I read an article recently where the author was asking mommy bloggers to stop scaring people who don’t have kids. Her article went on to say that parents who share their experiences—all of them—should keep some, if not all, of the negative to themselves. After all, the author wants kids one day, but reading some parenting blogs is starting to make her feel like being a mom or dad is the most horrible, terrifying thing in the world.
I felt like emailing her and telling her that some days, it is. Being a parent isn’t always peachy. I’ve heard it said that, “Parenting is no fun and all joy.” It really bugs me when people put up the front that their lives could be clipped from a Norman Rockwell painting, when in reality the baby screamed for six hours straight on Saturday, the oldest kid told you he wants to run away and live with pirates, and your middle child figured out how to untape her diaper after she loaded it.
Painting those idyllic scenes doesn’t do anyone any favors. Never letting onlookers see the reality of life with children sets a lot of people up for disappointment. There’s no need to go around bemoaning your life, but a healthy dose of reality can be helpful.
The people who do end up being hurt by only being exposed to the idyllic are the parents who are in the thick of it at that moment, especially new parents. They look around and all their friends are making it look easy, while they’re struggling to take a shower. Add to that Pinterest party themes and creative toddler play, Martha Stewart-style magazines, and celebrities who pop out a baby and say, “It was so easy for me to lose the pregnancy weight. I don’t even have to exercise, I just chase after [insert strange celebrity baby name here].”
We all need to stop this madness. Let’s celebrate the fact that everyone is wearing a shirt and pants today. Let’s rejoice in a meal time that doesn’t involve washing the floor. Let’s revel in the hugs and forget about the rest. It won’t matter. Your kids will love you no matter what. And that’s the part with all the joy.
— Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples