Today at the pool a teenage girl called me, in her words, a “f**kng old lady”.
This was bound to happen eventually.
I’m a parent now, so things which I used to simply shrug off are no longer allowed to fly in my domain. I speak up now and do things like telling the college students to slow down in the grocery store parking lot. Or, as on today’s episode of “Life With Mother”, I told the teenagers (who were in the kiddie area of the pool, mind you) to watch out because there were a lot of little kids around. They were horsing around and smashed into us in the pool. It happens; I wasn’t mad. She apologized and I just told her to watch out because there were a lot of little kids in this part of the pool. In t minus two seconds, her attitude copped and she responded with her f’ing old lady song and dance as she walked off with her cool friends.
As I thought about it, I actually found myself a little amused at the fact that she chose those words. First, because I am not so old that I don’t also throw the f bomb around here and there as she does. And, secondly, because I’m 33. I’m not that old. In fact, I thought 33 was the new 23? Guess she didn’t get that memo.
It’s also funny to me because I feel her age on the inside, trapped in a mom’s body. I don’t want to be the old lady yelling at the kiddies. But parenting is hard and it forces you to grow up and feel the need to impart your wisdom upon younger generations.
The point of this is that the incident was the icing on the cake of what was an emotionally exhausting day.
Today was a hard day. Today was one of those days where I cried a little, threw my hands in the air and thought to myself “what am I doing?” Today was one of those days where I questioned my aptitude for parenthood. I got angry at my kids and then got angry at myself for getting angry at them. And I cried some more. I questioned my choice to leave my career and stay home. Today was one of those days where I simply felt bored and missing a challenge.
Yes, today was a hard day. Full-time motherhood is so mentally exhausting beyond what you could ever imagine when you decide to start making babies. It is an exhaustion very different than that which I knew while working. How could I have so much free time now, and be bored and exhausted all at the same time?
So, I thought about the hard days when I was a working mom. Juggling it all. I felt so many days that I could barely pull myself up out of the whirlpool-of-stuff-to-do that I couldn’t even come up for air. I couldn’t breathe sometimes. I had days where I was simply just drowning. That was hard, too, but a different kind of hard.
The key word here is different. You see, whether you are a working parent or a stay-at-home parent, the truth of the matter is that nothing comes easy. On both sides of the fence, you question yourself and feel like maybe you’re doing it all wrong. You see that blade of grass on your neighbor’s side and think it’s just a slightly brighter shade of green, and that maybe you made the wrong decision.
But none of it is easy. You’re a parent. You’re raising human beings. You have one of the most important jobs in the world: to make sure your little people don’t grow up to be a-holes. That’s a lot of pressure. There are quite a few a-holes out there; we don’t need more.
The hubs and I were discussing my very bad, awful, terrible day and as I went on and on about how maybe I just don’t do enough finger painting with my kids, he paused me and said “But, you’re there.” That grounded me.
My point in sharing this is that I’ve lived both sides of the coin now. I’ve been a career mom and now I’m a stay-at-home mom. Both are hard. Both serve you up those days full of shit sandwiches when all you feel you deserve for your hard work is a medium rare filet and a massage.
But it is important to remember that being there and striving to be the best version of yourself is the most important thing for your kids to see. Remember that none of it is easy for anyone. Remember that just because some kid calls you an f’ing old lady, it doesn’t matter because you are trying your best, and she will be old someday, too.
(P.S. Sorry, mom, for all the cussing.)
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