I’m exhausted. I’m trapped. I’m a mom. Nobody warned me how difficult parenting would be.
In the wee hours of the morning, my daughter crept into my room, her quiet nudge startling me awake. I moved over and let her crawl in, not wanting to wake up before the sun rises. But now, here I am, wide-awake and trapped, with a snoozing child draped over me. I knew there would be sleepless nights when I had a baby, but nearly five years later, I’m still exhausted. It’s something I never expected.
Nobody told me parenting would be a lifelong struggle at times.
As I try to adjust without waking my child, I feel my body sinking further into the pillow beneath me. I close my eyes and think of the busy schedule that awaits me. Take daughter to preschool. Pick up daughter at preschool. Take daughter to daycare. Prep dinner. Clean house. Go to work. Stop home for dinner. Go back to work. It’s enough to make my heart race with anxiety. Deep breath, exhale. Deep breath, exhale. Everything always gets done…somehow.
Nobody told me parenting would include days where I’m just praying I can stay afloat.
As I listen to my daughter’s gentle breathing, I wonder how such a tiny, sweet girl can drive me so crazy at times. It’s the times when we’re running late and she insists on tying her own shoes. Or the zero-to-meltdown in a matter of seconds when I say “no” to chocolate for breakfast. This sleeping child drives me nuts, enough that I want to scream…or hide in the bathroom and cry.
Nobody told me there would be days I wonder whether I am truly qualified to be a parent.
After what feels like an eternity, I feel my child’s arms slowly move. Her eyes open to a squint, her mind foggy and confused as to where she is. She wraps her arms around me with a squeeze and quietly whispers, “Mommy, I love you.”
Parenting is hard, it’s frustrating and it tests our patience. There are days when I want to pull my hair out, where I feel like I am failing my child. But here’s the thing—there is no textbook on being a perfect parent. It’s all trial and error, mixed with tears, laughter, sadness and smiles.
As I lay here holding my daughter in the wee hours of the morning, she doesn’t see the stress or the frustration or the guilt that comes with being a parent. She sees a mother who would do anything for her and who loves her unconditionally. I don’t always do everything right as a parent, but in my daughter’s eyes, I’m the best mother of all. And that means I’m doing alright.