Frequently, I look around at the chaos all around me and think to myself, "Why didn't anyone tell me this parenting thing would be so hard?" Parenting is difficult. I mean really, REALLY difficult. I had no idea how many different FEELINGS I would be forced to feel and deal with in a single day. I mean seriously, daily struggles with highs, lows, and in-betweens that I never knew existed. Even a single minute could be filled with love and hate almost simultaneously. WHY DON'T THEY TELL YOU THIS WHEN YOU SIGN UP FOR THE JOB?!?!?! Ok, some try, but no one succeeds in expressing just how INSANE the whole thing is. I guess that's just how it is when you are responsible for another human being. Am I doing the best thing? Am I doing the worst thing? Is this helping? Hurting? What could I do differently? What should I keep the same next time? Is this even making a difference? Should I bother? But what if I don't? Will that be helpful, or harmful...
Happiness - Kids playing.
Joy - Kids laughing.
Anger - Kid 1 hit Kid 2.
Fear - Kid 2 is hurt.
Irritation - Kid 2's screaming is getting on your nerves.
Frustration - neither Kid 1 nor Kid 2 will respond to you.
Relief - Kid 2 is no longer hurt.
Content - Kids are playing again.
Excitement - Kids are playing with you and having fun.
Pride - Kid 1 is helping Kid 2 with no interference from you.
Sadness - Kid 3 just woke up and will not be consoled.
Ok. 5 minutes down.1435 to go...
To parents-to-be, someday-parents, and brand new parents, hear this now. This is the most exhausting, energizing, challenging, rewarding, exhilarating, frightening, enlightening, horrible, wonderful, stupid, intelligent, back-breaking, heart-wrenching, mind-boggling, hand-wringing, life-altering, death-defying, soul-searching, physical, intellectual, spiritual adventure you could ever - make that, never - imagine. Do it. You will not be sorry...except on days that you are. And even then, you'll get over it.
To all current parents: Keep fighting the good fight, brothers and sisters. One day, your kids will become parents. They will ask you what it is like to be a parent. Don't tell them. They won't believe you anyway.