It’s a good thing babies are cute.

You talkin' to me?

Because sometimes, when Sweet Pea has been whining ALL DAY LONG, and my husband is stuck at work on a huge project, the urge to run away to Canada is very strong.  One of the biggest things that no one tells you before you have children is that it’s hard.  Like, really hard.  I think I had it in my head that quitting my job to stay home with Sweet Pea would be a piece of cake.  I could have the house clean at all times, work on our photography business, cook gourmet meals on a budget, and still have time to knit and do fun things.  On top of all that, I would be the ideal parent, nurturing Sweet Pea’s self esteem and providing intellectual stimulation that would one day lead to her winning a Nobel Prize or curing AIDS.

What was I thinking?

I’m lucky these days if I can go to the bathroom, let alone do laundry before we completely run out of underwear or edit a couple of photos. The only thing I’ve done with any regularity over the last seven months is read.  I’ve probably read an average of three books per week since Sweet Pea was born, because it’s something to do when you don’t get cable and you think the neighbors are going to call the police because the baby screams bloody murder every time you try to lay her down in her crib.  Although the situation is slowly improving, I often spend my days in our recliner (best invention ever), reading while rocking Sweet Pea through her latest bout of crankiness.

I’ve read everything from books about the evils of fast food, to how to perfect your photographic lighting, to what fertilizers are best for my perennials, to your average girl-meets-boy-meets-another girl-meets-first girl’s fist.  I must say that I heart our library system.  It lets me put books on hold from the comfort of my home computer, then I can pick them up at my convenience at the library of my choice.  Not to mention it’s saved me thousands of dollars on books.  Too bad you can’t organize your entire life like that.  I’m waiting for Walmart to invent a personal shopping system where I can select my items, then someone else would trek through the store comparing prices and wait in line for 30 minutes because only one of the 50 lanes is open.  But I digress.

I feel so guilty most of the time.  No one tells you that you’ll want to run away sometimes, or that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed.  If you read parenting magazines, everyone disciplines with reason, feeds their children organic unprocessed food, limits TV to one hour per week, and provides constant educational stimulation.  But that doesn’t happen in the real world.  Well, maybe a few people.  I hate them.

The saving grace is that there are many wonderful things about being a parent too.  Sweet Pea’s tuft of hair that sticks up first thing in the morning.  Watching my husband play with our daughter on the floor.  Getting slobbery kisses on my cheek.  Breathing in the baby smell and feeling tiny fingers tickling my neck in her sleep.  Amazement at the fact that our parents know this side of us that we’ll never remember.  My mom told me that parenthood is doing the best you can at the time, and not worrying about what could have been or what other people think.  Sometimes I feel like a bad parent because things aren’t perfect, but at least I’m trying.  I think it’s when you stop trying that you should worry.

I wonder how close I could get to Canada on one tank of gas?

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