One of the things I appreciate most about feminist motherhood discourse is the gloss that’s left off the realities of parenting. There are so many therapeutic benefits to this, like helping fellow mums feel less alone; exposing the impossibility and ridiculousness of trying to be the “perfect” mother; combating pervasive and crippling ‘mother guilt’; etc. etc.
Yet I realized recently that I am a big fat hypocrite, for I’ve done little to no wart exposing myself. In fact, with the instinctively careful curating and tailoring of self that has gone with putting myself “out there” on the internet with this blog, I suspect I’ve even made my life appear enviable. And it is in many ways, don’t get me wrong. There is A LOT that I am grateful for. But there is also a lot that I struggle with, especially since becoming a mother.
Lately, Peanut has taken to regularly–daily, often several times a day–throwing tantrums when he can’t have what he wants. And I am having such a hard time dealing with it. The high-pitched screaming, the kicking and hitting and flailing, it shreds my nerves and pummels my patience. In those moments I feel like I’m going to lose it, too. It has actually made me question if I have what it takes to be a parent. I voiced this to Andrea and he winced, said please don’t say that, that’s a horrible thing to say. And I feel horrible admitting it. I feel like a terrible, ungrateful person for expressing this.
And yet it’s what I feel when Peanut has a meltdown. That I’m not cut out for this. That I miss my old life, when I could just flop in front of the TV when I’m feeling down or sleep as long as I like on my days off. There’s no such thing anymore as a day off. I am mourning the loss of my fiercely independent self. Seeing a movie at a theatre whenever I want. Staying up all night. Snacking in front of the computer for dinner. Having hour-long phone and Skype conversations. Going to the gym several times a week. Going on motorcycle rides with Andrea in the countryside. Having sex. Reading for hours on end. I miss. I miss.
So this is what the feminist mums were talking about when they said parenting is HARD.