Parenting is hard. To me, the hard part is that it really, really matters. Just providing food and clean diapers doesn’t cut it. But the simple reality of being present in the same location with your children 24/7 is hard enough. If I spend all day reading on the couch and put Lily in her swing as much as she’ll allow it and let Nati watch Dora to his heart’s content, at the end of the day I will still feel wiped out. I know this, because I’ve done it often. But now that Lily is past the newborn stage and spring has arrived, I know it’s time for me to take some initiative and do something good and healthy with them. Something like taking them outside every day.
I know that studies say that if you tell your children that TV doesn’t exist and make them build tree houses, they will go to med school or win a Nobel Prize. But really, I hate it. I hate that I have to get them dressed, and wash Nati’s face, and scrape the grime out from under his fingernails that I literally just cleaned thirty minutes ago, and wipe away the stinking slime that’s built up in Lily’s neck rolls. I hate that I have to get myself dressed, and scrounge around for one solitary shirt that fits me, and wear the same pants I wore all week because they’re the only ones besides my pajamas that don’t give me a muffin-top.
And most of all, I hate that for every moment that I’m out in public, I feel like people are judging my parenting. On days when it goes really, exceptionally well, I’m secretly thinking, “Boy, I really fooled them today!” And on days when it goes wrong…let’s just say there was that one time (yesterday), where I might have been on the phone not paying attention and Nati wandered out the entrance of the playground. I was afraid if I ran after him he would think it was a game and run into the street. The only alternative I could think of was to yell at the top of my lungs, “Nati, you come back here right now or I will SPANK you!” Yes. So that is what I did, right in front of all the other moms. In other words, I said, “Attention Everyone! I use corporal punishment! I yell at my child! I ignore my child when I’m on the phone and let them walk out into traffic!” A kind soul who saw my dilemma detained Nati at the sidewalk as I sprinted to catch him (naturally, abandoning Lily in her car seat in the middle of the playground,) and in the end all was saved but my pride.
You’re probably a little horrified to find out all of the things that I hate doing that you had previously assumed every sane mom did every day as a matter of course. I know. I cringe too. On the bright side, I managed to take the kids out every single day this week. Except for the weekend, when Yohannes did it. And except for Wednesday, when it rained. I love it when it rains.