on balance

9:20 AM

For the sake of full disclosure and so that you are not led to believe that parenting two under two has been nothing but sunshine and rainbows, I want to tell you that it has been by far the hardest thing I have ever done and is testing me more than I thought humanly possible. I have felt every emotion on the spectrum this past month and become acutely aware of my limitations as a mother and human being. The reason I don't talk about it too much is mainly because I find that if I complain too much it just ends up putting me in a funky mood and also because often I feel like complaining about your kids or parenting is somewhat frowned upon.
So much of what I see online seems to suggest that if motherhood doesn't leave you feeling blissful and entirely fulfilled you are somehow "doing it wrong." If you don't gush about how wonderful, angelic, magical, brilliant your children are 24/7 you must hate them. If you're not constantly floating on cloud nine, because a house full of babies is just heavenly, you must be in the wrong business. Do I have days when I feel that way? Absolutely. Is every day like that? Not even close. I never know if this makes sense or not but my children bring me a kind of joy I never even knew existed while at the same time bringing me to me knees constantly. I'll be honest with you, sometimes when I'm driving in the car with them and they are both quiet I will daydream about a running off to some exotic locale with my husband where we can, if even for a little while, pretend that it's just the two of us again. I will daydream of a situation where I am not changing diapers back to back, running from room to room as I attempt to put two babies to sleep (each of them alternately waking the other one up every five minutes), doing two loads of laundry a day and living in the same pair of pajama pants all week long. Sometimes even that daydream alone seems restorative.
Here's the reason I'm sharing this though. I truly believe that feeling this way is not only ok it's normal. Something I learned while in therapy years ago was that not acknowledging or even, yes, embracing our negative feelings will somehow or other end up having unhealthy consequences on our wellbeing. As human beings we come equipped to feel and experience an entire spectrum of feelings going from the absolute worst to euphoria. Forcing yourself to live within half of that spectrum is unnatural and possibly damaging.
I grew up feeling like negative emotions such as anger, frustration or scorn were bad and must be controlled if not eradicated. This led to me walking around with such an enormous amount of resentment and unresolved feelings that by the time I hit my late teens I was an anxious basket case. It was thanks to therapy that I learned that before we can get to "I love you" or "I forgive you" or "I'm happy" sometimes we need to experience and then unpack "I hate you" or "I'm so angry" or "I'm depressed." Pretending as if the latter does not exist doesn't make those feelings go away it just channels it somewhere else until it ultimately boils over and comes out regardless. There are so many physical ailments that will shockingly disappear after therapy. I've seen it happen time after time. Because unless dealt with, that anger never goes away. Instead it becomes a headache that you can't get rid of, digestive issues, sleep problems or just feeling unwell all the time.
So what I'm saying is that it's ok as parents to feel frustrated, disappointed or just downright angry. This is a hard job, if not the most difficult job any of us will experience in our lifetime. These little cherubs can make you feel things you never thought you could - both good and bad. And I think it's so important to have at least one person in your life who can be a lifeline for you when you are feeling really tested. Someone who you feel safe with and can be vulnerable with and share not just the highlights, because it's when you allow yourself to feel whatever emotion it is that is pumping through your soul at the moment that you can begin to move on and towards a healthier and more positive emotion.
Sometimes by the end of the day I find myself wondering why we did this. Are we completely nuts? Or I feel like I simply can't do this. It's too hard. It's too much. I'm not doing a good job. I'll share this with papa bear while scarfing down yet another box of takeout and I'll find myself letting go of those feelings and instead realizing just how precious my two little tyrants are and just how much they love me. How much I love them. I will realize that's it's always going to be hard in different ways and I'll begin to recalibrate and focus on the smiles, the giggles, the hugs and cuddles and all the yumminess that comes from a life with two babies. The messes, tears and tantrums will all be forgotten and I will be overcome with peace and gratitude. Until next morning... when I'll probably be pulling my hair out by ten o'clock. And round and round we go!!

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