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Sometimes, I think this really sucks. That all I do is change diapers and wipe up puke and do laundry and then more laundry since the hampers are full again as soon as I empty them. And sometimes I want to say, no, you keep two children fed, clean, happy and entertained while stemming the endless tide of toys taking over ever inch of the floor and cooking dinner that at least half of the intended audience will refuse to eat while I go get my nails done or out for drinks or whatever it is I've decided to do with no thought to the impact on your life. Sometimes I get so fed up with being the default parent, so tired of being unable to even go to the bathroom, much less leave the house without making some level of arrangements for their care or well-being. Sometimes when the one kid spends the entire morning puking on my shirt and pants and the floor and the other kid spends the entire morning whining and telling me I may no longer use the pet name I have called her since birth, I can't help but see this as far more punishment than reward. Sometimes I want to quit, to let all the annoying and boring little bits of this life be someone else's problem, to not be the one who is somehow supposed to have all the answers when I don't even understand the questions.

And then sometimes, when I am rocking a warm, sleeping baby who I know will, with a minimum of prodding, soon be taking a totally reliable two-hour nap while listening to my daughter singing in her room; or when she says she wants to tell me a secret and whispers in my ear that she loves me very much or that I am pretty; or when I can't get the baby to nurse because all he wants to do is smile at me with rivulets of milk pouring out of his mouth and spilling over his chin; well sometimes I feel like this, right here, this is the best part. Sometimes I think these long, slow, hard days with these children are the happiest of my life.

Comments (37)

Sometimes I feel the same way. Well, more like always.

My husband and I both work full time. My older daughter had to stay home yesterday, and I stayed with her. (My husband usually does, because he has the option of working from home.) I was sitting there, grousing about the fact that Melanie finds her daddy more fun to be with, and that we'd have a boring day. You know what? It turned out to be a great day for us because it was just US. Even though it was a sick day, that time alone helped to strenghten our bond.

Mia is growing up. That is tough! Especially when she starts to have her own likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, get used to it. You have all of the teen years to get through before she discovers that Moms actually are cool again. I'm spending Saturday with my daughter because "she called me to go and have some fun with her!" Yay!

PS:Please join me tomorrow, April 9th for a celebration on Dackel Princess!

I am so with you. Thank goodness our kids are wise enough to mix in those sweet moments with all the puke-y, snotty ones. I'd never make it otherwise.


10 years into parenting, and I couldn't have said it better if I tried.

I know. TOTALLY.

Scary how true that is.

Yes, it's BOTH. It is the reason I don't have just ONE more baby-- and the reason why I really still *want* to have one anyway.



And we need to make plans, soon.

Even with just one I completely agree with you, and couldn't have said it better myself!


Very well said. :)

Thats a truly beautiful post :)

well that about sums it up, doesn't it? at least we are lucky enough to have that glimmer of perspective even on the roughest days...

this reminds me of a saying i've heard about life with young children - the hours and days seem to go by so slowly and drag on forever and yet the years go by so quickly. so true and something i try (altho sometimes fail) to remember when i am having one of those especially hard, slow days - my kids are almost the exact same ages as yours, born june 2005 and january 2008.

That was one beautiful and moving post.

oh, it is such a mixed bag! thank goodness for those sweet and tender moments, or else the species would never reproduce.

oh, it is such a mixed bag! thank goodness for those sweet and tender moments, or else the species would never reproduce.

You are exactly right.
What I wouldn't give for my girls to be little again. The youngest is 17 and can't sit still or stop spending money. Things were much simpler when they were small.

I'm crying because it's so true. All of it.

They must know the exact point when we can't go on one more minute to do something that makes it all worthwhile.

Little buggers.

Abso-fucking-lutely perfect. Ditto.

You make it all sound so incredible...even the bad parts...I hope my jounrey into parenting is at least 1/2 as wonderful and rewarding as your posts. Thanks for sharing. It makes me worry less what parenting will do to me!

I parent; my husband babysits . . . how does that figure?
I went through episodes of actually feeling claustrophobic when the toys were on the floor (a little hormonal imbalance which I'm receiving treatment for).
Then I put them to bed and can't get over how beautiful and wonderful and absolutely adorable they are.

Couldn't have said it better myself. What my friends and I say is that you know you've fully arrived and are comfortable in motherhood when you can pick someone else's nose. But the way you put it is so much more beautiful.

Seriously, you regularly help me keep a good perspective when I'm having a bad day. Thanks.

Thanks for this on today of all days. I'm still recovering from a terribly rotten day.

"Sometimes I get so fed up with being the default parent, so tired of being unable to even go to the bathroom, much less leave the house without making some level of arrangements for their care or well-being."

My husband and I had a "discussion" about this exact feeling this morning! Being the default parent is hard, hard work - even when it looks like fun ("playing" all day! ha!), you're still teaching and leading and molding and WORKING at parenting. And why the bloody hell doesn't HE ever have to find a babysitter for the kiddo on the rare nights that we both have to work?! *sigh*

We had a un-fun morning, but a great afternoon, so I guess it all balances out in the end somehow, right? Thanks for your words today.

You are singing it!


I had a miscarriage at seven months and six days, almost three weeks ago. I'd give almost anything for a poopy diaper or barf on my shirt.

I know it's hard, but I am glad that you know it's wonderful too.

I love those moments that make all the hard stuff worth it. Something better make all that hard stuff worth it. As much as I hate kicking toys and breaking ankles on, yet, another ball, the cuddles and the hugs and the cute little comments from my girls make things a little better - thank God

"The default parent". That's what I call myself, too. sucks.

Amen, sister. I was JUST on the phone with a friend while we bemoaned the default parent thing and how we cannot seem to make our husbands understand that yes, from 9-6 (or 7:30 if you're my husband) it is our job to watch the kids. But at 6:01, it is a shared responsibility. Dinner is shared, laundry is shared, cleaning the house is shared, giving baths is shared, and I am not always the parent. Sigh. But you're right, then there are the most amazing moments ever that make it all worthwhile.

Sing it! I had a meltdown on Hubby when Princess was little- why was it that he was free to do stuff unless I had specifically said he had a conflict, but it was assumed that I was not doing anything unless I had already set it up and it was carved in stone? Now we've both learned to accept things tentatively, and to put things on the calendar (if it's written on the calendar, it trumps any verbal committment).

Thankfully, the joys that come with raising our children go a long way to balance out the frustration with not having time for ourselves.

I soo hear you. I remember being a stay at home mom as some of the toughest years of my life. The constant giving with very little receiving, being a slightly stinky mom blob, and the eternal pony tail. And then there was all the hugging, kissing, singing, coloring, and time together. They love you no matter what. It's really a mixed bag.

HAD to cuckle over the first paragraph - I agree completely with it all, but you wait till you're on your fifth! (i know you've planned not to, so that's a somewhat daft statement, but oh well, you know what I mean)

DH and I were chatting about this the other day - he was the stayathome parent (worked part/time) for 6years, and he summed it up with
'you can't hide from the boss, no taking 15min toilet breaks'
I replied 'no, unless you want come out to find the boss has fallen down the stairs and broken his neck'
DH:'or found the only loose screw in the house and scratched it across the TV'
me:'or tryed to make toast in the VCR again'

ah, the grown up conversations we have!

Beautiful post. Thanks

Wow, I was feeling that way the other day, too. Maybe it's something in the air? (Or maybe just part of being the Default Parent.) Either way, I feel for you.

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So the Fish Said...

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