My child was delayed in walking and now, is delayed in her speech. Most kids her age are speaking in full sentences but mine? No, she can say about 45 words now (adding more everyday, thanks for her speech therapist and wonderful teachers at school) which adds to the pressure. It adds to the worry that perhaps that goal that you have been tasked with upon receiving said baby in the hospital, may not be a productive, kind and successful member of society. Please don’t mistake that sentence as someone waving the white flag and giving up. That’s absolutely not that case, just wanted to give an example.
Now parents reading this will understand everything that I’ve said and perhaps, may even be nodding their heads in agreement. Everyone else? Probably still fuzzy. So let’s put it this way. Having a child is like cramming for finals on 3 hours of sleep every single day. It’s the ultimate pass/fail test but rather than get your grades back in a week, you won’t actually receive them for 18 years. Scary right?
My daughter is one of the smartest, happiest, well adjusted (sort of) toddlers on the planet. I love watching her grow. She sings my favorite song (the mama dada song) and has the sweetest smile and goofiest sense of humor. I don’t regret her in the least. I just mourn the things that I lost when she came into my life: like sleep, chewing my food and not knowing the words to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. My hope is that in reading this, some of my friends who aren’t parents (yet or by choice) will understand that these blogs that I post on Facebook are my way of coping, of keeping my sense of humor and retaining some sense of myself before becoming Izzi’s mom. Please don’t fear adding the role of mother or father to your resume simply because some harsh words are written regarding the subject. Chance are, you’ll be great at it.