On some very terrible days sometimes I come frighteningly close to the line. I am so near the edge that I can visualize my hand reaching out to hit. Or in my head I am saying something horrific about my child’s persona.
I don’t do those things.
Instead what comes out of my mouth is disappointment in their behavior, my near-lunacy due to repeating the same instructions dozens of times to no avail, my attempt to cover up my inadequacies because clearly I must be doing something wrong. (Right?)
It’s loud, sometimes. I’m not proud of it. It isn’t usually effective. But damn it, I AM MAD. I am a person; I have a right to get mad! Mary Poppins is a work of fiction! (NB: Mary Poppins: not a parent.)
I hate it when people equate parenting to a regular job. It is not in the same universe as a regular job.
Of course yelling in the workplace is unacceptable, or should be. A salaried job has limited hours. Most jobs come with vacation days, sick days, and some kind of human resources department. Chances are you will be able to go to bathroom by yourself and find a few minutes’ break over the course of the day. Parenting? Maybe, maybe not; depends on the age of your kids, whether they have someplace else to be during the day, and if they’re willing to watch Sid the Science Kid at the exact moment you want to take a long bath shower have a cup of tea write a blog post in order to reconnect with the adults in your life, for sanity’s sake pee.
As an employee, if you feel taken advantage of, you have a recourse, a hierarchy of superiors to complain to, or, worse case, you quit. As an employer, you can reward or punish performance with money, the universal language of adulthood; in the worst case, you fire the employee who is not listening; not living up to expectations; is rude, demanding, or completely draining.
There is no quitting in parenting. There is no firing of your children. There are no holidays, no sick days, no protections. It is a CONSTANT (or it feels that way) barrage of demands, worries, second-guessing, and thinking from day one to the day your child leaves your house–and usually (if my parents and Taxman’s parents are typical) even beyond that. We’re not constantly on our parents’ minds, but we’re never far from their thoughts either, and now their grandchildren are added to the mix.
Parenthood is not for the faint of heart, as anyone who is a parent or has been a regular reader could tell you. It’s also not for saints. Parents are just people. They are on a crazy adventure that will last for the rest of their lives. Some days are fabulous. Some days are terrible. Most days contain bits of both.
I have never regretted parenthood for one second. But I don’t need reminders from the New York Times in order to feel guilty and inadequate; I more than cover that base myself.
My kids. Will be. Fine.