Does it get easier?

Sibling rivalry, spouse vs children rivalry, friend rivalry, chickens vs the neighborhood; life is all about conflict and coping. I asked a fellow mother, jokingly in tone but pleading in truth, “Does it get easier?”
I was thunderstruck by the harshness of her tone and directness, “It gets different, never easier.” I was hurt but she was right. It doesn’t. Parenthood, marriage, friendship, pet ownership, house maintenance, potty training… continuous effort and little to no reward or recognition other than love and affection. Some days that’s all that’s needed and others – well, other days just giving a hug feels like more effort. What once was comforting becomes a burden when your eyes feel sand blown from sleep deprivation and your body cracks and creaks from constant injury without the chance to heal so it’s no surprise that your mind begins to follow the same deterioration. Or, rather, your body follows the downward descent of your mind and your mood is exhibiting the pain of your body and mind.

You want to run away. You start to understand why Ashley Judd’s character cracks and hides herself in a hotel away from her family in The Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood and wonder why no one has created a nonprofit sanctuary for mothers. (I guess I answered my own question when I said “nonprofit”.) Is this natural? Are we suppose to feel this way? If so, why? I find it difficult to believe that we are meant, as humans, to suffer. Yet the pervasive attitude about motherhood is that you are suppose to suffer and you do so for the sake of your children. This silent martyrdom only furthers the existence of that attitude by allowing it to exist with our silent acquiescence.

We are endlessly studied and emulated by our children and every parenting article finds a way to underline that in a verbose litany of new jargon and bullet points. The criticism and guilt trips are only out performed by the Pinterest race for online parental perfection. What if we all, collectively, acknowledged that most of parenthood sucks? It’s tedious, exhausting, messy, boring, humbling, and inspiring. Never have I given so much of myself to, or been so helplessly frustrated with, someone. Now there’s two of them. This is madness…but far more manageable than before. He’s crawling so now they can annoy each other.

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