At Least 70% Of Being A Parent Sucks

by Susie Johnson
Originally Published: 

Yesterday I coached a swim meet with three other coaches from my team.

One was Cool College Babysitter (CCB), and one was a father of three (FOT) who is about my age.

As I was standing on deck with the two of them, CCB, who is 22, asked both of us,

“What percentage, would you say, of being a parent sucks?”

I thought for a moment.

“At least 70%,” I told her.

“But not more than 97.5%,” answered the FOT.

“Yeah, see? I used to think I wanted kids, but now I’m not so sure,” she said.

And then FOT and I immediately responded with the But that 30 – 2.5% percentage of non-sucking is totally worth it, blah, blah blah obligatory parent speech.

I was thinking about it last night.

I would like to revise my answer to be much more specific.

Being a parent is an endurance sport.

The most ultra of ultra marathons.

A super ultra marathon with no finish line.

It is physically, mentally, and emotionally grueling.

There are days where the countdown to bedtime starts before the kids have even woken up that morning.

Because there really are days where 97.5% of being a parent sucks.

In fact, FOT was wrong.

There are days where 99.9% of being a parent sucks.

When your tiny little baby is screaming with no end in sight, for the seventeenth night in a row, it sucks.

When your two-year-old takes the world’s most disgusting crap, removes her diaper, smears shit all over the mudroom floor and her body with her own hands and then attempts to clean herself up with every single clean towel in the closet, being a parent sucks.

When you are seven minutes into your workout at the gym and someone from the babysitting room comes to find you because your kid has been screaming bloody murder for all seven of those minutes, being a parent sucks.

When you had one (or four) too many glasses of wine the night before and your kid wakes up an hour and half earlier than he normally does and won’t go the fuck back to sleep, being a parent sucks.

When you are trying to write a blog post and there is a kid trying to rip the mouse off of its cord and another one is repeatedly slamming a fucking action figure on every key on the keyboard, being a parent sucks.

When your kids have not yet developed that this feeling in my stomach means I am going to projectile vomit all over everything in less than 30 seconds awareness and they puke onto every unwashable item in your house and every crack, crevice and seatbelt buckle in your freshly detailed car, being a parent really fucking sucks.

When your teenager looks you directly in the face and tells you you are a bitch or that he fucking hates you or thatyou can’t tell me what to do, being a parent sucks.

When some motherfucker at school picks on your kid and there is nothing you can really do about it, being a parent sucks.

When your daughter gets her heart ripped out by a pathologically lying, cheating, manipulative, sociopathic douchebag, being a parent sucks.

When your kid is crippled by anxiety and has convinced himself that performing specific rituals is the only thing that will guarantee he gets home from school safely, and there is nothing you can do to immediately make him feel better, being a parent sucks. A lot.

When you are exhausted and haven’t showered in four days and you just can’t take it anymore and totally lose it and tell your kids to shut the fuck up! and then feel like a complete and total failure, being a parent sucks.

When you tell your 4-year-old to stop doing something and she looks directly at you, smiles, and does it again, being a parent sucks.

When, no matter how far apart you sit your kids in the car they still manage to touch each other and annoy the living shit out of each other, being a parent sucks.

When your 14-year-old was supposed to be home at 5:00 and at 6:00 he is still nowhere to be found, being a parent sucks.

When your kids lose the twenty-eighth pair of goggles, shove 5 DVD’s into the DVD player at once, and break the last remaining picture that you have hanging on the wall, being a parent sucks.

When your kid does that thing that your kid would never do, being a parent sucks.

And when you and your husband haven’t had sex in three weeks, and you have finally both managed to stay awake after 10:00, and you are 3 minutes into getting busy, and one of the kids breaks into the croupiest cough in the history of the world, being a parent totally sucks.

On the days when all of these things happen at once,

and there will be those days,

those are the days when you are nearing that 99.9% suckage point.

But even then, there is that .1%

That little kiss.

Holding a hand for 5 seconds.

Walking into their room and silently watching them sleeping peacefully.

Seeing the smile on their face when they accomplish something all by themselves.

Watching them cooperate and share and laugh.

Witnessing that game winning catch or that record being broken.

Experiencing a movie or a roller coaster or Disney World or Christmas through their unjaded and innocent eyes.

Hearing the unsolicited I love you, Mommy.

Or the genuine and sincere Thanks Mom.

On the days when all of these things happen at once,

and there will be those days,

those are the days that make you forget all about those ones that suck.

No matter what the percentage is.

Because the sucky days will outnumber the non-sucky ones.

But they won’t outweigh them.

And that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

Related post: Motherhood: The Big Fat Fuck You

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