As much as we don’t like to admit it and feel bad about even thinking it, parenting is hard, and quite frankly, not as much fun as I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong: I was never expecting it to be a breeze. But somehow, I just thought I would be able to cope with certain situations better.
Being a parent is wonderful, fulfilling, and meaningful, and it has really taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. But the truth is that recently, being a parent has been quite a challenging affair and has left me feeling drained (physically and emotionally), inadequate, and with an ever-growing feeling of guilt that is hard to shake off.
There are so many challenges we face as parents that I suppose it is impossible to get it right all the time. But I want to and try my very best to.
I want to be the parent who never loses patience.
I want to be the parent who never shouts.
I want to be the parent who never feels disappointed.
I want to be the parent who doesn’t take things to heart.
I want to be the parent who is always fun.
I want to be the parent with all the answers.
I want to be the parent who always makes the right choices.
Sometimes, however, this is not the parent I am. Maybe because I can’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep, or because I am under a lot of stress, or because I’ve just had enough and am only hanging on by a thread — a very, very thin thread.
Here is where the guilt sets in.
I feel guilty that I hid in the bathroom to have a few minutes of quiet.
I feel guilty that I wished I had more time alone.
I feel guilty that sometimes I wish I was at work instead of being at home with the kids.
I feel guilty for losing my patience.
I feel guilty for taking things to heart.
I feel guilty for looking forward to bedtime so I can finally sit down and have a grown-up, uninterrupted conversation.
I feel guilty about having all these feelings, however fleeting, because I love my children more than anything else in this life and truly cannot imagine my life without them.
You are probably wondering why I’m telling you all this. Why would I admit to such failure? I’ll tell you why: I wanted to share this with you because guilt is a bitch, and once it creeps up on you, it can be all-consuming and leave you feeling alone, thinking, Surely no one else can possibly feel this way?
Well, you are wrong, and I was wrong too. It turns out that there is a dark side to parenting after all, and being a parent is not perfect and sweet and fun all the time.
You are not inadequate.
You are not a failure.
You are just a good parent having a bad day, week, or month, and you are not alone.