Don’t get me completely wrong, it is eventually, and occasionally immediately, rewarding. But there are long periods of time when you don’t feel rewarded at all.
And nobody tells you about this. Your parents rarely say, “it was hell everyday raising you into adulthood, with brief shining moments of greatness. It exposed every one of my insecurities daily, humbled me repeatedly, cut me up open and tore out my heart on occasion, left me tired, and quite often made it difficult for me to do about half-a-million things I would have rather been doing.”
No. Instead of the truth we get commercials that show parents happily doing the laundry, cooking breakfast, making lunch… You and your six friends come in tossing around a football, interrupting my small moment of peace while I was cleaning the kitchen, tracking mud in the house, and demanding lunch? Oh you little stinkers! Ha ha ha, sure, I have some pizza rolls right here in this freezer I can throw in to feed the neighborhood. Absolutely, y’all go watch TV while I cook it. I’ll smile and wave as you walk away. Man, do I love this parenting gig!
What our parents and this woman are really thinking is this, “I love this kid. I love this kid. I love this kid. Don’t kill him. It’s all going to be worth it when he’s a healthy productive member of society. That MEANS something. IT DOES!!!! I believe!!!!”
This morning, my son asked why I haven’t been drinking coffee at home in the morning. (As I was simultaneously making breakfast, making their lunch, setting out medications, and watching the clock for bus loading time.)
My response was, “I don’t have time when I’m getting y’all ready.” (The food in the cafeteria reportedly tastes like cardboard, and I have to make you a lunch that passes the muster of the moms who are up at the school at lunch judging me. …note that part above about every one of your insecurities. So, your father and I wake up, darling, and run a bed n’ breakfast every morning… For you.)
To which my daughter replied, “what time do you have to be at work?”
“8:30,” I replied.
“Oh, you have plenty of time. You should drink your coffee.”
Sweet, sweet, baby girl.
I walked them to the door. Correction, I kissed my daughter in the kitchen and told her to go ahead and go…if her brother missed the bus from dilly dallying, he was going to have to walk, and I didn’t want her to have to walk too.
I then walked my newly motivated son to the door, kissed him, and waved as he walked down the street. Then I closed the door and sank against it. Saying, “I did it!” Only with less enthusiasm/energy: “I did it.”
June Cleaver, I am not. I hear my friends saying things like, “I just love making my kids’ a healthy lunch everyday.” And I’m thinking in response, “You are crazy…or maybe I’m crazy…but there is nothing on the surface to love about that. I have to dig for the love of making healthy home made lunches for my kids. Oh! There it is! Buried underneath my love of sleep. Phew, almost didn’t see it there.”
I know some of you easily find and feel the joy of parenting in cooking and cleaning and such, and I’m in awe of you. All I’m saying is, that’s not all of us. It’s not me. And before you get all judgey, know that I love my kids more than anything…more than myself. And I am extremely grateful to have them and the resources I need to raise them in a healthy way. But I cannot tell a lie. This parenting thing is tough.
…and I’m no cook.