It's a fact that the long journey that is known as parenting is far from easy. To even suggest that it might be in even the slightest is seen as a massive insult to every parent who works hard to give their children the best life possible. Yet whenever you scroll through Facebook, Instagram or any other popular social media platform, all you're likely to see is a façade that's based on perfection and happiness. Happy kids playing without a care in the world, and their parents look on with pure joy etched onto their face. It's cute, but it doesn't happen all too often in real life.
Meanwhile, the ugly reality of parenting is typically depicted in a more humourous manner. This includes parents showing photos of themselves before they have kids, and then another that shows them after the fact. You may also see funny photos of a living room so messy, you'd think a bomb had gone off to spray all the kids' toys about. Memes are abundant as well, depicted gross and ugly parenting moments from either pop culture or real life. Why is this side of parenting not shown in the same manner as the moments of perfection?
Of course, most parents are smart enough to see right through the carefully timed and posed photos plastered on Instagram. But until you become a parent, you won't be able to fully grasp just how hard parenting is. It's hard on an emotional, physical, and even spiritual level. No amount of reading books, scouring the Internet and talking to loved ones and fellow parents alike can truly prepare you for the mess that is parenting. All you can do is experience everything first-hand- and hold on for the ride. Meanwhile, your kids are oblivious to all of the above.
Parenting can leave you so exhausted that you might even break parenting rules that you once swore you'd never break. The most popular is letting your young child play with a device like an iPad just to keep them quiet for an hour or so. After all, there's only so many times you can listen to children's music during the commute to school before you're ready to bang your head on the steering wheel. But your child doesn't care- all they care about is being entertained.
Doing such a thing can make you feel guilty. After all, you want to be the best parent you can be without facing the scrutiny of fellow parents. But if you were to chat with fellow parents- be it with either family or friends- you may learn that they've seen the ugly side of parenting, too. Heck, you may come to find out that they relate to some of your problems! Having a strong support group who won't judge you if your kids get a new toy just to keep them quiet.
When you take a long hard look at the ugly side of parenting, it could make you feel tempted to tell your children all about it one day. Because right now, parents typically hide this truth from their kids when they're young. While honesty both ways is important, you don't want your kids to worry about you- that's not their job. It's a decision to may have to make eventually, but not quickly.
In the meantime, it's important to accept that parenting isn't all about Pinterest-worthy kids' lunches, picture-perfect back to school photos, and matching outfits for the whole family. Most times it's about resolving fights between siblings, making sure everyone gets where they need to be on time, and accepting the fact that parenting can feel like a massive mess. Also, remember that taking time for yourself is important, too. Get that manicure or go out for a late-night dinner with your friends to recharge those batteries. It'll help you feel refreshed so you get back to parenting at full force- the good, the bad, and the ugly.