My go to word in describing parenting is relentless. My baby daughter, ungrateful and miserable, can cry at me at least ten times today, what feels like 70 percent of the day, beating me down further and further into defeat. The relentlessness is daunting.

You’re review is in. Fifty percent of today will not meet with her satisfaction and, according to her, you suck at parenting.

My top seven words to embody my experience with motherhood are:

  1. Chaos
  2. Temperance
  3. Perseverance
  4. Relentless
  5. Confusion
  6. Patience
  7. Exhaustion
At the grocery store years ago on

All problems could be solved, you think, if only I had their money or their family. Those people with their 5 extra family members to spread out the stress of the 16 plus hours a-grueling-day of care-taking and giving. If only I had their time and money to buy nicer clothing to cover up my ever-widening butt until I could hire that trainer to help me widdle it down. For now, I wear my ill-fitting sweats, placing my greying thinning hair into something up-ish. My nails and cuticles dry and ragged for lack of care. I have that look of survival and neglect. That wild look that says I’ve thought about fleeing in my fantasies. The dull look of disbelief that this will get better no matter how many times people insist it will. Beaten and hopeless is all the rage in the truthful Mommy circles.

If only I had the money to buy a SUV that I could comfortably load and buckle my child into without having the rain soak my back. Then I’d slip into the front seat and drive smoothly away to drop my privileged child off at that member of the care-taking team whose day it was to take them. Or I’d hire a housekeeper/child care-taking person as a stunt double so I could escape and make art or do lunch or have beauty salon time. Where’s my miracle money? My large ever-loving family? Where’s my get out of hardship free card?

Baby Fiona on

No I won’t be looking forward to “taking care of myself” with a kale and flax smoothie tonight. Instead I’m thinking of making pasta with gravy, cheese, and deep-fried potatoes and a side of beef so that I can feel an ounce and moment of comfort that I never feel in my day-to-day existence. Wash it down with a 12oz glass of Shiraz and pray I can stay awake to watch any escapism television.

Why is it wrong to want it to be easier than this? To want the release of the hardship and grinding daily agony. I want to feel light and unencumbered. I want privilege instead of lack. I want a child who doesn’t make me constantly feel like I’m failing her. I want to stand here in the winner’s circle and not the survivor’s circle. Like my mother did. Like hers before her. Because deep down I don’t believe there’s any other way for it to be but hard.

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  1. Oh how I remember those days! But here’s the mommy secret…Breathe. Take a deep breath and let go. A moment of peace gives us the strength to move forward as we guide these passionate, determined souls through the preschool years. As someone once told me, the days are long and the years fly by, and as I live with my oldest about to graduate college and get married and my youngest go off to his first paying job, I can tell you no truer words were spoken. So, hang on and keep doing your best. It’s all you’ve got and whether you know it or not, it’s enough and so are you.

    1. Thank you Karen. I am trying very hard to maintain perspective but after spending three days in a row with my little redhead, I do need a break. Tweaking my schedule and grabbing more of what I need when I can is helpful. Your friend’s quote is perfect. Thank you for the perspective.

  2. I love your words. And you totally rock. I had to learn to let go of guilt to survive my trauma, though I’m not free of it… Those years are so taxing…there is a recovery from that, too. <3

    1. So sad that we have to think of toddlerhood as something we have to recover from but it is traumatic. Thanks for the hope booster!

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