The things they don’t tell you about raising kids, is startling. The amount of information that is withheld. When someone announces that they are having kids, or says they have kids, want kids, or anything to do with kids – everyone is excited. They throw parties and celebrate, and it isn’t until you bring that screaming red head home from the hospital, do people start opening up. But by then. Its too late. You are stuck in this kid raising thing forever. And forever? Is a very long time.
Its all sunshine and roses until that first night when you realize you will never get another nights sleep. And then it is all downhill from there. I blindly assumed that once the kids were old enough to express their frustrations, and cook and fend for themselves – that life would be easy. Its been rough getting to where we are, lots of unknowns, and startling facts. Death and custody battles. And then we landed, and I kept assuming that somehow – things would become easier. Except that they didn’t. Because now that these angels can express themselves – they do.
And instead of telling a tantrum throwing three year old that no they can eat all the cookies (because you want to eat them all after they go to bed) you are arguing with a brick wall, known as a 14 year old. And some days, you wonder when the easy grounds are going to return. Only you know they never will, and somehow – you are ok with this.
But the things they never talk about, are the hard things. Like one day you will be arranging therapy instead of play dates. Or you will be visiting grave sites instead of kindergarten rooms. Or you will be pulling your hair would because you don’t know what to do. Or where to go. And just when you need some sort of help, and you turn to the know it alls – they will back off.
They say teenagers are full of confusing emotions that not even they understand – but what they don’t tell you is that one day you might walk into that confused teenagers room – and see things like blood, and empty pill containers, and things you do not want to see. What they fail to mention is that your parenting skills WILL be tested and tried and taken to the limit. And one day you will find yourself standing alone, in the middle of a crowded room wondering just WHAT you got yourself into.
What they don’t tell you is that your teenagers WILL question you. And in turn you will question yourself. And your teenager, a blood thirsty hound will smell that question on you, and tear you to shreds over it. Because that’s how teenagers are. What they don’t remind you is that you were a teenager once, and just because you survived – does not mean your teenagers will.
Instead they skip over the hard parts. They paint it as a glorious road filled with plenty of sun, and dinner at the table, and stories before bed. They paint this thing called parenthood as the highest task, the most painstaking job, and the most ungrateful work you will ever do – and yet they make it sound so appealing. Because they take out the days when you just want to fall into the hole and never be seen again.
Somehow – by becoming a parent, you magically lose all self-doubt. You will have the perfect kids, who will turn out to be the next genius, and graduate 1st grade and go straight to college. The only reason they do that? Is because they skip the rest of the years. They skip the age where they start back talking, experimenting, and eventually wind up in a hospital room. They skip the part where therapy isn’t enough, and when one kid is ok – the other kid isn’t. They skip the part where you are constantly worrying and wondering and fearing.
They skip the part about going grey early, and losing sleep because of stress and worry. They fail to mention that those parents who DID survive the kid rearing and raising days – smile, because they have been to hell and back – and still are standing. With their “precious cargo” beside them.
Those parenting books, parenting classes, and smiling pictures of happy families? Are only part of the story. The rest? Is left for you as a parent, to figure out. The unstable grounds are for you to walk, with no answers or end in sight. You sink or swim. And some days – you do both. Because you might not be doing everything right, you might not be doing anything right – but you are giving it your all, and trying your hardest…and sometimes, that’s all you can give. And all you can do, while hoping for some small miracle.