Kids are a hot topic in blogging these days. The older millennials (that’s me) have all popped out a couple and we’re too hip and with it to give up our internet presences to concentrate on the little snot machines every waking minute of every waking day. We feel guilty about that. Mommy blogging bridges the void space between good parenting and attention whoring by moving our narcissistic picture-taking onto someone else who can’t read and thereby can’t sue for a cut of the profits.
My kids aren’t old enough to be doing anything interesting in my opinion, but when I look out into the blogsphere I see tons of first time moms with three-month olds capitalizing on their functioning genitals to share their feelings about how “transformative” having a child is.
Bitch, no shit.
The very act of combining your juice with someone else’s juice to make a third, independent and unique juice creature is the definition of transformative. Abraca-fuckin’-dabra. That being said, it’s still not special. We are, after all, living beings, and living beings have to propagate somehow. We don’t asexually divide, we have sex and multiply. There is nothing about this process worthy of the millions of words my generation as poured out into the universe describing what as literally happened since the beginning of life on Earth.
There is no great moral transformation that accompanies parenthood, but reading your average mommy blog would give you the exact opposite opinion. Stupid people, violent people, and even evil people the world over have kids. Breeding in and of itself is not the exclusive realm of “decent folk” who never spank, never raise their voice, and never feed their kids processed gluten food products. Believe me. I know.
It’s quite possible and very common to resent your kids on some level from the day they are born. Loving the little shits has nothing to do with it! Matters of timing, economic security, or the quality of your relationship with the in-laws can be enough to make the child you love so deeply become a target for your pent-up frustration and anger. There’s something about their helpless, innocent, screaming faces that will bring out the worst in you when you are your weakest self, and yes, it even happens if your kid is named Skylar and you live in a 2.2 million dollar brownstone in ever so trendy Brooklyn, NY. Eventually, you will yell, you will scream, and if you’re like the vast majority of the human race, you will hit.
Then, when the red clears and the blood stops pounding in your ears you’ll marvel at your monstrous transformation and be tempted to blame your kid to escape the shame of it.
My advice? Don’t.
Little Ashton really didn’t deserve your fit of temper, no matter how may times they repeated their request for organic kale chips and another Sudoku puzzle. All you just experienced was this thing called “the last nerve” being stepped on by one too young and innocent to understand. Take a deep breath. Scream in a pillow. Cry in a corner. Then, when you can, get up, hold your baby and apologize for being so scary and mean. Be honest about the raw emotion your little just took the brunt of. Be vulnerable in your shame. Be available to be loved and love in return.
Then tomorrow, when the same bills are piled up, your significant other says something snotty which cuts you deeply, and your stupid mother in law won’t back the fuck up and stop judging your struggles instead of helping you through them, you’ll remember that hug and that apology when your kid is driving you bonkers. It may not stop you from lashing out again, but it will give you the strength to be better than you were before.
It may take years to heal yourself enough to parent without anger, especially if your parents didn’t have the forethought to name you something gender neutral and raise you on organic and free range groceries the way you’re caring for your precious little snowflake. You might, gasp, have a real temper and really struggle to learn basic self-control. That’s alright. Learn it now. Let them see you fall down. Let them see you admit you need to grow up. One day, those little balls of forgiveness and love will remember you trying to be a better person. That memory might give them the strength to try to be better themselves one day when they really need it.
Our kids are unfortunately the targets of so much of our own brokenness. It’s a sad, unfair reality. That reality won’t change unless we as individuals make an attempt each morning to be the best we can be. Perfection isn’t the point, honesty and vulnerability is. We’re trying to be what our children already are: honest, open, forgivable.
The secret is that kids don’t break easily. If you love your kids, and you own up to your mistakes with them and with yourself, chances are that you won’t cause nearly as much damage as you might be afraid you’re doing.