I think there is a little bit of hell in each stage of parenting. When they’re tiny, they cry, and cry, and cry, and you are supposed to be some kind of @#$%^& wizard to be able to tell WHICH cry it is.
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You are constantly worried about what goes bump in the night, trying to survive sleep deprivation worthy of a POW camp, never knowing what that spot is on your blouse (and being too tired to care).
When they are TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS, they are messy, smelly, potty training accidents waiting to happen. They are loud. The incessant whining makes you seriously consider packing your bags and leaving.
When they are in elementary school, there is the girl drama, the beginnings of male posturing and the heartbreaking struggles of learning how to read, doing 3rd grade math, and all the “not quite a teenager, not a little child anymore” pain.
Then comes middle school. Oy. Like, awkward. (and they smell weird TBH) You get to have the detailed “talk” with them which is SO AWFUL. You watch them take first notice of each other and their own bodies, and you panic when you realize you’re halfway done but you still have SO much you have to teach them.
Here comes high school with all its “who do I want to be,” and the “you’re so out of touch MOM” business. And relationships *GAG* that are here and gone faster than I can learn their names so we’ve quit trying. They’re having their first big failures and you want to rescue, but you don’t have time to baby them any more. You can see the end of the sand in the hourglass; you’re racing the clock.
I can’t imagine what her senior year will be like. The last of everything. Saying goodbye at COLLEGE MOVE-IN DAY. And beyond. I cry just thinking about it and we have three of these to do.
Parenting is pretty much awful.
There are also the snuggles and the miracles. And laughing at silly jokes, watching them discover their world, and conquering their own mountains; sometimes with you and sometimes on their own.
There is watching them learn to fly, helping them up when they fall, making it better with kisses and ice cream, and being present and silent when they finally open up.
Screaming with joy when they run the ball into the end zone, stick a hard stunt, throw a tumbling pass, stand at center stage, or pass that test they worked so hard on.
There is the overwhelming joy at silly songs, quiet play, watching them sleep, the spontaneous hugs, their boundless energy.
There is the tremendous chest-splitting pride when they make good choices, rescue a friend from danger, STAND UP FOR THE SMALL, play games with their siblings instead of on snapchat. Text you in the middle of the day how much they love and appreciate all you do for them.
Every stage is awful…And wonderful.