Things That Are Hard to Do If You Have Children & What I'd Do If I Didn't
Not one but two articles showed up in my Facebook feed tonight that didn't sit well with me. First was PopSugar Moms "16 Things That Are Very, Very Hard to Do If You Have Young Children", and the second was Babble's "33 Things I'd Be Doing Right Now If I Didn't Have Kids". I am a firm believer that being happy and satisfied with parenting, just like with anything else in life whether it be a relationship or a job or where you live, has a lot to do with perspective. If your perspective is lacking in gratitude, you are bound to be unhappy.
Now I get it, I really do. Parenting is HARD. I would be lying if I said I've never wanted to throw my children out the window. Seriously, I've literally had the urge to throw not one but both of my children out the window, then shut it, lock myself in the bathroom, and cry all day. How long can a fussy baby scream? You'd be surprised! You may think "how hard can it be?" or "I'll just get a nanny" or "My family will be here to help", but here's the thing, that adorable little bundle of joy wants you and only you (especially you, mommy), and until he or she is old enough to develop a bit of patience and sympathy (about 5 yrs. old) they're just plain old needy and selfish 24 hours a day, but thank God, so adorable that you can't stay frustrated for too long.
And no, I'm not the kind of mom with older kids who has it easy, so to speak. In fact as I sat down to write this, I had to get my older daughter to take her medicine in attempts to quiet the endless coughing and had to tuck the little one in for the third time and make her promise to be brave and go to sleep even though she was scared of having yet another nightmare. Regardless of their age, it's always a tough gig. Granted the older they are, the more you can do things like sleep in or go out with friends, still nothing beats Friday movie night with my munchkins or Saturday morning snuggles no matter how early it may be. To any mom of little ones, I would say hang in there! Yes it does get easier in a lot of ways, but enjoy the good moments now. If you can't learn to focus on the positives now, you will be just as miserable when they're older, because with each new stage comes different yet equally frustrating challenges. Yes, they will reach the age during which they can clean up their own things...after you've reminded them a million times!! I do believe in the importance of venting with other moms and being honest about those struggles, and I do appreciate that the articles I referenced took on a lighter tone, but I'd much rather focus on something different. We all know that it's hard to sleep when you want, have sex whenever you want, go out whenever you want, etc. when you have younger children. But can I offer a different perspective?
My daughters are 10 and 7 (pictured above), and there are so many things that were indeed harder when they were younger, and yes there are plenty of things I would be doing right now if I didn't have them. These are my lists.
10 Things That Are Very, Very Hard to Do If You Have Young Children
1. It's very, very hard to get up when they fall asleep on your lap. You want to get some work done while they're napping, but you can't stop marveling over how this tiny little person was made partly from you and partly from someone else and grew into their own little miracle in just nine months.
2. It's very, very hard to put them down when they're crying, not just because your back is aching or you desperately need sleep, but because this little miracle loves and needs you more than anyone else on the planet. That's a pretty amazing feeling.
3. It's very, very hard to watch them run around, because you're terrified they'll fall and get hurt.
4. It's very, very hard to work from home or get any housework done. But once they're in school, you miss the days of cartoons and snack time.
5. It's very, very hard to sleep, because you'd rather let them snuggle in your bed one more time even though you know they're going to kick you in your sleep and steal your blanket.
6. It's very, very hard to feel bad about yourself. Anytime you cook or give them a gift or take them somewhere fun or kiss their boo boo's, your hailed as "the best mom EVER!!!"
7. It's very, very hard to be alone. This is also on the other article as if it's a bad thing. But now that my oldest daughter is my best friend and gives me a hug whenever she knows I'm sad, I thank God for that lack of alone time.
8. It very, very hard to not forgive your own parents, because you finally understand that all that time they really were doing their best and really were doing what they thought was best for you.
9. It's very, very hard to not enjoy life, because kids have a way of enjoying every moment to the fullest. Every ice cream cone is the best ice cream cone ever, every movie is the best movie ever, and so on.
10. It's very, very hard to be uptight, because children will take any mundane activity and fill it with joy and laughter.
10 Things I'd Be Doing Right Now If I Didn't Have Kids
1. I'd be at a thankless job, because before I had someone else to take care of, I didn't have near as much drive or ambition.
2. I'd be in terrible shape, because I wouldn't care as much about being healthy for the people I love.
3. I'd wonder what I was doing every weekend. Now I know - movie night with my girls!
4. I'd still be doing all of the chores myself.
5. I'd still be eating pizza rolls for dinner instead of actually caring about what I put into my body.
6. I wouldn't have someone to cook with, watch TV with, laugh with, or dance with.
7. I wouldn't know what the future holds. I still don't know exactly what the future holds, but I know that my life will always be full of family and love.
8. I wouldn't love myself the way I do after seeing myself through my children's eyes.
9. Worst of all, if I didn't have kids, I wouldn't be the mother, the friend, or the person that I am today. A part of me would still feel a bit lost. They make me feel grounded, and they give my life a never-ending purpose.
10. If I didn't have kids, I wouldn't understand how deeply painful it must've been for my friends to have had miscarriages or lost children.
Moms (and Dads), hang in there and remember there is always something to be grateful for.