Being a parent means loving your children and treating them with kindness even when they are a**holes, because you are also an a**hole who deserves kindness.
Being a parent means giving yourself as much grace as you would give your best friend if she called you in tears, saying “I JUST CAN’T ANYMORE, I’M EATING CHOCOLATE CHIPS OUT OF THE BAG, AND I JUST HEARD A CRASH, AND I DON’T EVEN WANT TO GO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED.” You would tell her that the chocolate chips taste so much better if you dip a peanut butter-covered spoon into the bag. You would remind her that motherhood is an impossible task, and she is entitled to whatever will get her through the afternoon, so long as it won’t get her arrested.
Being a parent means forgiving your child’s transgressions over and over again, but forgiving yourself never seems to get easier. It means extending the same grace to your spouse that you would want for yourself if you were in the middle of an existential crisis and forgot to pack the kid’s lunches.
Being a parent means sometimes missing being young and stupid and not caring what the tanning bed was doing to your skin. It means looking at old photos and wishing you could run your hands through your husband’s hair just one more time before it all fell out.
Being a parent means accepting yourself as you are, because parenthood brings out the very best and the very worst in us. It means accepting your child for who he is and not who you think he should be.
Parenthood means your genitals get stepped on and sometimes you get knocked in the head so hard that your mother-in-law has to rush you to the emergency room. It is busted lips and hurt feelings and whispered apologies.
Being a parent means that you wake up every morning and mentally brace yourself for whatever the next 12 hours will bring, because there is no way to prepare for or predict what may happen.
Parenthood is a planner’s worst nightmare.
It means that nothing is permanent, including the marker that your child used to decorate your living room walls. Sometimes even permanent teeth are not so permanent.
It means the pediatric dentist is on speed dial.
It means that teething and tantrums and all of the terrible phases eventually do come to an end, always just before you are carted away in a straight jacket.
It means that one day you will look in the mirror at your son as he’s brushing his teeth and you see a man who is almost taller than you, and it takes your breath away.
It means that you cry at weird and inappropriate times for reasons you are unable to fully explain.
Parenthood means seeing all of your biggest hopes and dreams crash and burn and reincarnate into something more beautiful than you ever imagined. It is like standing in front of a canvas as a brilliant artist slings paint around — you can’t tell what the hell is happening, but you know it’s going to be amazing when it’s finished.
It is exhaustion and elation and everything in between in the span of 30 minutes.
It is beautiful.
It is ugly.
It is so, so worth it.