My Kids Can Cope With The Holiday Stress. I’m The One Who Can’t

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I’m not going to lie. I’m tired. Exhausted. Irritable. Stressed out. And the short fuse that was already considered too short, well, it just got shorter. What is it, you ask? Chronic Fatigue? PMS? SAD? Some incurable ailment? No, it’s called parenting. More specifically it’s the parenting jog that begins in September and ends rather blissfully a few short days before Christmas. In fact, at the time of writing, the break will be a few short weeks away. Did you hear that? It’s the sound of imaginary champagne bottles popping! WOOT!

But here’s the thing: Rather than indulging in a self-absorbed mommy-rant – and, believe me, I fully support the occasional outburst – I want to talk about the myriad ways in which parents are supposed to suck it up and keep it moving right along without so much as a crack in the veneer to suggest otherwise. Until we can’t.

Last week, I pretty much had it. It wasn’t until I started to openly snark about my children’s Christmas concerts that I realized I had had enough. Enough of the back-to-back colds, viruses and flu symptoms; enough of the emergency hospital room visits, which thankfully didn’t result in overnight stays; enough of the constant self-esteem routine-building reminders that often sound like auto-pilot nagging; enough of the dramas and traumas associated with developmental changes and milestones; enough of the long days which seem uncharacteristically like short days; enough of the intensely agitated mornings; enough of the revolving door of personalized menu requests; enough of the non-parents dispensing parental advice on everything from birth control to what “acceptable” womanhood looks like. ENOUGH!

The upside, of course, is that thankfully there is always an upside. Parenthood is not without its seemingly insurmountable challenges; however, as many of us were taught by our own parents, these challenges often result in reward – not on earth, mind you, but in heaven, which requires an altogether different sort of “leap of faith,” if you’ll pardon the religious metaphors. The ultimate reward is finally seeing your child master the seemingly un-master-able. But, oh, the time it takes to get there.

One of my biggest parenting challenges is patience – both “big P” and “little p” patience. It’s something I assumed I had a lot of working in a highly creative design environment since the personality types were off the charts. But the patience required for parenting is vastly different. Parenting is one of those indescribable acts. And because so much of it is personally skewed to the anecdotal – which means the stories are often played out in case-by-case scenarios – our personal experiences often seem trumped by the assumption that they are, in fact, universal.

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