Those days when you just can’t fucking get it up for anyone, not even your kids. And your parenting quickly descends to phoning it in.
You’ve been there. Oh, you haven’t? OK, well fine. Fuck you. Clearly I am the only parent in the entire world who has ever phoned it in.
Because parenting takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of
Sometimes parenting can be the most rewarding thing in the world. Truly, truly, truly rewarding. Seeing your kids accomplish the things they have set out to accomplish, and do things that make you proud, things that they feel proud of themselves, those are very rewarding moments.
However, there is a flip side. Your time is never your own. Your kids will drive you bug-fuck bananas. Your kids will trail mess behind them wherever they go, until they are 26 years old. Or married. To someone with OCD. (God bless you OCD-ers. You are always welcome at our house. I’ll even cook you dinner.) Your kids will lose their shit constantly. The shit they begged and pleaded with you to buy, even though you couldn’t really afford it, or knew you should make them work for it…but you bought it anyway. Your kids will lose your shit, shit you didn’t ever tell them they could borrow in the first place. Your kids will break things. Their rooms will smell…questionable. From diapers to college. This will not improve. And if you have a boy, it will be three times worse. Your car will never, ever be clean again, because your kids will constantly leave yesterday’s half-eaten lunch under the seat for you to find three months later when you finally have the energy to clean out your car because it smells…questionable. Your kids will eat on the couch when they’re not supposed to, leave dishes in their rooms when they’re not supposed to be eating there at all (see: questionable aromas), and refuse to eat the dinner you spent two hours cooking because they “don’t like it.” No matter what it is. Because you served it to them, they will not like it. Get used to it. Your kids will scream and yell, sometimes at you…sometimes just in your general vicinity. Your kids will walk into your bedroom every 30 seconds all night long and wake you up just to tell you that they still can’t sleep. Your kids will sneak candy before breakfast and, quick thinkers that they are, leave the wrappers on the counter right beside the garbage can, but still insist it wasn’t them…even though you watched them do it.
Some days your kids will be to you as nails are to a chalkboard.
I don’t care how dedicated and loving a parent you are. You will still wish your kids would vacation in Bolivia for just a little while…sometimes.
And here’s the mighty, mighty secret to parenting: it’s OK to phone it in once in a while.
No, you can’t do it all the time. Your kids will know, first off. And it just simply isn’t good parenting. Are we clear? You can’t do it all the time.
BUT…once in a while? Hell yeah. Nobody’s perfect 100% of the time. Even Martha Fucking Stewart got sent to her room for a timeout. Or wait, that was a room for which the taxpayers footed the bill, wasn’t it? Do you think she was big into stripes after that?
But I digress.
The point is, it’s OK not to be a perfect parent. It’s OK to, once in a while, watch TV and say “Uh-huh” without really listening. Even if that means your kid has a Slurpee for dinner. It won’t kill them. It won’t even kill you.
If 90% of the time you are a totally hands-on parent, at every soccer game, driving for every field trip, staying up with your kid until 11:30 at night while she cries because the boy she has a crush on doesn’t like her back…or whatever your own version of those things is, you are a phenomenal parent.
If you explain to your kids WHY and not just tell them WHAT, you are setting your kids up with fabulous critical thinking skills, and a mode of communication that will serve them for life.
If your kid knows they can come to you with anything, and you will be there for them, go through it with them, and be their parent (which isn’t necessarily the same thing as being their friend, but is still a constant they can count on) – be the grown up they can trust with their heart, you are doing a bang-up job of your number one priority.
And if, once in a while, you just can’t get it up for anything, even for your kids (who are not in trouble, who are just having a regular old day)…and you veg out and let a few things slide? Baby, you’re so OK.
That’s called being human.
Welcome to parenthood.