Parenting Is A Mother…
I’ve always been aware of how hard parenting is and can be. When my wife and I decided to become parents we had the same reservations as any new parents. We weren’t sure what it entailed. We were nervous, scared, excited and filled with dread of the unknown. What I didn’t realize was the mother-shaming and the possibility of behavioral issues in one of my kids. What I didn’t expect is how hard parenting is. I didn’t expect to completely lose myself in family life while fighting to keep my personal identity and fulfill my needs simultaneously. I do know that I couldn’t do this alone. No matter how difficult days and nights have been, my wife is right there suffering with me through the endless fear and stress of parenting.
Since we had our son, we’ve had some difficult issues. He had dairy and soy allergies after a few months of breastfeeding and I had to change my diet to breastfeed him comfortably. It was a long difficult road, but we managed.
He didn’t sleep well and still doesn’t to this day. My wife was right there taking over when it became too much. We basically tag-team tough nights so we don’t lose our minds. While other moms were bragging about their newborns sleeping through the night, our son hardly slept. He did cry though. A lot. As he got older other things started to pop up that caught our attention.
Please note, we never wanted to be one of those moms who couldn’t see or accept an issue in their child[ren]. We want for both of our children to be happy and healthy and to live their best life. That is our responsibility as parents to make that happen. So, seeing something not click with our son was a red flag for me as a parent. Of course, we took him to his pediatrician. The doctor tested for early signs of Autism, but nothing pointed to that as the issue.
There wasn’t much else we could test for since he was so young. However, my wife and I checked in with his pediatrician often with the same concerns, just so we could get the ball rolling once he was old enough to pursue the needed tests for ADHD, Defiant Disorder, or Impulse Control Disorder. She informed us that maybe around four-years-old tests could be ran for certain issues, but it might be challenging.
Now, he is four-years-old and he is a wild child. He has a huge personality and is funny, but he puts us through hell sometimes. This is where consistency comes in to play. Since our son does what he wants, it is very hard to direct him or punish him. He has no remorse for bad decisions, even though he knows what decisions are not okay. Like hitting animals or hitting his sister (not just sibling fighting). It seems that the punishment or redirection that worked during one action, doesn’t work for another, etc.
We, as parents, had to decide if he was being a typical boy or where the line was crossed to behavioral issues. We are still struggling, but moving forward with what we can. With all this, it is difficult in public. He has no filter. He has no fear of punishment or consequences, so he will do things that get me glares from everyone else. You know the looks that say, “beat that kid’s ass,” or “if that was my kid…” or “look at her getting ran by her kid,” or the many other looks that make me feel small and worthless as a parent.
This happens most when we go out, whether we are having dinner out as a family or grocery shopping. The meltdowns can be earth-shattering. The screams that annoy and terrify patrons and the non-filtered mouth can make it difficult to redirect. When it’s the whole family on an outing, my wife will take our son to the car or to the bathroom to help him regroup, but sometimes we have to ride the wave.
People don’t know how hard we work every day to do what our family needs. It’s exhausting and, yes, we fall short, but we give it our best effort. They don’t see us at the end of the day. We’re exhausted from trying to be patient and consistent. We’re worn the fuck out. What mother-shamers don’t understand are the tears shed because we’re trying to raise loving, caring, intelligent humans who are better than us and will make a difference in the world. It’s no small undertaking. Those looks kill my soul a little bit, because we are doing what we can to help him and to build up our family.
Parenting is no easy task. Everything is compromised daily. Promises get broken. Goals are forgotten. There are no direct answers for any of our questions. Google is our enemy.
You can say one thing, and do a completely other thing at any given time. Stress is the dominant state-of-mind. Fear for your kids and their well-being is debilitating. Tears flow freely. Emotions engulf us and throw us around with no remorse.
Most times our kids don’t even notice our struggles and that is a blessing. Sometimes bedtime is the only relief from a difficult day. My wife and I teeter on insanity and sanity, but at the end of the day, it’s always the love that keeps us going. Like I tell our kids, “tomorrow is a new day, we can reset overnight and be better tomorrow.” That is the motto I have to live by; otherwise, parenting might just drive me (most certainly my wife) crazy.