Monday, April 2, 2012

adding it up, parenting style

Today (well, actually yesterday, as this is a day-after the hurricane post) was rough.  Like, rough, rough.  One of those too frequent days that leave you wondering what the Hell you've gotten yourself into, and if you're in wayyyyyy over your head.  But they aren't all like that.  Thank goodness.  Here's my mathematical (insofar as I do math!) assessment of my days of parenting.

There are days.  The days your mama warned you about.  (And of course, she was right, dammit!)  Days like today, days that make you want to crawl into bed hours before most toddlers, days that make you crave entire buckets of ice cream and bottles of wine.  Days when you're positive you've failed at this job.  Days, for instance, when you accidentally kick Girlio in the nose doing a pilates move, or when Boy-o comes home from his weekend away so full of non-stop tantrum that you want to pack your bags and move into the magpie nest in the backyard, because it would be much, much quieter.  And you deal with that feeling by, you know, screwing up. You know, just as, um, random examples.   It is hard to be philosophical about these kinds of days.  My internal dialogue here mostly consists of: 'try not to cry til they fall asleep,' or 'you fail.  you fail.  you fail.', or 'jeez, I hope this doesn't all end up like "We Need to Talk About Kevin".'    I'm going to say that over the course of a five day week, I have at least one day like this.  Of late, sometimes more.  These days are brutal.  Exhausting.  Hard on the heart.  And more often than not, by the time bedtime rolls around, I fall asleep beside my smalls, bloody exhausted and heartsore.

And then there are the parenting days that tend towards the not so bad.  These days have tantrums and oopsies and regular kid-like oppositional behaviour.  You deal with things the best you can and know this. And this behaviour gets balanced out by other wonderful things like toothy toddler grins, spontaneous Boy-o hugs, dance parties in the living room, snuggles and books and backyard shenanigans.  These sorts of days are much easier to be philosophical about.  You win some, you lose some - you may even most often lose more than you win - but damn, look how cute and smart and entertaining (if obstreperous) they are.  And look how YOU get to have a hand in helping to nurture these little demons.  Generally speaking, I'd say I have about 3-3.5 days out of the five that I have my smalls that feel, for the most part, like this.

And then there are the wonderful days.  The days full of laughter and outings and GOOD PARENTING MOMENTS.  These days are rarely seen birds, of course, which is what makes them so coveted and deliriously wonderful.  You end these days thinking that having children was the most amazing thing you've ever done, and holding onto fleeting glimpses of what their fabulous futures will hold.  And, though perhaps selfishly, even better on these days is being able to tamp down those inner voices that so often tell you that you are really stinkin' bad at this parenting gig.  These days assure you that you might actually be doing ok.  You might not have to save QUITE so much for the therapy fund (theirs, not yours.  Yours you still have to save for).  I wish I could say I had more of these days than I do - but like I said - they're an exotic and rare sort of bird.  Out of my five days a week with the smalls, I probably average about .25 of a day like this, or one REALLY good, sunshine-blowing-out-of-my-magic-parenting-fingertips per month.

And that's the way it adds up.  Luckily, the mostly present in-betweener days occur more often than not.  And I guess, those .25 days, the sunshiny-full-of-free-and-easy-smiles-and-hugs kinda days, serve to exponentially fortify you for the really tough days.  Because though few and far between, these days are the most gorgeous part of this parenting gig.   And oh man, I live for them.

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