The thing about parenthood is that you usually feel like you are doing it wrong. Before kids, you have some kind of confidence in your abilities to navigate life. You think to yourself, “Hey, I have a job! I show up on time. My shirt is reasonably clean. I pay my rent. I eat pretty good food. I get to the gym sort of regularly. I’m kicking ass in this life thing.”
Then one day you have a baby. And life gets strangely hard. You are no longer on time, you are eating leftover chicken nuggets for breakfast and by 4 in the afternoon, you are still wearing pajamas. What the hell happened?!
Luckily, there are lots of resources for getting your life back on track. A quick google search will tell you how to get your baby sleeping better, eating better and doing whatever else better.
And as your child grows – there are even more tips and advice (usually in number form like… “The top 5 ways to manage your kids screen time!” or “The top 10 biggest mistakes when it comes to helping your kids with their homework” or “Six reasons why you should let your kids fail or else you will raise the biggest losers of all time”).
And if you click on these lists (which you probably will because those links are like crack cocaine for parents), you will read through some mediocre or maybe helpful advice which will make you feel like you are doing this parenting thing wrong.
I have many downfalls as a parent (I’d like to yell less, not worry about the mess so much and put my phone away even more) but overall I really love my kids an insane amount and think they are turning out pretty awesome. So I don’t want to constantly hear about how I’m failing all the time.
Which is why I felt a great sense of relief and happiness when I read the following quote from comedian Jim Gaffigan…
“I love being a parent and enjoy finding the humor in parenting. If you complain about how you spend your Saturdays taking your kid to birthday parties, that means you are taking your kid to birthday parties. If you complain about how hard it is to get your kid to read, it means you are trying to get your kid to read. If you are complaining about your kid not helping around the house, that means you have a fat, lazy kid. You joke about it. That’s how you deal. If parents don’t like being a parent, they don’t talk about being a parent. They are absent. And probably having a great time somewhere.”
So my friends, if you are complaining about your kids because your toddler washed his hands in toilet bowl water this morning or your 4th grader was sobbing because she got 3 minutes less of screen time than her sibling or because your kids were squabbling over who got which chair at dinner time or because someone was singing too loudly for someone else or because one certain child said, “I’m hungry” for 14 straight minutes in the car – THEN YOU ARE DOING THIS PARENTING THING RIGHT.
It means you are involved. You are passionate. You are present. You love them madly. And your kids sometimes drive you crazy.
It means you are kicking ass at being a parent.