After you give birth, wouldn’t it be great if a magical fairy appeared, holding a large box with an exquisite bow on it that just has the word “patience” written on the card attached? Then she’d open her beautiful mouth and whisper ever so sweetly, “Here’s the extra bit you’ll need to deal with your life now. Good luck.” And she’d fly away, leaving you a more tolerant person than you were before you gave birth…
Yeah. That doesn’t happen.
Giving birth to a child doesn’t mean that the part of your brain that hates it when someone screams in your face magically disappears. It doesn’t get any less annoying to have someone tugging on your shirt all day when that someone happens to be your beautiful child. Little dirty fingers can only try to touch your eyeball so many times before you start to feel your blood pressure rise.
No one tells you this stuff before you have kids. No one says, “Hey, congratulations on your pregnancy! Kids are so fucking annoying.” But they are, aren’t they? It’s okay to admit it. Unless you have nerves of steel, even the most gorgeous creature in the universe who you love more than you thought you could ever love another being will get annoying the 45th time she touches your eyes, nose, and mouth and utters her adorably cute toddler anatomy lesson: Eyes! Nose! Mouth! Yes, it’s cute. It’s also annoying. Please get your tiny beautiful fingers off my face! Gahhh.
As a parent, you need to draw from a huge well of patience that may not even exist. A child following you around the house shoving their face under the back of your t-shirt is super, fucking annoying. It’s okay to admit it. You’re not a bad mom. Picking up after your small children all day long and still having a house that is a wreck is not for the weak. Parenting is tough.
I have a friend who confides in me every time she raises her voice to her children. It’s almost like a mom-confessional. This woman is not a yeller. She’s not a screamer. She’s just put herself under so much pressure, that when she loses her cool a little she feels immensely guilty about it. I personally don’t know a parent who doesn’t raise their voice occasionally. I also don’t know a parent who doesn’t feel a little guilty when they do it.
A study a few years ago by psychologists from SUNY and Clark University suggested that whining was the most annoying sound — above even the sounds of nails on a blackboard, sirens, and heavy drilling. Adults were most distracted and less able to function when exposed to the sounds of a constant, sustained whine for a minute. They were less able to focus after one minute. Imagine the effect a disgruntled toddler or baby has on your entire day?
Parenting is exhausting. Kids are repetitive. They always need something. You always have to be on. If you have small children in the home and you don’t have a partner to help you — you will never have a moment alone. Do you think this is easy? It’s not. It’s okay that you come to the end of your rope sometimes. It’s okay to need a break and rush outside to take a breath, or lock yourself in the bathroom for a couple minutes for some well-deserved peace.
You didn’t have a lobotomy — you had a baby. Your brain can no more handle being stimulated all fucking day than it could before you had children. That’s a fact. If you made it though the day, you’re doing a damn good job.
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