Motherhood is hard, and no matter what anyone's Instagram feed might have you believe, no one is perfect at it. We all have our off days, our bad days, our days when we question the very reason that we decided that becoming a mom was a good idea in the first place. Those days...are hard. They suck and they follow us around like burdensome clouds of guilt constantly raining on our sunny dispositions and best efforts.
But the truth is, no matter what we do nor how much wine we keep on hand, we all have days where parenthood feels like a losing game. Every mother has had a day when she's felt like a failure. These are the days when our kids are revolting against us because their "juice isn't juicy enough," when our toddlers throw tantrums for no apparent reason, and when they suddenly decide they're picky eaters after a lifetime of being really great eaters (which was the one thing they were giving us since they're awful sleepers and woefully inconsistent potty-goers). Sometimes they'll refuse to put on pants or sit quietly for two minutes while we reclaim our clarity. Sometimes they won't even let us pee. People need to pee if they're going to be able to withstand having food thrown at them, child.
If anyone says something smug about parenting to you, or tries to convince you that all of their days are complete bliss or that they don't get what the big deal is because "parenting is so easy and so fun" please feel free to ignore them because they're lying, either to themselves or to you, and probably both (and if they aren't lying, they're being very rude by not sharing their secrets, and you should ignore rude people as well as liars). Yes, parenting is fun a lot of the time, and there definitely are some easy days, but the elation of being a parent is often countered by the difficulty of doing trying to be "perfect" at it, and that's just not realistic at all.
If anyone...tries to convince you that all of their days are complete bliss or that they don't get what the big deal is because "parenting is so easy and so fun" please feel free to ignore them because they're lying, either to themselves or to you, and probably both.
We all have our days when we want to scream and drop off our kids with anyone remotely fit of keeping them alive long enough for us to run away and try to dig up what remains of our sanity, which we have to assume is buried somewhere in the playroom. Sometimes the stars just don't align, the days just don't make sense, and they resemble something more similar to a miniature battle than a sunny walk through the park.
It happens. It's normal and it's nothing to be ashamed of. We all want to quit sometimes. It's important that we remember when we feel that way that it doesn't make us bad moms or bad women. It doesn't mean that we care less and fail more. It doesn't mean that we're not fit for the job or that we're not capable of overcoming the challenges that accompany motherhood. It doesn't mean any of these things.
We all want to quit sometimes.
It means that we're human, and that we care, both about our kids and ourselves. It means that we're trying so hard that we're mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted from giving every fiber of our being to another person. Being so depleted that you want to throw in the towel means that you're doing a damn good job. If you don't feel like parenting is taking every little bit that you have sometimes, you're probably not giving it enough. Which isn't to say that parenting should feel like it damn near kills you all the time, but I mean, it's definitely going to feel like that occasionally.
Feeling the pain of miniature failures (which are just that: tiny and completely insignificant and not things that we should lose sleep over) so deeply that we question our own worth means that we are giving our all to this whole parenting gig, and that's not easy. This job is not for the weary.
Being so depleted that you want to throw in the towel means that you're doing a damn good job. If you don't feel like parenting is taking every little bit that you have sometimes, you're probably not giving it enough.
No one said that this war would be easy. They also didn't mention that it would be covered in either urine or crackers, or that a tiny person was capable of resembling an evil dictator. No one told us that we would both love and hate moments so much that it hurt. But the most important thing that everyone neglected to tell us is that there are going to be moments, days, weeks even, when we want to just quit — and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because as a mother, you know that you will never give up, no matter how desperately you sometimes want to.
There will be days when we feel like we're hanging on by a thread, days when we don't know how we can possibly clean one more butt, or days when we want to flip our toddlers the bird because, yes, they can be a**holes sometimes. And you know what? That's totally OK because when it comes down to it we are never going to stop trying to be perfect. We're never going to stop hanging onto that thread, and we're definitely never actually going to flip our toddler's the bird (unless it's behind their back as they're refusing to eat anything other than Fruit Loops) because it's our jobs as mothers to keep on keeping on. And occasionally, find other people who are capable of keeping our kids alive long enough for us to go take a break, or a nap, or even just pee in peace.