Parenthood consists of a multitude of different moments (some amazing and some horrifying), that will elevate you to your highest highs and sink you to your lowest lows. Clearly it wouldn’t be possible to maintain the kind of elation you feel when your child cracks their first smile or takes their first steps. But somehow the darkness that looms when your child is stuck in a rather unfortunate phase characterized by nightly wakings and daytime crankiness can seem to linger on with no end. There is nothing wrong with being open and honest when you are in the midst of a challenging stage of parenting. The Not So Zen Mom is all about honesty. Commiserating about your current challenges could just help you nab a new set of mommy friends to help you muddle through the trenches.
On the flip side, part of being Not So Zen is making the mistake of always anticipating that “Parenting will get easier when,” instead of focusing on and accepting the here and now. Here are a few examples:
- Parenting will get easier when my kid doesn’t crap in their pants.
- Parenting will get easier when my kid sleeps through the night.
- Parenting will get easier when my kid can talk (Talking = Whining and asking you for stuff)
- Parenting will get easier when my kids stop bickering (Don’t count on that one)
I’m not saying you have to like every stage of parenthood, or even pretend to, because frankly some can be less than stellar. It’s far more important to recognize when you’re in one of these difficult stages, so you can properly adjust your expectations. And by “adjust” I mean lower…dramatically! I explain the Not So Zen Mom’s approach to expectations in this post: Expectations Ruin Everything…Especially When It Comes To Parenting. When you’re always depending on “parenting will get easier when…” you are building up expectations, which are bound to disappoint and meanwhile wishing away huge chunks of your kid’s childhood. Remember, bigger kids, bigger problems. Because bigger kids make bigger mistakes, which means bigger consequences. Maybe poopy diapers and 5:45am wake ups aren’t so bad after all!
I’m not claiming to have mastered the art of acceptance and lowered expectations. After all, if I had, this website would be called the Totally Zen Mom instead of the Not So Zen Mom. I will tell you there is a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. Things will indeed get better when your kids stop crapping in their pants and start sleeping through the night. Just remember, parenting is ever evolving, just like your children and sometimes easier really means “different.” The daily care your child requires will lessen every year that passes, but the challenge of teaching your kid not to be an asshole and make positive life choices will increase at the very same rate. Easier workload, bigger challenges. Any dumbass can change a diaper. Not every parent is equipped to help their child build character and learn not to be an asshole when they grow up.
Here is a personal example of the, “Parenting will get easier when…” thinking: Last night when my boys were bathing, I stepped out of the bathroom to grab their towels and throw on my PJ’s. I remember when the kids were younger thinking how much easier things will be when I can at least step out of the bathroom for two seconds without fearing something horrible happening. Upon my return two minutes later, my older son informed me that his brother had pooped in the tub. Not to worry though, he had scooped it up and thrown it in the toilet. And there they sat in the post-poop water, like their problem solving skills were right on point. Wow! This would definitely qualify in the parenting challenges changing VS. getting easier category. Apparently, I need to focus on teaching some personal hygiene before I tackle the character building and positive life choices. Oh well!