Sometimes Being a Parent Sucks

Will started eating solids at just a few months old. He’s off the charts for height. He began walking at just 9 months old and talking wasn’t far behind. In fact, Will has been ahead of the curve when it comes to just about everything.

So why I am surprised by the fact that he has apparently hit his Terrible Two’s at 18 months old?

I have to be honest with you guys, I can’t stand him right now. My son is awful and at various points over the last few weeks, I have openly hated him. Call Child & Family Services if you must, but it’s the truth.

My angelic child has gone from sleeping completely through the night to waking up 2-4 times a night. The entire reason he started sleeping through the night in the first place was because we let him cry it out. It was tough, but it worked. So naturally we tried letting him cry it out again when this rough patch began, but to no avail.

He’s not just crying when he wakes up, he’s SCREAMING! He’s doing the out of breath, wailing, body racked with sobs kind of screaming for more than an hour. MJ can sleep through that, but I can’t. So I’m left with two options: 1) Let him cry it out and listen to him cry it out without sleeping, and 2) Go get him and bring him into bed with us until he calms down. Because I need sleep, I’ve been opting for the latter. Except when I put him back in his crib he wakes up again an hour later and the whole process starts all over.

But it’s more than the sleep issue. Will is an evil little child right now. His entire existence at this point is to test his parents and see what he can get away with. He knows right from wrong. He knows what he is and isn’t allowed to touch. But he starts doing exactly what he shouldn’t be doing in order to test us and see what we’ll let him get away with. It’s maddening and exhausting.

Not to mention the sheer emotion at this age is out of control. Everything is life or death to Will right now, and he reacts like his life is ending when we tell him no. For instance, he constantly wants his little stuffed monkey. However, we don’t want him to rely too much on it so we’ve cut back his monkey time to naps and bedtime. But during the day when he makes the monkey noise to let us know he wants his toy, we tell him no, that monkey is sleeping. Well as soon as he hears “no” he goes ballistic. He literally splays himself on the floor and starts sobbing uncontrollably. He screams so hard his eyes look like they’re going to bulge out of his head. It’s as if he will not survive another second if he doesn’t get what he wants.

And this is how it is for every single solitary thing in his life right now. It’s beyond tiresome.

I know most moms get postpartum depression in the immediate days and weeks following birth. And I grant you, that’s a tough time. But I wasn’t affected by it. I think it’s because in my mind, it was a baby who had no knowledge of right and wrong or how things worked. Yeah it was tough and I was sleep deprived, but newborns are so helpless. But now? Now that kid knows some of the difference between right and wrong. He’s no longer a helpless little baby. So when I tell him no and he proceeds to slap me in the face and then giggle, it makes me crazy.

One of my favorite authors, Bill Simmons, has two young children. In one of his most recent columns, he wrote:

“Being a parent of young kids sucks. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. About six months ago, I wanted to start a Twitter account of quotes my wife screamed in the heat of those my-kids-are-driving-me-crazy-moments such as these: “If you don’t stop crying, I am going to stick you in the microwave!!!!” and “Fine, climb up the stairs again; I hope you fall down, I really do!” She wouldn’t let me because she thought child services would arrest us. The truth is, every parent snaps from time to time. We can’t help it. Our kids’ job is to suck all forms of life from us, frighten us, embarrass us in public and prevent us from sleeping until they turn 4. We pretend it’s not so bad when, really, it’s mostly horrible and even somewhat indefensible. But — and this is a big but — they parcel out just enough, “Wow, I’m so glad I had kids” moments to make it all worth it.

Bingo. Couldn’t have said it any better.

Having young kids does suck. I don’t feel like a bad parent for saying that, because it’s true. You’ve just given up all your independence and free time. You get no sleep. You rearrange your life in ways you don’t even like. You get less sex. You don’t go on vacations or have romantic weekend getaways. And you don’t have a moment off or to yourself for years.

In short, raising young kids is like playing golf. First of all, it’s an expensive undertaking. Second, unless you’re a scratch golfer, that is one frustrating sport. If you’re an average joe on the golf course, you spend most of your day cursing your terrible shots. But then, you hit one that is beautiful, straight and ends up on the green. And that shot — that one perfect moment — is enough to keep you coming back to the course in the future.

So even though I spent some of this weekend in a total meltdown cursing my son and screaming “I hate you” into my pillow while trying to get some sleep, the little guy will ultimately shoot me a smile, give me a kiss or do something so incredibly cute I can’t help but forget the past two weeks of sleepless nights and temper tantrums.

But in the meantime, don’t let anyone tell you you’re an awful parent for having moments of pure hatred toward your kids. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be human.

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15 thoughts on “Sometimes Being a Parent Sucks

  1. We also have an 18 month old and we have some friends who kept saying, “aw but she’s so wonderful” every single time I was venting about how FRUSTRATINGLY AWFUL temper tantrums and constantly wanting “up” was, not to mention the slapping and biting. And on top of it, the running around, following, and playing with at such a ridiculous rate I don’t know how she doesn’t fall into a heap exhausted every hour. And we left her with them for a weekend. After, John told us that she was exhausting, but she had been sweet the whole time. And I said, “now you know why when we come over here we let YOU follow her around” and Sarah said, “I ALWAYS think she is adorable and wonderful even when she is whining or throwing tantrums.” and part of me wanted to scream BULLSHIT and part of me wanted to hit her because she was clearly looking down on us for the fact that sometimes I think about putting her out in the yard like a dog and taking a nap. I think all parents of toddlers get frustrated sometimes. I’m not sure I would say I hate my daughter when she’s like that, but we don’t have sleep issues. I think if she was keeping me up I sure as shit would also be screaming hate into my pillow.

  2. Pick a height. Some where between 4 and 5 feet tall. Mark it off on the wall. That is the height he has to be before you can knock him the fuck out. It’s good to have goals and it’s a bit of psychological comfort. I’ve been working on a good finishing move. Not as potentially dangerous as the Tombstone or as ungainly as the Peoples Elbow.

  3. Slapping and biting? LMAO!!! I wish one of my boys would have tried me like that. There was no slapping, biting, temper tantrums or hair pulling.

  4. JEE – you are my parenting idol! 🙂

    And I won’t point out that Will slept at Grandma and Grandpa’s house last night and slept through the night like a little angel! 🙂

    This is a tough stage – perhaps the toughest. And it is okay to hate your kid for a few moments. But note it is NOT okay to tell your kids grandparents you hate him! 🙂 Just kidding, I totally understand.

  5. Both of mine started the terrible 2s at 18 months as well. With my oldest it stopped when she turned 4. My youngest is 2 1/2 so I figure I have at least another year before I can hope for ANYTHING better. I mean ANYTHING.

    And let me bitch for a moment. THUS FAR …having children has ruined my life (perhaps a bit dramatic). It destroyed my marriage (never even had an argument prior to having children – no joke). Having children 22 month apart has caused me to have a nervous breakdown (literally), rarely sleeping through the night (still), cannot go to a restaurant without breaking down into tears at some point….

    I’m now living in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment waiting for my divorce to be finalized before I can move to the country (house I can afford as a single mother)….only preparing to battle my ex as he will flip out that I’m moving 40 miles away (can’t move more than 60 miles legally). I’m scared for my life about once a week and in the meantime I’m emotionally battered by children who are a constant pain.

    I’m just NOW seeing a GLIMPSE into the good moments. My 4 1/2 year old just now will walk past me and kiss me. Or tell me she loves me. Something. Throw me a bone other than constant torture.

    So what I’m saying is it does get better. I’ve had a high price to pay. A high price. But I’m all they have so I step up to the plate.

    Why this isn’t common knowledge (raising children) I can’t imagine. People tell you it is ‘great’. What is it they say…” The hardest job you’ll ever love!!!!!” WTF is that? Who loves torture and abuse. Who loves divorce and nervous breakdowns. Who loves being sleep deprived for 6 years (in my case) before it is assumed it will get better. Aaaahhhh Good times.

    (Sorry, feeling a bit sarcastic today but you are RIGHT ON).

  6. Fear not … some day that will come sooner than you can imagine, the nest will be empty again.

  7. Beachdog – you are so right on there! Going through it now, and it has it’s good points and bad points. But you are always a parent, and anyone who thinks it gets easier – I have this bridge I want to offer you…

  8. Oh, I remember those days. Some advice – take it or leave it: Give the monkey his monkey. Who cares if he depends on it, it makes him happy. Two out of three of my kids latched on to something and while it drove us nuts to always have to know where “blankie” was (once found jammed into the toe of a hiking boot) when we left the house or it was time for sleep, it only lasts a couple of years. (Which seems like eternity from your perspective, but 13 years later isn’t so long) End that battle, it’s not worth the aggravation. As for the waking up at night, maybe he’s having night terrors or something? Maybe leave a nightlight on for him. And the meltdowns and whining were something I never tolerated. I’d send them to their rooms and tell them I didn’t want to see them until they calmed down – even if I had to sit on the other side of it and hold the door shut if they tried to come out. It’s mean but it works. It’s all about control. Will’s smart enough to realize that he should have some of it and if he keeps at it he just may get what he wants. Give him a warning to stop once and then if he continues, to the room he goes. He’ll get it eventually, I promise. It’s a nasty phase he’s going through but if you stick to your guns it won’t last long.

  9. I agree with Moo, give him the monkey. Whats it hurting? Its perfectly normal to latch on to something like that at his age. My son was addicted to his blankie, he is 5 now and so over that blankie. Also, give him a warning and then time out. I have a 20 month old terror. The fits and clinginess coming from my child right now are ridiculous but a couple minutes of calm down time in time out does the trick. Now, I just threaten time out and she shuts it. I say I can’t wait for this phase to be over, but it will always be something. Sorry for the unsolicited advice, these are the things that work for us! HTH.

  10. Man, I’ve hated my kid plenty of times during the past eight years, and I’ve never been afraid to tell people that. It’s the truth for every parent once in a while. My son was the worst at three, and I just wanted to run away most days. It got better, but five sucked ass, too. Come to think of it, eight hasn’t been a cake walk either.

    A wise friend of mine told me that small children = small problems, and so far she’s been right. What seems huge now will seem like nothing when he gets to be a smart-mouthed teen that is flunking out of school (not that Will will flunk out of school, but you know what I mean.)

    When it gets too bad, I just mumble, “The days are long, but the years are short” over and over again while I pour a giant glass of wine or hit the punching bag 😉

  11. I googled “sometimes I hate being a dad” and this came up in the search. Am I still allowed to hate it even though my son isn’t a baby or a toddler? Honestly, those stages were easier for me. My son is almost 5 and I’ve never felt more shitty as a parent, and less happy to be one. Sigh. How the hell did I get here? And how the hell do I get past it?

  12. I remember when I was little I always wanted my stuffed animals and plushies. My mom never hesitated to give me them, and I was always happy. She said I never cried ever and neither did my brother. I don’t think letting them have their comfort stuffed animals is a bad thing. It makes them feel secure for the time being and they will grow out of it naturally later on. My mom did used to get mad if my brother and I played too loudly when she was on the phone. She’d make me sit in a chair for 10 mins and if I was still bad she’d add on another 10 minutes until I listened. It worked.

  13. Sounds horrible, thank goodness I’m infertile. My question is do people have the kids knowing how awful it will be and choose to do it anyway or do they honestly not known how much it sucks? I’m curious because I’ve always thought parenthood would be sucky so I never wanted to do it. I haven’t even been around that many kids and I knew that, As early as my late teens I realized how hard it would be to be a parent.

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