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Yesterday was our 8 year wedding anniversary. I told L in the morning that we were going to cook something special for Daddy and explained it was our anniversary.

Throughout the day we had some interesting conversations. Here are a few snippets:

L: Are you going to wear your married clothes for dinner?

me: You mean my wedding dress? No.

L: Why? It’s our 8 year married day!

me: Well, it’s a very fancy dress. And it doesn’t fit me anymore.

L: Oh, you got too tall?

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In the car:

L: Are you done looking in the mirror?

me: Why? What is it you want to do back there that you don’t want me to see?

L: Am I allowed to sleep in the car, or are you going to make me stay awake?

me: You can rest if you want.

L: I’m just so tired. I need to rest so I can stay awake for the dancing part after dinner.

(I have no idea where he got the idea that there would be a dancing part.)

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L: Are we going to sing “Happy Birthday?”

me: No. It’s not anyone’s birthday.

L: But it’s our 8 year married day! What will we sing?

me: I don’t know. What would you like to sing?

L: “Happy Birthday.”

me: To who?

L: Me, I guess. It’s not your birthday.

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L: I think Daddy would like Batman on his cake. And a big huge heart cookie. With frosting. And Batman on it. He told me to tell you that.

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In the end life got in the way of our special dinner. I ended up getting home after T; knowing I’d have two hungry kids in tow, he had made a big batch of scrambled eggs for everyone. I paired the eggs with Pinot Noir. L informed us when it was time for dancing. We danced. And sang.

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That NY Magazine article has me thinking. How can we change the pressures that parents, specifically moms, put on ourselves with regards to our parenting? If each of us as individuals know that parenting (sometimes) = misery, then why don’t we collectively acknowledge that? Why is it a dirty little secret?

PARENTING (sometimes) = MISERY!!!

Even when I’m virtually shouting it I feel the need to dampen the message by qualifying it with “sometimes,” lest people think I’m a bad parent who doesn’t love her kids enough. But the real truth is that it’s miserable a lot of the time. The day-to-day tasks related to taking care of (my) small children are not fun. They are not rewarding. They are not fulfilling in any way. Broadly, (very broadly), my kids are fulfilling. But this elusive feeling hits me only under specific conditions: 1) They are sleeping or in someone else’s care; 2) I am reasonably well rested; and 3) I have a glass of wine.

Why are we so secretive about this? Why does each mom have to find out all alone that it’s not what she expected, not what it’s cracked up to be? Then we each have to struggle with feeling inadequate, like we’re not doing it right, like we’re failing in a very important way because we are not loving ALL of what having children means.

My life is different; my marriage is different; my body is different. Arguably, these differences are all for the worse. Would I change it? Not have my kids? Do I regret having them? No, of course not. Why? It’s hard to explain but my best guess is because I’m crazy. There’s some evolutionary programming in there, the need to replace oneself etc, but there’s a good helping of plain ol’ crazy in there too. It is crazy to take a perfectly good life, a perfectly good marriage, and a (only in retrospect and by comparison) perfectly good body and add children into the mix.

Crazy. Crazy I tell ya.

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