By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
Yo, parents. Did you survive the winter school break? Holy cow. The situation was dicey around here. Two weeks, mano a mano, with three bored children under the age of nine. Surly, surly children. How did you survive, dear reader? It’s true confession time here: I let ’em vegetate. Lay, as they say, like broccoli. Before the end of our school vacation, I am ashamed to admit the depths I sank to as a parent to entertain my hellions lest they run amok.
There were so, so many screens. The children’s programming flowed like water. Nutritional rules were relaxed. Whims were indulged. I know, I know. I’m not proud. But desperate times call for desperate measures. When you’re in survival mode, you just might sink to cannibalism. And two solid weeks with my babies aged five, seven, and nine? Comparable to an Arctic circle plane crash. Anything could happen. And it did.
Yep, I’m here to once again make you feel like parent of the year. Or at least reach out in camaraderie to my other desperate, slacker parents who are simply overwhelmed most of the time. Yes, yes, I chose to have three babies in four years. I really don’t have a right to complain. But today I’m talking to the other parents out there who are also outnumbered and reduced to playing zone defense instead of man. We’re soldiers, people.
It’s hard out there for us with multiple children. And then, there’s your “special needs” kids. And I’m afraid I’ve got a couple. Dyslexia, spectrum emotional stuff. Not to mention the crackers don’t fall from the dramatic box, if you know what I mean. They are mine after all. Hilarity ensues.
So special. Case in point: how many of you had to carry your seven-year-old out to the van late to school as he kicked and screamed because he wanted an umbrella we didn’t have time to find? Anyone else have to endure daily freak-outs over brushing teeth and other basic hygiene activities? How about pulling your children off one another as they slug it out? Good, good times.
Sigh. So bear with me, darlings, because I’m writing what I’m doing. And like a lot of you, I am rearing some children. It is my number one job. And a lot of the time it feels like it is kicking my behind. Who else is chief cook and bottle washer out there?
And a big huzzah to those of you who are raising multiple children while also taking on full time employment. Holy cow, I don’t know how you do it. I am also lucky enough to make child rearing and domestic engineering my chief mission in life right now, but with apologies to the army, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love. And sometimes, let’s be honest, loathe.
Admit it! Intensive parenting is tough. It’s repetitive. It’s dirty. It’s tedious, nay, I’ll say it: boring. I’m currently and actively avoiding the daily sweep and mop of the kitchen floor by penning this little missive. I’m writing this today to salute parents everywhere and to the sleep we don’t get. A tip of the hat to every one of you who hasn’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep for five days due to nightmares and/or puking.
Yes, here’s to you, parents. For every homework tear, for every meltdown over tangled hair or clipping nails, for each wardrobe battle and wiped bottom. Here’s to all those bodily fluids that come with being a parent, no? They don’t tell you about that, folks. So many bodily fluids.
Why do we do it? On account of the love. And the really cushy retirement homes these children will eventually place us in. We knew the job was dangerous when we took it. Well, okay, there may be surprises when you’re raising more than two young children at a time. When they handed me that first little bundle there in the hospital, I truly had no idea what was to come. But I’m here to remind you it’s okay to be imperfect in this child-rearing thing. In fact, it’s to be expected an embraced.
Don’t despair the condition of your once clean and organized home! One day, we will have done our jobs with these little people. We will, egad, probably miss the chaos and the hand prints and the occasional nuclear-level skirmish. But what we get to take advantage of for the rest of their lives and ours? The love. There will always be lots of that. I’m thinking: in the end? This insanity just might be totally worth it.
McKinney resident Eliska Counce contributes a weekly column to TSB and also appears each Friday on Buzz TV with her Reel McKinney program “Square Off” with Matt Bado.