Parenting: Put On Your Big Girl Panties

Okay, I have a pet peeve I’m going to share.  This last week the monster reared its ugly head again and although I try hard to be accepting and tolerant, this one is getting to me….so I am sharing with you.

Did I miss the generational memo that some knucklehead sent out that said parenting was supposed to be easy?  There seems to be this sentiment among parents today that parenting was supposed to be fun and easy and comprised of little Ken and Barbie dolls that speak on command, don’t talk back and don’t fill their diapers with the smelly stuff.  Some parents seem to be suffering under the delusion that children were supposed to be another fun night out and they seem downright resentful of the realities of parenting.  I have even started hearing a lot of grown-ups complaining that life with kids is just too tough, not what they signed up for, and a whole lot of other drivel that reeks of self indulgence.

It seems someone in my generation, or the generation shortly after, has started this rumor and there are some of my generational people and generational neighbors who have bought into this big whopper…hook line and sinker.  Lately this rumor has gained such popularity that parents are actually flocking to web sites to vent their frustrations anonymously as to how their life with children is just such a struggle.  From one parent complaining that she isn’t able to get her manicures with regularity because it interferes with her kids’ activities to another saying she just can’t stand always tending to others anymore.  One mom complained she never knew she’d lose all her free time and sometimes she opens her wine bottle and never closes it back up.  Another complaint stated that parenting is so much harder than it was in past generations?

Really?

Who started this rumor?  Who would be so gullible as to believe such a rumor?  Can they be serious?  Our generation has so much at their fingertips, so many advances, that this almost doesn’t warrant the justification of a response.  But…I would be so remiss if I did not point out at least the most obvious.  When you get down to the nitty gritty and admit it, our generation, unless they are trying to be green, doesn’t have to struggle with cloth diapers or even glass bottles.  And, as far as the parent’s complaint that there is so much more competition today to meet the pressure of excessive scheduling, I would say past generations probably had us beat in the backbone department and they also indulged the whims of their children less back then (and I say that as a child who was raised in those “days”).  Back in the “day”, parents also had a handle on the value of using the word “no”.

I have to say as well that from what I have heard and read, most of the complaints have come from parents who live a life with a spouse in the house and who do not have a child with a disability and have never once faced down a deadly disease taking hold of their child.  So, truly, what are you complaining about?

Let me please set the record straight, without any candy coating, and tell you the truth about parenting:

Parenting is hard.  Some days are messy and loud and mushy.  Of course it’s full time.  Of course it’s going to be both dirty and smelly and the little people you had such fun creating are going to be absolutely and decidedly uncivilized.  Multiply that by ten if you have boys but get used to it because that is their job.  The days are going to be long and the house is going to be consistently messy…no matter how many times you clean it up.  Whoever led you to believe that having children was simply a way to allow you to keep up with your trendy neighbors led you wildly astray.  These kids you are creating are little “people” and they did not ask to come into this world.  You chose them.  They are not props.  And, to be clear, I want to make sure I say this as well:  manicures, spa days, nights out, drinking binges, luxury vehicles, Bunco parties and ‘escape the kids’ vacations are not owed to you….they are OPTIONAL.

If you want to know what it’s like to face a real daily challenge in the parenting arena, just holler at me and I will hook you up with parents who face REAL struggles every day with children who have disabilities and diseases.  Not once have I heard these parents complain about their lack of manicures or show resentment for the all nighters they pull with their children.  They are some of the most stand up, knock your socks off parents I have ever met.  They truly wow me.  From the friend of mine who has already lost a spouse to cancer and is still battling cancer with their child… to another friend whose autistic child not only doesn’t sleep but also has daily meltdowns that last several hours long …to yet another friend whose child is nearing the teen years and is non verbal and not potty trained.

These are the only kind of parents who are allowed to vent.

  • Parents of children with disabilities are the parents who are allowed to vent.
  • Parents of children who have pure melt downs (these are NOT tantrums) that last four hours straight are allowed to vent.
  • Parents with children that do not sleep at night, because their brains will not settle, are allowed to vent.
  • Parents with children whose cognitive levels will never reach their actual age level are allowed to vent.
  • Parents with children who have physical disabilities are allowed to vent.
  • Single parents are allowed to vent.
  • Parents of children who struggle with any kind of disease are allowed to vent.

If you involve yourself in this level of parenting then by all means, vent, complain and scream out to the world because you truly face parenting challenges every single day.  The really quirky thing about this pet peeve of mine is that the parents who are “allowed” to vent…they really don’t.  They may seek solace and comfort in a trusted few friends who understand their challenges but I don’t know of one who would sit there and whine and complain about their children.  Not one.  They no doubt see the challenges in their life but the ones I know step right up and they find the smile and the humor, even the humanity of it all, before they let the inner diva start broadcasting.

I would ask the DIVA parents, before they vent anonymously…what is there really to complain about?  If your children are healthy, I am not sure I understand why you need to complain at all.  If your complaint is that you are no longer able to practice self indulgence or live a self centered life, then please put on your big girl panties, or your big boy chonies, and deal with it.  Suck it up if you must because parenting is hard work.  Welcome to life.  Give your children a parent and a role model who is a grown up and who can look past the manicures, the wine and the escape vacations to tend to your children without resentment or complaint.

Sure…we all have rough days….days are long and hard, some are even unbearable,  and that is part of parenting.  Vacations are great and we all need a break on occasion but those vacations are for AFTER everything else is taken care of.  When the children’s needs are met, then by all means, do some taking care of you.  And, next time, before you complain and whine or drink yourself into oblivion, take a look at your blessings.  Look around you at all you have and all you have been given and ask yourself what it is you are complaining about.

Okay…my pet peeve is complete.  Thank you for your patience J.

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2 responses to “Parenting: Put On Your Big Girl Panties

  1. I always say that if anyone knows a young adult who needs a reason why protected sex is a good idea, they should come to my house! I love, love, love this little rant. Parenting is hard. I never expected it to be easy, but I had no idea what I was in for. And, yeah, those who have it easier and still complain don’t really get it. I hold a bit of pity for them because when, at some point in their life, the shit hits the fan, and it will, they will understand. Love your blog – and looking forward to reading more! 🙂

    • OH, you make me giggle. Yep, I feel the same. I’ve been hearing too many adults taking pity on themselves lately. Hopefully one day they get it :). I love your blog as well. Feels like what I am reading about your autism is very much like my autism too :). I think our boys are even similar ages. Can’t wait to read some more!

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