Sometimes it can be really hard. The days can be long and brutal and really, really hard. Too much exhaustion, too little patience. Too many needs, too few hands or hours in the day. The state of being constantly on call. The hat you never get to take off. And I wouldn’t want to, not really. The reward reaped absolutely eclipses the struggle on most days. Most days I feel like I’ve risen to the occasion and earned my title. But some days, some days I just fail.
Oren has two cavities. Well, he did have two cavities. They’re filled now. But did you know that frequent nursing can lead to cavities in babies? I didn’t. I knew you shouldn’t put them to bed with a bottle – we never have. I don’t even nurse him to sleep and he’s been night weaned for months. I knew letting milk sit on their teeth while they sleep was bad news and I’ve always avoided that. He doesn’t take a pacifier and we’ve been brushing his teeth twice a day since his first little one popped through. And yet, he still has two cavities. I did not know that just nursing him on demand (which for Oren is very, very frequently still) throughout the day was so bad for his teeth. I had no idea. His pediatric dentist (which, bless his heart for doing that job by the way) said it’s as bad as letting him sip on juice all day. Which he doesn’t get either…for this very reason. Milk or water. Those have been his only choices. Ever. But even so, I still had to drag him kicking and screaming in to that dentist chair because I let his teeth start to decay. I still had to hold him down while they drilled and filled his cavities as he cried and shook and gagged and could not understand why on earth we were doing this to him. That day I failed.
Yesterday I failed too. He’s been needy and whiny and crying and fighting a cold for days. Yesterday I couldn’t stand to hear him say “mama” one more time. I was literally at the end of my rope. We both spent the afternoon crying. We both only slept 2 hours last night. I spent the whole day and night angry and frustrated with him. Today I am angry and frustrated at myself for not having more patience and compassion. For resenting that he needed me so much. And that’s not even me. I hate that I felt that way, I am ashamed.
I know we all do this, at one point or another, right?... Right?! I know no parent is perfect and we all make mistakes. But we also don’t always talk about the hard parts. The stumbles and falls and failures. Because those are important too. Those are the parts that really test you and teach you and ultimately make you a better parent, a better person. So here I am. I am telling you that it is not perfect. I am not perfect. Life is not perfect. But I am learning and growing and humbled every day to get to do this job and have those two little ones in my life. Some time s you just need to say it out loud to really hear yourself.