A little harsh? Yeah, I know. But I’m serious. I do hate it. Just like I’d hate being a teacher, or a daycare worker, or a dance instructor, or a tee ball coach. I am not a born nurturer. I have to work hard at it. And I’ve been working for nineteen years. I feel like Charlotte from Sex and the City, if “he” were actually rest and relaxation and being able to do what I want for a change.
I’m afraid I’m all used up. Dry like a well in the Dust Bowl circa 1930.
Being with kids all day, attending to their constant needs and wants, splitting up fights over toys, bottles, blankets and breathing space, trying to decipher their adorable yet sometimes tiresome gibberish, makes me exhausted!
I just don’t like dealing with children. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I enjoy them, most of the time. I’m even fond of their friends, for a little while. But the constant wearing down of little people is getting to me. They are the Colorado River and I am the Grand Canyon. And not the beautiful sunset part. No, the deep dark recesses way at the bottom. Beware: Don’t fall in!
And you know what? I don’t feel guilty about it anymore. So I’m not Mother Teresa. Who is? I’m more like Mary Poppins crossed with Medusa on a bad day. But hey, you’ll still get that spoonful of sugar! Not everyone was destined to be June Cleaver. And we need to get over the notion that we should be!
What’s important is not whether that maternal instinct to spend every second playing with kids exists inside us, but what we do about it. We all have bad days, and sometimes it feels like there’s more bad than good. But we have to keep trying. If I don’t sit on the floor stacking Duplos all day, but I’ve managed to get through the afternoon without screaming at everyone and giving myself a stress headache, well that’s a win! I’m never going to be the mom that plans crafts and playtime and gives my kids unlimited attention. I have shit to do. But I will give them unconditional love, discipline when they need it, my attention when I can (and sometimes when I can’t), and I’ll keep trying to do better. Every. Single. Day.