I came up to my husband tonight and all I could say was, “I want to stop parenting these children.”
I put our kids, at any particular moment, on a spectrum. They are either helpful, neutral, or actively unhelpful.
We spend so much of our time on the actively unhelpful side of the spectrum that I wonder if we will ever come out of it.
I tell myself that the four-year-old and two-year-old age combination is uniquely challenging.
I look to God and say, “Everything changes, right? Right?!”
The idea of having a room clean or a glass of milk unspilled or five minutes without whining or yelling when PBS Kids isn’t on…. These things are unattainable.
Right now all of the toys upstairs are under the kitchen table in a reenactment of their new favorite book The Garbage Barge. This followed on the heels of all of our fruit being relocated on rocket ships into the master bedroom. In between we had to put gym socks on the legs of an Ikea chaise lounge-turned ferry boat so it would stop scratching all the floors at each ferry stop.
I mean, this is awesome stuff, this imaginary play.
So why can’t I just roll with it?
I heard this mom on the radio the other day talking about how she was so caught up in doing all the “best” strategies for her child that she forgot to play with her daughter. And it made me think, “But it’s not that fun to read children’s books and play pretend all day long.” And then I thought, “I guess I missed the point of the story.”
I feel like I don’t fit in. I don’t love bathtime. I don’t like reading books at night. I don’t make play dough for preschool. And right now I’m mad at the kids for taking the joy out of cooking—they’re literally taking the spice out of my life and replacing it with bland chicken and potato wedges.
And yet I love these two gremlins. I love them more than anything. I think they’re hilarious, and creative, and they love us and each other.
It’s just hard for me to roll with all the punches right now. The volume on our whine-o-meter is very high; the gremlin brains are literally still building the architecture to allow them to make good decisions on a regular basis; and life’s outside stresses are piercing.
So I’m just trying to persevere in the face of constant chaos, say a few nice things to myself each day, and remember that everything changes: It has to.