Last week I hid in my bedroom in the middle of the afternoon. The day had devolved in a craptastic hurricane of whining, arguments, and time-outs. The specifics are unimportant because – you know – we’ve all been there. Parenting, amirite? Suffice it to say, the day was the cherry on top of a long, exhausting, challenging week. So I hid in my bedroom and turned on “Arrested Development.”
Our family has been dealing with some serious growing pains -- all of us -- and sometimes you just need to hide in your room for a little while.
Because this is parenting, isn't it? Heck, this is life. It isn't always pretty. It isn't always easy. And it sure as heck isn't always hearts and glitter and dancing unicorns.
Parenting is late nights that leave dark bags under your eyes that look like they're packed for a two-week trip to Europe. It's unwashed hair in messy buns, and smeared eyeliner because you might have cried in the bathroom at some point during the day. It's having no idea what you're doing most of the time, and second guessing yourself the rest of the time. It's tough decisions, and hard conversations. It's hiding in your bedroom to drink coffee and watched "Arrested Development."
Lately, however, I feel like parents need to back up our #realtalk with a side of #soblessed. Why? Why do we need to justify our feelings? Why do we need to apologies for our realness? Why do we need to pretend that parenting – and life – is anything other than a complicated messy of awesomeness.
We, as parents and humans, are capable of feeling more than one thing at a time.It is possible to feel gratitude and frustration AT THE SAME TIME. We can love our kids so much our heart feels like it is literally exploding in our chest, while at the same time feeling like our head might explode from the whining, squabbles, and having to ask our kids to pick up their socks 137 times a day. It is possible to appreciate what you have while also feeling a teensy bit envious of someone else. It is possible to love people and the world while also wanting to move to Antarctica or a deserted island some days because – OMG -- people are also ridiculous.
We are human. Parenting and life are complicated and messy. And we need to stop apologizing for feeling the "negative" emotions as if it means we don't also feel the "positive" ones. I love my kids more than life itself, but sometimes they drive me batshit bonkers. I love my job, but there are days when I want to throw my computer out the window (usually when some commenter is calling me names on the internet). I am committed and honored to working for the causes I believe in, but that doesn't mean I don't feel frazzled and overextended sometimes. I am profoundly grateful for my family, friends and my life in general, but some days (weeks?) feel like an epic crapstorm of stress. That is life; that is being a human.
Parenting isn’t always been pretty, but it's still beautiful. Because while I ignored my kids for a minute (okay, an hour), laughing at jokes about the banana stand (all you “Arrested Development” fans will get this), I could hear my kids giggling together downstairs – followed, of course, by more bickering. Because that is what it means to be brothers, and family. Giggles, arguments, more giggles. Rinse and repeat.
So many times I hear people justify their feelings of frustration, annoyance, anger or what-have-you with a "but I love my kids" or apologies for feeling anything other than #soblessed. We do not need to do this. Life isn't always rainbows and dancing unicorns, and we do each other a disservice when we pretend that it is. We know you love your kids. OF COURSE YOU DO. This goes without saying. We have got to stop feeling bad for feeling things -- big, messy, complicated things. The human condition is a wild, complex, and beautiful thing -- and we don't need to apologize for being anything other than fully human.
No one said life or parenting was easy, but it is good. Very good indeed. And when things get tough, you just hide in your bedroom for a minute (or an hour) and then carry on.
A version of this essay appeared on the author's Facebook page.