Parenting is hard.
That is both an understatement and an overstatement.
Of course it is hard. When you have the baby, you’re so concerned with late night feedings and lack of sleep and whether your boobs will work and if not are you the worst mother ever. You carefully plan your doctor’s visits and keep a record of immunizations close at hand and pop in Little Einstein videos as if they will somehow make your child the next, well, Einstein. Car seats, high chairs, soft toys, belly time, stimulating their every move, roll over, swaddle….. phew, it’s exhausting!
But at the same time, it’s not that hard. Seriously, if the child makes it through the day without catching on fire, you’ve pretty much done your job.
What new parents never think of is what comes next: School. Homework stinks. And it makes you feel like a total moron when you cannot help an 8-year-old with his homework because you cannot figure it out. And that WILL happen. Teacher conferences are also of the sucky nature, but mostly because I am kind of sarcastic (duh) and I have little if any control over the nature of the jokes that roll off my tongue, which I don’t think are as appreciated by those charged with educating my children. Like laughing when I tell her that the child has a new fondness for the word “shit.” I know it’s bad. But it’s funny too. He’s 8. It’s funny to hear an 8-year-old say “Holy shit look at that!” Of course he gets scolded when he says it, and he knows better. And of course I will support whatever punishment the school gives if he says it. And of course I will try to watch my mouth (it’s obviously where he learned it from). But it’s still funny.
I was a single mother once, and it was hard. Not that I was alone. Hank and I lived with my parents, and they hovered around him like they’d never seen another baby before. I could seriously have been missing for weeks on end, they would not have noticed. My mother has never forgiven me for eventually moving out and taking him with me.
When Jim popped into the picture, it got easier. Another person to rely on who takes on the same responsibilities. For one thing, how cool was that of him? He never looked at Hank like a “stepchild,” which is not to say that “steps” don’t love their stepchildren. But he was just a Dad from early on. Then we had George, and now it’s just a Mom and a Dad and two kids… typical family.
But like I said, parenting is hard. And while thousands of single parents out there get it done, it’s helpful to have two of you.
Case in point, we’ve had a few parenting interactions over the past week or so that have directly impacted the children. They go something like this:
Jim, behind the wheel: “There’s one coming up here.”
Jim, nodding his head to the left: “Behind that building.”
Marney, spotting it behind the building, then delivering a smack to the back seat: “SLUG BUG SILVER!”
Parenting is hard. Thank God we have each other to rely on.