Every weekday morning when I wake up, I follow a very structured routine. Spend 5 minutes wondering why school has to start so early and trying to convince myself to roll out of bed. Pee. Wash my face. Help the kids pick out clothes, if they need me to. Help them make breakfast, if they need me to. Make myself something. Sit down at the dining room table, and read. And by read, I mean scroll through my Facebook newsfeed. I know, my time would be better spent reading newspapers, but give me a break, I just want mindless entertainment before I’ve had my coffee. Lately, it’s been kind of treaturous navigating the depths of my Facebook newsfeed, but it’s part of my rock solid routine, so I do it anyway.
I usually find the same things: tons of cat videos. Recipes. Makeup ads. Random life updates from friends, family, and acquaintances. The more than occasional political rant.
I’m used to it. I expect it. It’s aaaaaaall part of the routine.
But while I was scrolling this morning, minding my own groggy business, I got an enormous kick to the side of the head. Didn’t need the coffee to wake me up, the rage did quite fine on its own.
Nestled in between a spammy meme and a news article was a post from someone who’s name I don’t quite recognize but somehow made it onto my friend’s list. It’s not that I’ve never read or heard the exact words she’d so angrily typed out before, but my reaction to them never changes.
It was a complaint about all the parents complaining about snow days, and the statement wrapped up with this little gem:
“Why did you even HAVE kids if you don’t like spending time with them?”
Man, I swore to myself that I was going to write a funny blog this week, and maybe it’s the pain talking, but I’m feeling quite unhinged about this, and so I need to get this out while it’s fresh on my mind.
I’ve been a parent who complains about snow days. Many times. EVERY time. I’ve complained about teacher work days. I’ve even complained when my kid has the sniffles and has to stay home sick. My complaints have nothing to do with not wanting to spend time with them. It has nothing to do with not wanting them, or being unappreciative.
People who pull that statement out of their ass, and they do it often, any time you so much as say anything that isn’t laced with BS about how much you love your kids, are saying what is basically the equivalent of the favorite of children everywhere: “if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”
These things are not mutually exclusive. If I love something, someone, I don’t have to like it/them all the time. If I love something, I don’t necessarily want to exchange vows with it. Just because I complain, doesn’t mean I don’t like something.
When I complain about snow days, holidays, teacher work days, it’s not because I don’t want to spend time with my kids. I don’t know why I have to explain this, but I will, because, well, I’ve already come this far.
I complain because I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that my kids are going to spend the entire day fighting. They get along SO well when they have time apart, and I want them to get along. I want them to have time with their own friends, without each other, without me. Form their own opinions. Get a mental break from constant sibling shenanigans. I also know that when they spend this time home, it means I can’t get the shit done I need to get done. Things get behind. And yes, I like my alone time. I like the quiet. I like to be able to concentrate- and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting those things, and enjoying them when you get them. There’s no rule that says in order to really want and/or deserve your children, that you must crave to spend every single second of every day with them. That’s called smothering. I want my children to learn to be independent. I want independence.
If you’re expecting other parents to never complain, constantly be positive, enjoy every minute of parenthood, you’re asking them to be fake as fuck. It’s not realistic. It’s not going to happen. Not in real life, and not online. Cut it out and let us bitch and mourn for our lost alone time.
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