They say when you have kids you learn to pick your battles. You decide if something you once thought of as a big deal, is really that big of a deal. You realize that some things just arent going to happen, and that’s ok. You learn to adapt. You change. You prioritize. Things that were once big deals, no longer are. And things that once didn’t even register on your radar – are now major parts of your life. Its just how it is, they say. When you become a parent you learn to make certain things count – and other things you brush off. You don’t cry over spilled milk anymore. You cant. Because if you did – you would be crying all day long.
But sometimes – hypothetically speaking – you have to cry over spilled milk.
Because sometimes, those things you never thought were supposed to be a big deal – are. And sometimes, you face things you never imagined having to face. You walk your daughter to through the cancer ward at the hospital, because she has the unthinkable. You attend a funeral with the smallest coffin known to man – because that cancer ward didn’t hold true to its promise. You hold the hands of other kids, who arent your own, and parent them like you think you should, even though you really have no idea how or what you are doing. And sometimes, you have just cleaned up one too many cups of spilled milk.
Sometimes, you walk into the office of the schools, and dread hearing what they are going to say. You hear the words “Failing” and “Struggling” and “Antisocial” and you know why, and what the correct protocol is, you just don’t know what else TO do, because you have already DONE that and BEEN there. Sometimes you see the bus drive by, and hope with everything in you that your kid is on that bus because he has been known to miss it. And then you have to drive around trying to locate him, because that morning you had a fight with him and he threatened running away. Again. And you really don’t want to go looking again, because quite frankly, you are tired of wiping up that spilled milk.
Sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut in the sake of keep the lines of communication open, and sometimes you have to open your mouth – even though you know what you are about to say is not going to be received openly. Sometimes you have to jump when they say sit, and sit when they say jump, and run when they say walk. Sometimes you have to bend the rules, break the ground, and plow ahead even though the future looks so bleak and dark. And sometimes…you beg to have just one more glass of milk to clean. Because atleast you can fix that.
You just don’t know what to do. Because everyone says something different, and your mind is telling you something completely opposite of what everyone who “knows best” is already saying, and sometimes you have to make choices you later regret. Because you are a parent. And you don’t always know best. You don’t always know what to do, you don’t always know what you are doing. But you have small, and not so small, people looking to you for direction, even if they wont admit to it. And you have bigger people watching you waiting for you to screw up, and this kid raising stuff is hard, and kids don’t get that, and adults don’t get that. And other parents don’t understand your battles, and you don’t understand theirs – and instead of simply offering an ear, or a rag (to clean up that damn milk) they judge.
They scoff. They laugh. They point. They say “I told you so” and “you should have” or “you shouldn’t have.” They judge because you do something one way – when its quite possible you HAVE to do it that way because it just ISNT possible for you to physically of mentally do it the other way – for some reason that maybe only you know. They judge because you arent like them, and your kids arent as good as theirs. Or because you arent the typical family, with the white picket fences, and big SUV.
But sometimes, I wish that everyone would just stop. And think. And realize. That maybe. Just maybe. There is a madness behind it all. Maybe that wasn’t just a glass of milk that spilled, maybe that was the THIRD glass of freaking milk, and now there is none left and the kid who spilled it was pitching a fit just so they could have THAT glass, and you are tired and frustrated from a long day and know that you shouldn’t give in, because that will just make things worse but you know that if you don’t the battle will drag on and on and on, and you realize that maybe it just doesn’t matter that maybe “they” are right, that maybe it is just milk. And so against your better judgment, you give into those scoffing voices that surround you, and you cave. You give that last glass to the kid throwing a fit – and instead of drinking it – he dumps it. And then laughs.
Because that’s how life is.
That’s how kid raising goes.
No one knows anything more than you do, and yet in a lame, pathetic attempt to make themselves feel better, they put others down, by attacking the one area that no one knows anything about – parenting.
Next time you see someone, wiping up whatever their glass of spilled milk may be and you are tempted to think to yourself the old familiar saying of “There is no use crying over spilled milk” why not stop, grab a rag, and join in – in the muddiest, hardest trenches of parenthood. Simply being there, can mean a lot more than saying some old clichéd words that might just break someone who is already down.