Edit: This is not about something that I posted on social media, just some general posts that I’ve seen and responses to them. I am fine, doing great with my two kids. I love a snow day with my girls. This is just addressing the issue of those who don’t love snow days and maybe some reasons we should stop judging them. Many people don’t know what I’ve struggled with and how it has changed my family. How hard it was. How if I had posted something about being stuck with Ali the first year of my daughter’s life when daycare was cancelled how I would have been so hurt if someone said I should be happy to be with my little girl all day and how absurd it was that I was her parent and didn’t want to spend more time with her. (This didn’t happen. She didn’t go to daycare.) I agree with the ideals that many Americans have are not very family-centered, at least not in comparison to many countries, but this isn’t really about that. It’s about being quick to judge.
To the mom that’s judging me,
Tomorrow is a snow day where I live and some people are bummed that they are “stuck” at home with their kids. Some say this and don’t mean a damn thing by it except that they probably won’t be able to leave the house and they will probably be with people under four feet tall. Others would rather be working or doing something else that doesn’t involve their mini-me hanging on their legs, getting sticky goo all over them, and accompanying them on every bathroom trip they take. Some people get on their soap boxes in response to this, because if you don’t want to spend all day shut in your house with your minions—I mean kids, you shouldn’t be a parent. I mean, you are obviously doing it wrong.
I’m just going to say it.
I’m doing it wrong.
Sometimes I need a break from my kids.
And they are wonderful kids.
I’m so grateful that I get to spend my days with my girls, but Aliana (my 3 year old) only goes to school one “full” day and one half day each week and that’s my only “break” and I still have Breysi (my 10 month old). There are times when she can’t go to school for whatever reason and it’s a little bit disheartening, not because I don’t love her and want to spend time with her, but because sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I need a “me moment”. Sometimes that’s what helps me keep it together. Sometimes I get to sit by myself, or with my baby, and pray. Sometimes I get to read. Sometimes I get to think. Some days, I even get to have adult conversation with another *gasp* adult. I need my time to “myself” (by that I mean with only one child attached to me).
Some people overshare their issues and air all of their dirty laundry on social media, and maybe they shouldn’t, but we may never know the reasons behind their feelings about being “stuck” at home. Maybe it was just a pour choice of words and they just meant they wouldn’t be leaving the house. Maybe they need a day off. Maybe they had a rough weekend and work seems like cake compared to taking on the two year old. I have no idea, but I won’t be judging.
The whole first year after I had Aliana I felt “stuck” at home with her. I had severe postpartum depression, probably borderline postpartum psychosis. I lost my job when I got diagnosed with preeclampsia and put on bedrest, ya know, to possibly save my life. After I had her I was just “stuck” with her constantly. Aliana & Mommy. Mommy & Aliana. Everywhere I went, especially when I was at church, people asked me about how amazing the love that poured out of me for her was and wasn’t it the best thing in the world that I could ever experience..
and I wanted to scream…
Because what would they think if I told them that I didn’t feel any of that and I didn’t understand what they were talking about?
I would just kind of nod unenthusiastically because I didn’t feel it. I felt terrible. And people telling me about all the things I was supposed to feel just made it worse. I felt so guilty. I loved my daughter like a duty, giving her all that I had, but I didn’t feel any emotional connection to her until she was about one year old, maybe a little bit older. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. I felt so stuck. She felt like a burden. She was my first and only child. She was beautiful. She was perfect. I was emotionally distant just trying to make it through each day. There were days I didn’t think I would make it. Days I yearned for someone to take her away from me. Days I was strong. Days i was weak. Days that I cried. Days I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. Days that I didn’t want to try.
I didn’t understand the outpouring of love and the emotional connection that you could have to your child until Breysi was born and I felt it immediately. It was different. So special. So amazing. Life altering. No wonder people talk about it so much, but how absolutely horrible that I didn’t feel it before. How terrifying. How sad for those that have never felt that instant connection, and there are many. I’m not alone in this.
I say all that to say this, sometimes you have no idea what people are going through or the reasons why they don’t want to be “stuck” with their kids. Sometimes they just need a break. Maybe venting on social media isn’t the best way to go about it, but maybe someone’s world is crumbling because they just needed a day and now you are calling them out on their parenting.. Why do you do this? To make yourself feel like a better parent than they are? Let me tell you, I’m a great mom, but I’m not a perfect mom.
I make mistake after mistake. I need God’s grace & I need it CONSTANTLY. Ultimately, I need Him. Do you know why I consider myself a great mom? Because I look to Him. Because I know I need Him. Because it’s not my strength, it’s His.
Please, think about what you are saying. I will do my best to do the same. People say things without thinking all of the time. They make exaggerated statements about their kids because they are tired and just need to breathe. They just need a moment of peace. Or maybe they are terrible parents, but I doubt your generalizations about them will make them into better parents. So shut up. Back off. Stop preaching at “bad parents”. Just breathe. Offer to help them with their children. Ask if they need a coffee to get them through their work done during the evening since they may have had something important to do the next day at work and they will now have to spend all night doing it because of the snow day and then face their kids all day after an all nighter. Ask them how you can help.
And then help them.
And remember that we all struggle with different things. Being a parent doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It’s hard. It’s so hard.
Sometimes I have to put on my oxygen mask first and then offer assistance… because if I don’t, I won’t be around to offer assistance.