Kate wrote a post a few days ago about how most blogs she reads write about the lovely side of parenting. You know, the splashing in fountains, baking cookies, and snuggles at bedtime side of parenting. The parenting that make us eagerly sign up for it in the first place. Reem shared this article with me a few weeks ago about how we often portray to others an idyllic parenting experience focusing only on the good and erasing any bad and effectively painting an inaccurate picture of parenting because as beautiful and genuine as the good times are there are some moments, and sometimes, some days, that the whole parenting thing is truly difficult.
Today is a difficult day.
Jealousy is rearing its ugly head. All humans possess jealousy to varying degrees, toddlers simply express theirs in the most primal of ways. When I see him act out– throwing, crying, and misbehaving, my heart hurts for him as jealousy is a manifestation of one’s insecurities and I hate that he should feel insecure about his position in my heart. But I also feel frustrated. Because we’re doing our best to give him attention and love– but babies must be doted on, diapers must be changed, and hungry tummies must be fed. I don’t want him to feel jealous, and yet while I love him completely as I always did I cannot give him myself as completely as I once did.
So we’re dealing with outbursts today from the moment he came into our bedroom and saw the little one snuggled in my arms fast asleep after a rough up every two hours sort of night. And disobedience. And two going on fifteen-year-old snarky teenager. And today as I held a wailing newborn and maneuvered to the fridge with a bawling toddler clinging to my legs and demanding milk, while I know to not miss the forest for the trees, today, in this particular moment, the trees were all that ever was, and all that ever will be.
And on days like today my mind clouds with worries: What do better parents do in moments like these? Will my eldest always feel this way towards my youngest? I want nothing more than for my children to be friends and I know too many siblings who don’t get along as well as they could– will this competition for affection be a lifelong one ala Everyone Loves Raymond? Will he grow up to resent me? And most of all, what am I doing wrong?
The logical part of me can self-correct these thoughts. Two-year-olds are boundary-testing social scientists. They are mini-anarchists. And they want you to correct their course. But the emotional part wonders, doubts, and feels incredibly guilty for not balancing as well as I believe I should.
They’re both asleep right now. I’m going to drink a big cup of tea. Watch Veronica Mars. And hopefully catch some shut-eye in between with the hopes that sleep will make gentler creatures of us all. Today is a tough day, and it is not a day I am proud of, but I hope in hindsight it will resemble more a tiny pothole on the lifelong journey of parenting than the gaping crater on the moon that it feels today.
[Edited to add: If you are here via BlogHer, welcome and thanks for reading! If you like what you read please consider subscribing, I can also be reached via @aishacs on twitter, thanks again!]