The face of your own sleeping child is a beautiful thing. It’s beautiful for the obvious reason – kids are adorable. But it’s also beautiful because it’s a moment of solitude for a stressed-out parent. You’ve just tried in vain to calm your screaming child for the last hour-and-a-half, and finally … finally the house falls quiet. This is something all parents go through. After all, kids aren’t rational; and as babies they can’t tell you what they want. So they scream.
Frustrated, I’ve taken to Facebook a few times to get advice from other parents. The advice I get is generally very good, there are all sorts of wonderful things to try when it comes to curbing a disgruntled tiny human’s temper. The message I want to get through to you today is that it’s okay to do that.
Many parents I talk to are very careful to appear as if they have zero problems with their baby. Sometimes it feels as if I’m the only parent in the community who gets stressed-out. The truth, and I wish parents would realize this, does not have to be unspoken. When I try to be honest about how I’m feeling, there’s always somebody to give me a judgmental look or say something to chastise me for feeling fed up. But why? Why don’t we have an honest discussion? Why can’t I say “I love my child, but sometimes I have to put him down and walk away?” Why can’t I say “his screaming fits are the most aggravating, loud, obnoxious thing I’ve ever had to deal with?” The keeping up appearances approach to parenting is an issue I’ll discuss further in a later post, but for now I’ll just say that I reject the supposed ‘etiquette’ around the way we talk about our children. For once, it would be nice to have an honest discussion about how difficult and frustrating it can be, without feeling like some people in the room think less of me for saying it.
A parent who says “my child is perfect,” or “I don’t have moments where I just want them to shut up,” is either lying to you or has very unusual offspring; and I want you to know that you shouldn’t feel bad for saying you’re on your last nerve. I love my kids, I’m the most involved Dad I can possibly be, and I cherish each and every moment with them. But I’m allowed to say, when it’s past midnight and my beautiful baby has been screaming directly in my ear for the last hour, despite every effort to soothe him, that being a parent sometimes sucks. It does not mean I regret becoming a parent. It does not mean I see my kids as inconveniences in my life, and it does not make me a bad Dad. What it means is that I’m human, and I have human emotions when raising a tiny version of myself is as hard as every other parent knows it is.
So I’m going to keep saying it, and I’m going to keep asking other parents for advice. I’m not concerned with putting on airs, and not particularly worried about the people who do. We parents should stick together, be honest and keep sharing what works for us. It helps when you know you’re not the only one. 🙂