The other day I heard myself saying, “Parenting never ends,” and in the same moment, thinking, but it sure gets a lot easier! A coworker was regaling me with the woes of potty-training his 2-year-old while I was sharing a logistical nightmare of having to simultaneously pick up my teenagers at three different locales. Winner of the award for Most Challenging Parenting Task? The poopy toddler! Hands-down.
Doo and I have certainly come a long way. At our darkest hour, we had four children under 7 and were providing full-time day care for our infant nephew. I say “we” to sound democratic, but in reality it was just me. God bless the YMCA, which provided two hours of free child-watching, hot showers and an exceptionally clean facility where harried moms like myself could congregate and pretend to look cool while attempting Turbo Kick.
I do not miss those days. To be sure, parenting is still daunting. I often lie awake wondering if we’ll end up dealing with a teen pregnancy or a stint in rehab. What if the twins don’t pass their driving tests (gulp)? What if they do? But I’m able to compartmentalize the concerns and then soothe my heartburn with an episode of “Stranger Things.”
But when you’re children are little, there is no escape from reality. You can’t just run to your happy place when you’re stuck in traffic with an un-diapered kid screaming “pee pee is coming!” At that point, parenting is about survival. And you must be fully, exhaustingly, present. Always.
So maybe parenting doesn’t actually get any easier, but it certainly becomes more manageable. And much less gross. Peace out.