The Truth About Parenting…

Sometimes, it boredcan be really boring…OK, so perhaps this just pertains to the early years, from 0-3 but believe me, for all of the rabble-rousing, raucous times your young charges may cause and suck you in to, there are also large swaths of time spent numbing the mind.

Here you sit, a parent with a good education, probably a higher education and very possibly even a graduate degree (or two). Maybe you’re even lucky enough to have opted out of the work force, of a decent paying job, of financial independence, of a system that provided performance reviews every 6-12 months. Now what?

Welcome to parenthood.

You came home from the hospital, overwhelmed by the tasks before you (for which there is no prior job training). You have to figure out the needs of your constituents, except they speak a completely foreign dialect and there will be no Babel fish coming to your aid. You have to completely alter your sleep cycle, eating habits, home decor and daily routine.

For the first year, you desperately look for parenting outlets, classes, playgroups, anything that affords some modicum of a social network. Your days are intermittently spent at ground level, trying to stimulate and attract the attention of your wee charge, or trying to get back in touch with the unique individual you once were, just a short time ago.

By year-two, your groundlinghas mobilized. Watch out world! there’s no need for that Exersaucer anymore. Now everything below waist level has to be rearranged or safe-guarded to accommodate exploring hands, curious eyes and wandering toddler. But at least life is starting to get more interesting. Play gets a bit more interactive, you might even share a few words between you; behold, a conversation evolves!

I don’t claim to be a vaudeville act or anything but I do like to think I’m at least capable of carrying on an intellectual conversation, possibly even about a current event.  Children, on the other hand, expect you to be constant entertainment. And, unless you actually masterminded Legos, patented Mr. Potato Head or work in Mattel’s play lab, you’re probably not cut out for the job.

You may be required to play Uncle Wiggly (for the 4th time this week); to build yet another wooden block zoo for the bucket of escaped dinosaurs; to stealthy fit 200 minuscule plastic beads onto a ridiculously small peg board and iron them together into a coaster. And when all of that is done, they’ll ask for more.

Sure, there are many fabulous, memorable and blog-worthy moments of parenting but I also want to be honest, to take the sheen off and say it like it is. Now, please excuse me, I think I’m being beckoned back to the train table to play the vivacious role of windmill.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. slightlywonky
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 13:10:23

    Ahh…the challenge of not losing one’s marbles when having to be “Big Bird” for the hundreth time in one day…I empathize completely. It is…simply EXHAUSTING. Much more tiring mentally than anything that I did at work. Being fully engaged and entertaining for extended periods of time is just plain exhausting, even if you’re just entertaining adults! Now try that same stamina with someone whose idea of a good time is to discuss excavators/bulldozers/dump trucks at length, and who knows no bounds when it comes to repetitive activities. Personal space…what’s that? Downtime…huh? Sigh…I just keep trying to think that this time in our kids’ lives passes quickly. This helps me to get through the extended Elmo/Big Bird exchanges that we have. Chocolate helps too.

    Reply

    • growingmuses
      Mar 05, 2011 @ 16:01:53

      My favorite, recent, seasoned-mom quote is: Childhood, where a day can feel like a year but a year seems to blink by in a day. I agree! For the working mom, sometimes the early years go by all too fast without enough time to spend together. For the stay-at-home, the opposite can sometimes feel true.

      I’m an extrovert so perhaps being clung to or interacted with all day isn’t as hard on me as it might have been for my intellectual and introvert mother. When time’s get tough, there’s always Play Doh (and nap time…I hope).

      Reply

  2. Asta Burrows
    Feb 22, 2011 @ 10:26:12

    I have just entered year 2 – and the mobilisation has began. I also find that by now everybody expects us to be “back to normal” again and friends who don’t have kids don’t always understand that there is no going back to “normal” again! 🙂 I work full time and the wee lad has a childminder – but at the moment the childminder is ill, so I have been at home the last couple of day, and it is exhausting! He doesn’t sit still for a minute! It is great, but exhausting! 🙂

    Reply

    • growingmuses
      Mar 05, 2011 @ 15:55:43

      Asta, you’re so right, there is never a “going back” to normal, there’s just a new “normal.” I worked full-time when I had my first child but then stopped working. When I was in the working world, I somewhat looked down my nose at my stay-at-home friends, assuming their lives were so easy and they must have all the time in the world to get things done. Now that I’m “one of them,” I realize what a narrow-sighted opinion that was. I was more stressed in the work-force but in some ways had more freedom to get things done in adult-time. Living in child-time, whole days go by where important errands or household tasks don’t get done. Somewhere in between I think there must be a great balance but that’s a blog post for another day…

      Reply

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