Sunday, August 18, 2013

The syrupy sweetness and sticky mess of parenthood

 I've been told I give a fresh, real take on parenting; that I don’t sugarcoat the reality of the journey that is parenthood and they appreciated that. I appreciate the compliment; however, I read a lot of other parenting blogs and while yes maybe some do sugarcoat it, many of them don’t so maybe it’s the sugarcoated posts on facebook? Whichever the case, I can’t really speak for other people though so here’s my take on the syrupy sweetness and sticky mess of this gig they call parenthood.

This blog is our family journey and when we revisit it later in life with my older, hopefully mature girls I want to be able to remember the truth of these crazy early years. It’s not always pretty. Some day they’re going to be mothers themselves, and now as a mother myself, when I look back at my sisters and I at this age with my own mother, I have this romanticized, sugarcoated image of how she did it all so flawlessly. Isn’t it later in life when we look back at our own mothers that we see them in this supermom image that we find impossible to mimic?  I’m sure my mother did not feel like Mrs. Jones when she was up to her elbows in poopy cloth diapers, breaking up fights between three little girls, taking care of us three and the house all day by herself while my father worked long hours, and I’m pretty sure she probably wanted to lock herself in a room for a good cry every now and then like the rest of us. But the thing I’ve found about motherhood is that those sticky messes are quickly forgiven and it’s those syrupy sweet moments we trap in our memories and hearts for safe keeping. Hopefully like myself my girls will remember the sweet moments of their young mother, but the not so sweet will be here to remember that the journey isn’t always so pretty. Somedays I want to cry and scream in frustration; somedays my children drive me absolutely nuts!

Maybe social media like facebook does provide us the opportunity to romanticize motherhood and gives us all false expectations of how we should feel and do things. I think almost every mother I know has at some point has proudly posted on facebook how she traded her party nights in for her wonderful children and her thin, younger, sexier body for warrior stretch marks she now wears proudly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe I agree with that most days, but I’m not going to lie. Yes, I gave up my party nights for two beautiful girls I love more than anything, but I’d trade those comfy mom panties in to dig sexy out of the back of the underwear drawer for a night on the dance floor, partying again with my husband for a night before crawling back into my old body in bed next to my four year old. I'm pretty sure there are days my husband misses that girl too. I wish for my younger, thinner body many more days than I care to admit. The muffin top look and stretch marks doesn't exactly shout sexy. We all moved forward in this journey called life to the next chapter of parenthood, but why do we pretend that every once in awhile we don’t miss the girl we were before motherhood?   Motherhood is stressful, exhausting, as far from easy as you can get, and there’s no escape once you’re here! J

But I know even though my parenting isn’t perfect and never will be, that I’ve made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes, I know without a doubt I love my kids so much it hurts. Even though I miss the days before kids every once in awhile, I would never trade them (I’ll take a time travel trip back to it for a night though). The love you feel for your child is an overpowering emotion that even words can’t do justice to. To love your child beyond anything you ever imagined possible is a fear that stops you cold sometimes. I realized this the other night while watching my girls at the carnival. Parenthood is not perfect, pretty, or always happy, but it has its moments that just captures your heart like no other. Sometimes it’s their giggles, the way your children love one another, the way they put their complete trust into you, but as I was watching their little faces light up with delight the other night, I was struck cold with fear. I saw my daughter there standing excitedly holding her dad’s hand as they waited to ride an adult ride together because she was tall enough, I saw my other daughter with the biggest smile on her face as she got to finally ride a kiddie ride with her big sister, and out of nowhere I remembered the parents of Newton, CT, the parents who wouldn’t get to experience moments like this with their lost child anymore. All too often I catch myself fearful with the realization that they’re not mine forever. I often wonder if this gut wretching fear paralyzes other parents out of the blue sometimes. They are a gift and God can call any of us back at any time and separate us and the moments of syrupy sweetness will be just that. Moments in time to remember and treasure. And maybe when we see the so called sugarcoated version of parenting it’s just someone doing their best to capture and savior the beautiful moments in this sometimes messy journey. No matter what the future brings them, it's those beautiful so sweet moments that they want to hold onto forever. We love our children so much it hurts because we really truly can’t imagine a life without them ; they are our worlds, and we fear the unknown future and all the threats that lurk out there in the real world that they get closer and closer to every day. Maybe some are guilty of sugarcoating or highlighting the best of life on social media, but I don't see that as such a bad thing.

Some of us are the glass is half full people so we should never take it personally or even feel guilty about our own choices, parenting, life, whatever because of some else’s “sugarcoated” version of parenting or anything else for that matter. It’s okay to share and focus on the beautiful, joyous things on any journey. Life and parenting is hard so why not sugarcoat it when we can; aren't all beautiful moments worth sharing and treasuring?

I like to think of myself as more of a positive rather than negative person, but not every moment is sweet and enjoyable and that is every mother’s reality. So on here is our journey-sometimes it’s so sweet it hurts and sometimes it’s a sticky mess that makes me want to scream or cry, but I always try to keep it real.

                                                     I thank God every day for these girls.
                              I think He knows even on the nutty days I still see them as a blessing.


  1. I agree with you Angela, parenting is not always perfect but I won't trade it with anything else in this world. Just tonight, I watched a news about a ship collision here in the Philippines and I just couldn't help it but feel what the moms there are feeling. One mom in particular lost her baby when she jumped off from the sinking ship holding her baby but something hit her arm and she accidentally dropped her baby to the sea. She wasn't able to save her.. So sad...

  2. Some blogs I read just blow my mind as to how "perfect" they portray their lives. Like their kids never have a meltdown because the cereal is in the wrong color bowl. I look forward to reading your blog. Thanks for keeping it real.

  3. Great analogy! Parenting is messy, sticky, but oh so sweet and worth it. Social media, and blogs make it easy to just highlight the good. Bad day, meltdown, don't type it out and hit send. But as a reader, when all you see is positive posts it can feel daunting. As parents we do not have all the answers and I swear we are just looking for reassurances that we are doing well. We judge ourselves and we judge others, most of the time it is unintentional. We just want to feel like we are doing the best we can as parents, and there is no manual!

  4. I feel that way as well, I want to be able to look back on my blog or show it to my children one day and I want it to be the truth, not only the great moments, but all of the moments, and while some are sicky sweet, some are more sour than lemons. That's life, and while some people still don't want to admit or show that life is not all cookies and cream, I have noticed more and more lately especially in the blogosphere that more and more people have began telling it like it well done for that :-)