For my friends who are parents, please pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. Seriously, open up the champagne and break out the fine china because you truly DESERVE it. If you didn’t lose, body slam, or go to the ER with your child today, then you are WINNING at this thing called parenting. It isn’t easy and we don’t talk about it enough…or ever for that matter. Too often we see images of perfect moms and dads, read books about the joys of parenting, watch movies about amazing parents and yet, that is NOT what reality is for the millions of us actual parents out there. And too often we are afraid to talk about how difficult parenting is, how stressful parenting is, how NOT fun parenting is. Don’t get me wrong, being a parent is awesome and all, but it also ISN’T awesome at times and that’s OK.
I have two young boys who occupy a lot of time and energy. They are smart and funny, kind and loving, athletic and full of potential. I love them, care for them, and protect them as if my own life depends on their very existence. But I also have moments where I want to run and hide, cry and shout, escape and never return. And I am sure that others out there feel the same way. I am here today to say that that is OK. It doesn’t make you any less of a parent to need time for yourself, it doesn’t make you any less of a parent to not want to parent for the day. I’ve done it. I’ve gone on strike and refused to do any parenting (within reasonable limits of course – no child was left unattended or unsupervised!) before and my children have survived. Sure they had cereal for dinner and packed crackers for their school snack, but they’re still alive and kicking. And they don’t love me any less as a mom.
Society puts so much pressure on being the best parent that we often forget that being perfect is impossible. We forget that we are human and are filled with emotion. We don’t want to accept the fact that sometimes we just need some peace and quiet, sometimes we need alone time, sometimes we need to NOT be around our children. Kids bring extreme joy and happiness to our lives, but in all honesty, they also bring about stress. We as parents need an outlet for that stress (and the fear of the unknown). Whether it’s a night out with the girls, a long hot bath uninterrupted, a call with a girlfriend to talk about nothing, or a few hours at the gym, then DO IT. Stop feeling guilty for taking time for yourself. Your children will thank you for it because it will give you the reprieve you needed and then you’ll be recharged and ready to play or laugh or cuddle. Remember this: if you aren’t properly taking care of yourself then there is no way you can properly care for your children. Don’t sacrifice everything that you are or you’ll never be able to live up to the title of PARENT. We are all imperfect, yet we are PERFECT for our own flesh and blood. And they love us unconditionally. So, take that final swig of champagne, hit the hay, and wake up tomorrow knowing that you are a superhero in the eyes of your children. You got this!