Tuesday, April 3, 2007

There are times when parenthood seems like nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you. - Peter de Vries

When I started this blog, I specifically stated that it wouldn't be every day, or even every week. I did, however, think it would be more often than this! However, as any parent of young children knows, my time is not really my own these days.

This quote is almost literally true for me, as I'm still nursing my wee one. She doesn't bite, exactly, but she has inflicted pain. It's more of a pulling than biting. Anyway, the wee one is definitely eating away at my time. Today it was almost impossible to put her down, and she didn't want to sleep, so she was difficult.

Her sisters weren't much better. Their toys were all over the place, and they just flat out refused to pick them up. They have been told that when things get messy, there is no TV and no computer until it's cleaned up. The problem is, they're okay with that. I mean, I'm glad they are happy to play outside, play with toys or look at books instead of a screen, but I just didn't know what to do to make them realize I was serious and that they had no choice.

But I digress. I'm meant to be discussing the quote, not sharing stories of my life. That's what my other blog is for. There are definitely times when I feel like I'm just giving every last bit of myself to people who don't appreciate it. It's part of what makes parenting very young children so difficult - what they need from you is not difficult to provide (food, love, shelter, clothing, diaper changes) but they need so much of it, so often, and they don't exactly express gratitude. I mean, when's the last time you heard a baby say, "Hey, Mom, Dad, thanks for wiping my butt" ? They do show their love and appreciation in other ways (the big smile when I come to get her after a nap, or the way she snuggles in when I hold her on my shoulder) but it makes parenting a baby or toddler very hard.

The other two can, and do, say thank you, and tell me they love me, which is wonderful. But when you feel like you're pouring your entire self into taking care of them and meeting their needs, and they respond by refusing to do anything you ask, and talking back, you start to ask yourself why you're doing this. I think that's what de Vries is getting at here. At times, you wonder why on earth you chose this path for yourself (if, in fact, you did), why you're voluntary going without sleep and adequate nutrition and showers, giving up so much of your time, sometimes giving up activities you used to enjoy, for people who don't seem to appreciate it.

I don't have an answer, really. I do know that if I had it to do over, there are things I would change about the way I parent, but I wouldn't change my decision to become a parent. I have always known that I wanted children, and while it's a lot harder and a lot more thankless than I realized it would be, it is still the most wonderful job I've ever had.

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