12.30.2008

What IS Normal Anyway?

After reading this Ask Metafilter question: Can I give my kids back? and the resultant storm of comments, my own included, it got me to thinking.

The poster in this case has two teenaged daughters, 17 and 13, and they are both kind of mean and nasty to her a good chunk of the time right now. She is wondering whether it is normal to have moments of hating your own children.

My answer, and many others, is that yes, its normal. It isn't normal to hate your children all the time or stay up late plotting their public humiliation and downfall but yes, there are moments when they are being such horrible, horrible creatures that hate can surface.

I know my two boys aren't spiteful or malicious, yet. I know that they are having fun when they are being terrible little buggers. But the combination of tiredness, of feeling taken for granted, of waiting on them day and night, of wiping their dirty butts and dripping noses and their hyena-like laughter after dumping an entire glass of soda on the table, chair and floor can just momentarily overwhelm you. Or me.

It doesn't make you a bad parent, it makes you human.

And, I like to think, for every bad moment there are dozens of deeply endearing and wonderful beyond awesome with ecstasy whipped cream and jubiliation cherries on top moments. Like when Grady snuggles up to me on the couch and whispers "I love you, Poppa" or when he'll bring me something I've been looking for and say "Here you go, Poppa." Or when Sully runs up to me when I pick him up at daycare and throws his arms around me, wrapping his hands around my neck and nuzzling his face into me. And he will not let go.

Raising children is an exhausting rollercoaster of emotions with soaring highs and four-drink inducing lows. And it is, without a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever done or will do.
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