It's no secret that parenthood has been a rocky road for me. I don't do well with the lack of sleep, I get crazy having a home that is constantly a mess, and I have no self-restraint when my kids cry because I feel I have to rush to their aid. Can you say overtired, anal-retentive, helicopter parent? (Hey...at least I'm getting better.)
There are days when the crying gets to me to the point that I can't think straight. I can't make a decision about how to handle the situation. Do I give in and let Aaron eat another pound of Cheerios, or do I make him eat his oatmeal? Do I let Jeff have a tantrum or do I put him in a "big boy" chair knowing that I'm now going to have to sit on the floor for the next 10 minutes making sure he doesn't fall off while standing on an adult sized chair? And then, of course, there is the ever popular how long do I let someone cry at night before going into the bedroom?
Thank goodness Derek is here to help me through these hard times.
- Yes, it's OK to give Aaron more Cheerios, Michael.
- No, don't let Jeff get used to standing on chairs, Michael.
- Go sit outside, you weak-willed wussy, until the kids fall asleep.
I also think about how on earth I'd be able to get two kids up, fed, dressed, out the door, into the car, into daycare and still get to work on time five days a week if I were a single parent. I can barely drag myself out of bed in the mornings. Derek usually gets up first and I come out twenty minutes later as hideous Daddy-like monster squinting from the light, unable to talk, and grumpy as...as...well, as grumpy as my kids when they wake up from a nap.
My point to all of this is that parenthood has, at times, beaten me down, chewed me up and spit me out AND I have help. My single parent friends do it all on their own. They get up at 3:00 a.m. every time to soothe a sick kid, change every diaper, cook every meal, clean every dish, plan every vacation, and do everything 24/7/365. It blows my mind to think these amazing parents who are raising some really terrific kids.
While raising children with someone has its own challenges (Did you seriously take our children out in public wearing a striped shirt and plaid pants???) I know Aaron, Jeff and I are happy to be in a family of four instead of three.