I sent my toddler away for a bit.
Not to boarding school or anything like that. Just for a little vacay while Mommy took a staycay. Daddy had to leave town on business and we cooked up a deal where Grandma and Auntie would meet them to care for the little princess. One glorious week. The big littles would be at school all day and I would be living large. Tackling tasks like it’s my job (because it is).
Day one, I rolled up my sleeves and cleaned the whole house. Not the spray-and-wipe kind of clean. Just the laundry-in-one-spot, books-on-shelves, dishes-in-cupboards, it’s-safe-to-open-the-blinds kind of clean. There were no little tootsies tailing me around the house undoing my doing.
Day two, I pulled out my project. The project I’d put off for three years and had been waiting for this day to begin.
Day three, I was antsy and interrupted by prior commitments.
Day four, I could feel the week closing in. It was time to get serious about my goals.
Minutes later the school called. Someone was coming home for the day. Expectations busted.
The kid came home and it turns out, I’d picked him up for a runny nose and THAT WAS IT. He immediately involved himself in a project that required 110% of my attention and my computer. The crem-de-la-crem was the 20 minute argument about if am and pm switched at 12:00 or 1:00 (he was “positive” 12:00 am occurs at noon). Diagrams were drawn. Explanations were insisted. Voices were raised. Nothing was settled. My staycay was in a hostile take over situation!
Add to that, in four days time, I’d dragged kids out the door 14 times. We were late 13 of those times. Bedtime was successful zero out of four times. Meals were a bust. One kid had “the worst day ever” and is still recovering. One kid assaulted another kid at a birthday party in a most unexpected scene.
Here I’d thought my parenting stress all boiled down to the toddler.
I was dead wrong.
The toddler was just the sparkly icing on a multi-layer cake. This parenting thing was hard no matter what.
There was no easy age and no easy stage.
There was no easy number of children.
There was no easy child.
There is no easy parenting.
Every moment is fraught with danger, be it a climbing toddler, a careless youngster (or, one of these days, a teen driver.) Every day is a flurry of emotions, be it a hungry infant, a disappointed grade-schooler, or a hurting youth. Every stage is full of fearful firsts and sentimental lasts. Every decision brings uncertainty, trust, and consequence. Some words are ignored and other words stored. Each battle which must be chosen may in fact be a no-win.
This gig is a doosy! It’ll make you crazy if you take yourself too seriously. But it’ll destroy you if you don’t take it seriously enough. See what I mean? It’s a real head-scratcher!
Kids don’t listen when you need them to and they have incredible hearing when you hope they are out of earshot. Kids struggle with the rules but throw fits when you break one. Kids are hungry unless it’s meal time. Kids want to be left alone, unless you do leave them alone. Kids need more sleep than imaginable yet won’t go to bed, wake up too early, and refuse to take naps.
Kids are a big bundle of confusing. And it’s our job to untangle them and love them every step of the way.
No vacay or staycay will change that one bit.