I know, it’s common knowledge that parenting is a tough job. And more and more people out in the interwebs are willing to admit that being a mom is not always sunshine and kisses. There are days, weeks, even months where you feel like you aren’t going to make it. Where you feel like they made a mistake and gave you the wrong kid. Where you think there was a clerical error in the parenting degree department and you really failed that qualification test. (What’s that you say? They don’t actually have tests? Well. Perhaps they should.)
I admit to having moments where I changed my mind. Hell, I changed my mind when I was in labor. “Um. You want me to what? Screw you guys. I’m going home.”
I came dangerously close to losing it completely during the first few months with two kids under two, when one of them was beating her head against the wall (she was autistic, we just didn’t know it yet) and the other screamed night and day because she had that lovely unspecified wonder that is colic.
Some of the issues are expected, the sleepless nights and the crying. The tantrums and the terrible twos. Some of them, not so much. People don’t usually talk about the ‘roids, and the please-don’t-do-that-in-public conversations.
As the kids get older, the problems change. You get to sleep more usually, but you have to deal with a whole new range of problems. How do you deal with a bully at school? What about when they have their first broken heart? Not to mention algebra.
Most of this, the spoken and the unspoken, is common to most parents. There are some difficulties specific to special needs parents, but generally, they are shared among other parents of kids with similar problems. And if you google just about any problem, you’ll probably find a blog somewhere written by someone who has been through it before. You are not alone.
Sometimes, I feel a little bit isolated over here though.
Lately, the impending holidays have been giving me some interesting new problems to deal with. For instance: How do you explain to a child who is constantly bombarded with Christmas, that she does not get to celebrate it the way everyone else does? That there will be no Santa? How do you make her feel that her holiday will be just as special and magical as everyone else, even without the Fat Man? How do you keep her from feeling left out? How do you buy things your kid will love while avoiding all of the shitty plastic toys being pushed on little girls today? (Speaking of shitty plastic toys, save the indie toys)
And how do you shop for kids without having any idea what they already have, what they like, or what size they wear? Do you send them gift cards or cash, as impersonal and depressing as that seems? What do you do when you have no idea if they will even get the gifts you send, or if they do, know they are from you? (A few years back, I got to take them shopping during my one visit per year I was allowed. We let them point out things they liked. and went back later to get them. We dropped them off at his mothers house the next morning, where I found she had gone out after we left for the evening, and bought and given them the exact things they picked out, even though she knew I had already bought them. Just to take away the one thing I was able to do for them that year. And another year, I was told they were not given my letters because the pictures of Myself and their sister might have made them feel bad.) What do you do if you fear their father will take any cash or gift cards you send them and use it on himself? Do you send nothing, knowing that it will only be used against you later?
Sigh. Parenting is hard. Need better manual. Need help.