This is a question that many parents ask themselves. I know that I ask myself almost daily.
The fist thing most parents think as soon as that baby is placed into their arms is, “Oh aren’t you amazing!” What they say? “Hello.” This little miracle in their arms is the most amazing thing that they have seen. I know that, for me, as soon as that infant was placed into my arms all the pain and exhaustion of labor is instantly forgotten.
Rocking and snuggling with this new person becomes your whole world. You picture playing with a happy child, reading stories, discovering the world around them. You watch them sleep. You watch that sweet little face making so many expressions: smiles, frowns, wrinkled brows, raised eyebrows, etc. I have always wondered what they dream of.
This comes very quickly. Usually as soon as you get home from the hospital. The indecipherable crying. Changing diapers every 20 minutes. There are the sore breasts of nursing mothers. Spilling formula all over the kitchen counter and floor when trying to make a bottle and comfort a crying baby. Multiple late night feedings. The extreme lack of sleep. Postpartum hormonal swings.
Then it happens, you feel angry and frustrated at this new little being. You know that it is not their fault, but you yell or have an overwhelming desire to smack them. Then the guilt hits because you are not able to be the perfect parent. They have been home only a few days and you have already lost it. You wonder if you have scared them for life.
Parents Are People Too
It seems that no matter how much you read about parenting and child development you are never quite prepared for the reality of children. Even if you have a lot of experience with child care it is amazing the difference it makes when you cannot send them home at the end of they day.
Accept the fact that you will never be the perfect parent. You are going to lose your temper. You are going to be the meanest parent in the world at one point or another. You are going to make your children cry. There will be days when you would like to sell them to the circus.
Doing Your Best
The reason I am writing about this today is that I was up until 2 a.m. with my daughter as she vomited every 20-30 minutes for 7 hours. I’m not one of those parents who handles this well. As I stand beside my daughter holding her hair my stomach threatens to empty its contents. After the first 2 hours this, I started feeling frustrated. After 4 hours I was tired and feeling cross. All I could think about while I emptied the bucket, again, is why can’t she just stop and go to sleep. I’m tired and there is nothing left in her little stomach. Am I a horrible mother because I feel frustrated and a little angry at this sick child? No.
My sweet daughter is currently dozing in the Lazy Boy across the room. She is snuggled into her My Little Pony fleece blanket feeling absolutely miserable. If she does anything more than sip water she begins to vomit again. We are both tired and in desperate need of a nap. I have a lot of things to do today, but I will probably not get most of them done. That is okay though. I will spend most of today snuggling with my sweet girl while we both doze. That is what Moms do after all.