It gets better. I think I can tell you that. I mean I CAN tell you that but I think I can tell you that and mean it at some level, at least where parenting is concerned.
I tell everyone that I’m writing a book on parenting and it’s called “Everything Works for Five Minutes.” Catchy, huh? Sadly, the book is going to take at least another 10-20 years to finish I reckon. It’s going to take that long because I want to make sure the little prophets I’m raising will all turn out alright before I suggest you take my advice on anything as important as child rearing.
I know I am a good parent. I’ll say that upfront. I’ll say that so that you can be off the hook for offering affirmation to me. I am a good parent.
I’m not the parent I’d like to be. I suppose none of us are the parent we want to be and if you ARE that parent and you still have small children: I love you, well done, keep it to yourself. Frankly you intimidate the hell out of me. That’s my work, I know. I’m working on it. In my estimation there is only one perfect parent and even He has two other “people” in that job with Him, which I find completely unfair. Parenting is at least a three person job but that’s a rant for another day. I digress.
I’m just coming to the realization these days that I will probably not develop into the parent I want to be, the parent I hope to be until my children are out of the house, maybe until I become a grandparent, God willing. Maybe that’s alright, maybe that’s normal. This missive today is not for me, really though. It’s for you, because I’m thinking about you today as I struggle through.
If you’re in the stage of life, where you have small people running around, grabbing your legs as you try to vacuum, leaving your tools out in the sandbox, tipping over potted plants indoors, spilling milk EVERY meal, screaming at the top of his or her lungs when a potty break is needed, yelling your job title every bleeding moment…I can tell you that it does get better.
I won’t be one of those “just wait, it gets worse” friends. You know, the “just wait til they’re TEENS! It’s awful” friend. I am the “just wait, it gets better” friend. I promise you that. I may complain off and on here about the difficulty of parenting and my perception of my utter failing but in the end I want you to know that it does indeed get better and that you’re not alone.
It’s true that you’ll not miss the dirty diaper duty but it’s also true that you’ll miss the days when they are infants cuddling in your arms. It’s true that you’ll not miss the “up all night teething” but it’s also true that you’ll miss the sight of that first tooth poking through. It’s true that you’ll not miss the bickering between siblings but it’s also true that you’ll miss the moments just before and just after the bickering. Everything that might weigh you down about parenting small children is transient, friend. Everything. The only thing that remains when all is said and done is that fact that you were there. How you choose to walk it matters, yes but the fact that you choose to walk it is also important.
“Hang in there” is horribly trite…but it’s never been more true than in THIS moment of chaos and doubt and fear that parenting brings. It gets better. Keep walking, you’re not alone.