Parenting 101: Things Can Be Irritating
At the time of writing this, my son is nearly two years old and I'm feeling every day of these past two years in my bones. I absolutely love being a parent, especially being the main caretaker, but having a child has drastically changed my life. These changes have been mostly for the better, but I'm not going to lie and say the parenting experience has been all peaches and cream.
Parenting has really helped to show me where I'm lacking in life, where I should be improving, and just how irritating it can be to be a parent!
Not Having Family
My girlfriend and I haven't had a single, real day off since the day my son was born. No, I'm not exaggerating, though many people don't believe us when we say it, we have not had a day off from our son in almost two years. Perhaps it is our fault that we do not want to put him in daycare until preschool, but it most certainly isn't our fault that we have no family members capable of watching him for us.
Every time I meet someone they are surprised to hear that we haven't had a day off in nearly two years, and for some reason they are even more astonished when I give a firm "no" to the unavoidable question of "Don't you have family that could help you?!"
This is, sadly, a truth we have to live with that my girlfriend's, and my own, family are full of all different types of abusers. My mother is, by my own definition, suffering from undiagnosed narcissistic personality disorder, her husband has what I was told is bipolar schizophrenia, my oldest brother is an agoraphobic hermit with a short temper, and my youngest brother lives like a caged animal and is what I would describe as near-rabid.
As for my girlfriend's family, her mother is some sort of weird senile egotist/hoarder mix that we can't be around anymore; we can't be around her because she attempted to lie to the state and have our son taken away from us. As for her father, well, last time she heard about him he had no legs and was a "ward of the state" somewhere unbeknownst to anyone for "his own safety".
Family is so important, make sure that your kids and their kids have you to fall back on for support!
Finding Worthwhile Activities
I'll try to keep this short and simple because this section is so I can ask others to tell me what it is that they would suggest doing with young children. My son and I struggle to find things to do with one another, and this is really irritating because I don't want him watching TV and staying indoors all day. At the same time I don't want to deprive him of experiences other children will be getting, and the educational programs like Sesame Street are always acceptable viewing material.
Here's a list of activities in which we partake already:
- Play-fighting with toy swords
- Listening to all types of music, singing, and dancing
- (he loves anything with wheels) Playing with toys together
- Having interactive learning time with electronics
- Going on long walks to and from the park
- for learning together Shapes, colors, and numbers flash cards
- Sprinkler toys for the backyard
Having become a parent I've thought long and hard about what we could be doing to further our son's progression in life, and he is progressing so quick it can be hard to keep up with his demand. Yet, things that he can partake in are so limited.
I'm sure as he gets older this very short list will get longer, but as of now I have so much trouble finding a way to keep a two year old entertained without sticking him in front of the television. It is irritating that many of the places I could take him, places designed for kids, are not designed for kids who cannot fully communicate yet. If you have some suggestions for me, and anyone else with toddlers, as to activities in which we may partake, please go to the comments section and let me know how you go about entertaining toddlers!
Snobby Know-It-All Parents
My family and I, despite not having real political or social opinions, look like proverbial hippies. We dress, act, and look bohemian; when you live in the upscale suburbs, it is rare to be accepted by the "stick-up-the-butt" demographic that you find here. We like long, flowing clothes, bare feet, and to be outside even when we are supposed to be practicing things like "#SaferAtHome".
Our appearance alone is enough to scare away snobby, know-it-all parenting types, but that doesn't stop a certain vocal few from telling us how to live our lives. Mind you, I don't do or say anything I can't back up with staunch fact based in valid sciences, so in defending myself I tend to piss off these self-proclaimed "expert" parents. To be fair, them questioning me upsets me to begin with and their stuck-up and rigid lifestyle seems boring and overall limiting their capacity for experience.
God forbid I run into a Jesus-freak family who insists on preaching to me, then uses their religion to condescend to me rather than spread love; because there is no evidence for God as a deity, and there most likely never will be. I'm all for your right to express yourself, but I have the right to let you know that you're objectively wrong if you preach it to me as truth. Better to just keep your beliefs to yourself if they can't be proven to be real, and the objective evidence would prove that brainwashing is the main catalyst in the beliefs to begin with.
If you are the type to think you know better than other parents, you may be right so don't be a jerk about it. When you strive to present your beliefs as suggestions, not looking down on someone for things you perceive to be "lacking" or "regressive' in nature, you may just do someone and their family some good in the long-term. Then again, if you're the snobby type I'm referring to, I'd be surprised if you could see past your own nose to begin with and I'm most likely preaching to deaf ears.
Tantrums, Tantrums, More Tantrums
Tantrums are just a natural piece of the territory that comes with being a parent, but that doesn't mean the worst of them don't grind our gears.
My least favorite tantrum is probably the one where the diaper is full of poop, and you know changing it is going to be a veritable wrestling match. Staying calm in this situation can be so difficult, it really takes you to the limit of your patience, and when you accidentally let your grip ease up and the poop gets all over the place.... Ugh, and then the continued screaming and crying while you clean the poop off of the ground and yourself just serves to throw salt on the wound.
Coming in at a close second would have to be the tantrum with no real solution; you know, that tantrum that comes just before nap time and can last for over an hour. You go out of your way to offer juice, snacks, milk, toys, and anything else you can find just hoping that the screaming will stop, until finally you look at the clock and remember what time they usually go down for their nap. Though it hurts, the only solution I've found to this tantrum is to let them cry it out.
Stay strong, keep being patient, the tantrums always pass and there is no need to get upset!
On a scale of 1-10, how difficult would you rate parenting to be?
Let It Be!
If your child is happy, you are doing your job right! That is the only aspect of parenting that really matters, their happiness!
Keep Moving Forward
Despite how irritating being a parent can be, especially when you have no family for help and support, it is our job to keep moving forward right alongside our children. Luckily, seeing them progress in skill and intelligence, hitting those milestones earlier than others, makes it more than worth it. To be honest, I struggled to find a single thing to complain about that I wasn't exaggerating just to write this article (except the snobby parents portion, that is under-exaggerated).
Really the only reason I wrote this, the inspiration, is to see if I felt the same as other parents with bigger support systems and more privilege than myself that are always complaining; I've come to the conclusion that I actually love the struggles of being a parent and if it were any easier I don't think it'd be as much fun! Being a parent is probably my favorite job that I have ever had, it is definitely more rewarding than any other job at the very least.
My small family and I are going to keep moving forward, because with every new milestone parenting is only getting easier and more fun. I type this laughing as my son walks around with a MEGA BLOKS bag over his head, and can't help but feel I only wrote this to humor the parents who can't handle being parents.
Nonetheless, good luck out there parents! Keep pushing for a brighter future for your kids!