I read this article about mommy meltdowns on Huffington Post last night and as I read I felt myself sitting up and becoming more and more irritated as I read. Not at the writer, because she (I'm assuming it was a she, but it could very likely have been a he too...it isn't cited anywhere I can find) is spot on with this article. No, I was irritated by this statement Tina Fey fielded from her physician:
"The ear-nose-and-throat doctor I see about some stress-induced canker sores offers, unsolicited, "You should have another one. I had my children at forty-one and forty-two. It's fine." Did she not hear the part about the stress-induced canker sores?"
I am the mother of two children. I have a lovely stepdaughter who is 22 years-old. She came into my life (or I came into hers...something like that) when she was 14. I also have a son who will be 4 years-old next week. My husband and I decided when we were married that we would only add one to our family. Seriously, the 18 year age difference between our two kids is plenty, thank you. But what irritates me the most about the statement from Fey's doctor is this: I hear it all the time. Why is it that people assume you need/want more kids? Is there something wrong with my family because we made the very thoughtful decision to add only one more child to it? Because our kids are 18 years apart? Because my stepdaughter has the luck to have a mom, dad, stepdad and me? Because our son Jack has a sister who is so much older than him, he doesn't remember her living at his house? We made the correct decision for our family, and have never had doubts in our minds about it.
The whole crux of the article on mommy meltdowns was to ask us parents why it was so bad to admit that parenting isn't always easy. This really makes me laugh. I can't tell you how many lunch table conversations I have with my work BFF's about how confusing/challenging/crazy parenting our kids can be. I know that when we get together with our friends who have kids, and I'm talking to the adults in the group, the conversation turns to the crazy stuff our kids do that makes us so frustrated. It is almost like a competition-who has the kid who drives the parent the most crazy! I think the media is the only place where parenting is put on a pedestal and made to seem as though it is some blissful walk through a sunny field of flowers. All of the bloggers I follow who have kids (Alice Bradley, Heather Armstrong, Rebecca Woolf, Karen Wolrond, Ree Drummond, to name a few) talk very openly about how crazy and wonderful parenthood can be. Why beat ourselves up about it?
I know that after work today I am going to take advantage of this beautiful weather and walk outside for a while before picking up my son from the sitter's. Who knows what dinner will be. At some point I know the chorus of "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy" will make me crazy and I'll have to seek refuge somewhere. By the time bedtime rolls around I'll tuck him in and read him a book with some good snuggling. When all is said and done, parenting isn't terrible, but it isn't easy either. It just is. And someday our kids will become adults and our relationships with them will be completely new and different. But this is the job we all signed up for. We made decisions, make PBJ sandwiches, give kisses, get sticky-handed hugs, and wipe away tears. We're all parents and it's our job. Too bad the media hasn't caught on to that yet.