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The RIGHT Thing to Say to the Stressed Out Parent

sleepy2There isn’t a number big enough to account for all the times I have heard “It goes by so fast!” during my years in the trenches of parenthood. There also isn’t a number large enough to account for all the times I’d just spent up all night with a screaming/sick/whiny/defiant child, where the closest I’d come to a makeout sesh with my pillow is when I used it as a makeshift Boppy and my kid shat on it, and the days seemed to just crawl by where I literally counted down the minutes that felt like hours until bed time where I’d just be up all night again- that that particular statement made me want to punch someone square in the face. I don’t consider myself a violent person, but seriously, I’d never wanted to just haul off and junkpunch a person more.

People have this weird habit of trying to be supportive, but just sounding like backhanded cheerleaders. They mean well, of course, but to the overworked under-slept parent, it comes off sounding condescending as hell.
I know that sounds ungrateful, people just want to pat you on the back and try to let you know that it’s going to be okay, and how dare we parents try to make something ugly out of that (as if people don’t think we feel entitled enough as it stands, what with the news reports lately and the comments section full of comments saying that we should just “make sacrifices” and “stay home” instead of “subjecting” innocent people to our kids “bad” behavior, or our “bad” parenting)? Sometimes, as humans, we just don’t WANT encouragement. Yes, we KNOW we can do it. At the end of the day, we KNOW. We aren’t always seeking validation, or a pat on the back. We’re not looking for advice, or words you’d typically find on a greeting card.

It goes by so fast! – why do you have to remind me that my kid is growing up quickly and soon they won’t be my baby anymore?

They grow up too fast! Just stop. They grow up at the same rate as everyone else, and you saying that only makes me panicky, like I have to cram as much as humanly possible into every single day, and helicopter over everything, and that just makes me the “crazy” parent.

Can you believe they’re almost (insert age that sounds REALLYFUCKINGOLD to you here)? NO, I CAN’T AND I DON’T WANT TO!

Before you know it, they’ll be driving/dating/getting married/having their own babies/moving out/going to college! Look, I’m pretty sure I’m going to know it when they’re doing these things. I hope. But still. I have plenty of time to pretend I am preparing myself, so don’t try to make it sound like I’ll wake up tomorrow with a full grown adult in a goddamn business suit popping out triplets.

And the dreaded, my least favorite- You’ll miss that when they get older! Why yes, I DID order a side of guilt today for thinking my child’s face-melting public tantrum/obnoxious clingy-ness/calling me to wipe their butts/changing blowout diapers/being up all hours of the day and night is horrible. Thank you EVER so much!

So, then, what SHOULD people say to parents to avoid possible fists to the face or punches to the junk? The answer, in my opinion, is simple. Give it to them REAL. Stop being so fucking fluffy about it. Don’t try to coyly tell a parent to calm the eff down by suggesting they’ll “miss” the wonderful particular stage their child is going through when it passes. Think back to when YOU were in the thick of it. Was it all bubblegum and butterflies? Do you REALLY look fondly back on seedy diarrhea and chunky baby vom?

I know it SUCKS right now, but one day, maybe FAR in the future, you’ll look back on this and smile. You’re not gonna miss this shit, but you’ll laugh. Not every part of parenthood is fun, hell, a LOT of it isn’t- but you’re making memories. The ones you can bring up at future family gatherings to embarrass your shitty kids with.

And THAT, my friends, is how you both comfort and subdue the stressed out and harried parent. Simple!

Posted on April 23, 2015 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment
Holdin' Holden

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  • Hysterical!!! So true…I can’t tell you how many times I have thought the same tangent run through my head, but I just smiled and nodded, because really…what else can you do in the moment. 🙂