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Some Days, Parenting Just Really Sucks

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BAD PARENTING DAYS
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We've all had them: those marathon days that begin in the dark, when your kid creeps stealthily into your room way too early, demanding to watch videos before the sun comes up.

You know the days I'm talking about.

The mornings where your three-year-old refuses point-blank to walk down the stairs and demands to be carried everywhere.

The times she wants to put on an impractical poofy princess dress before breakfast.

Those longed-for afternoons when she just arbitrarily decides not to nap, and nobody in the house gets that much-needed break.

It's days like these that suck the life force right out of you as a parent. If you're anything like me, you often find yourself curled up in the fetal position in your head. Perhaps you choose to hide from your offspring in the bathroom or tucked out of sight on the stairs. You're still on the same level as your kid, inhabiting the same house, providing minimal supervision, but for three glorious minutes, you're out of the tyrant's reach.

And that's okay.

We're supposed to have these crazy-making days, of course. Our existence isn't just a series of photogenic moments strung together. No family gets to live in their social media feeds full-time. If we broadcast our unfiltered lives real-time, would anybody tune in?

In my house, we have heaps of tears and tantrums and slammed doors. And not just from the toddler. There are days when it seems to take super-human strength and patience just to make it to lunch-time.

There are weekends when I just want to watch This Is Us in peace, by myself. I don't want to play Mega Bloks or go to the park or chase my kid back and forth forever until she tires of it.

And that's okay.

Sometimes she gets sick of me, too. "You're too close, Mama," she'll say. "Go away!"

We don't often choose to share images of our low moments or our despair on Instagram, and I get that. People want to be uplifted; they want to see something positive to inspire them.

But words are different. They have the power to remind other parents that they're not alone in the struggles that are faced every day, behind closed doors, away from all the camera phones.

"Sometimes there are no silver linings to be found on these terrible, no-good days. As a parent, you just have to get through them the best you can.:

With a threenager in the house, there's nothing I enjoy more than having real conversations with other mums and dads about the shitty side of parenting. Because it does exist, despite what Facebook would have you believe.

There's something incredibly comforting about hearing other parents' tales of woe and seeing how they've come out the other side. Maybe their toddler dropped the f-bomb out of nowhere, too, or did something wildly inappropriate in public. Maybe she also has fits of rage when she can't do everything by herself, followed by heart-melting moments of cuteness that keep you perpetually off-balance.

These shared anecdotes give me reassurance that all this emotional chaos going on in my house is normal, and that it will pass. My parent friends and I feel like comrades in this ridiculous, exhausting adventure that is as beautiful as it is maddening sometimes. They confess they also tear their hair (and hearts) out on a daily basis, and it makes me feel better.

Sometimes trying to civilize a tiny human day in and day out just wears you down. Sometimes the hurricane of emotions swirling around your living room just knocks you out, and you retreat. Sometimes your heart just isn't it.

And that's okay.

Changing your kid's clothes three times before 10 a.m. while potty-training will do that to a person. It's normal to get sick of cleaning up pee puddles and explaining why coats are not optional outwear when the weather turns cool.

The truth? Sometimes there are no silver linings to be found on these terrible, no-good days. As a parent, you just have to get through them the best you can.

And that's okay.

It's during these moments that you just fake it and pretend everything is okay for her sake, because she's what matters in the end -- not this marathon, maudlin day that you can't wait to put to bed.

And you hope. You hope tomorrow with its fresh start will be different -- shorter, calmer, filled with more sunshine and less random f-bombs.

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