First of all, parenting is not like climbing Mt. Everest. Climbing Mt. Everest is an intense, gargantuan task that a teeny tiny portion of the population undertakes. You have to be a very specialized kind of person to even attempt, much less succeed, in achieving the summit. Having children is a normal biological and cultural part of life. People all over the world in all kinds of situations have children. Saying parenting is like climbing the world's tallest mountain sounds like something an anti-child or anti-family person would say, not like something a mom ought to say. And even if the technicalities of the analogy were better suited, using the words pain, drudgery, exhausting, treacherous, and killer to describe parenting is...sad at best.
Of course there are hard times with parenting. Duh. That's not news to anyone, Glennon Melton. Just like it's not news that climbing Mt. Everest is hard. People who choose to climb Mt. Everest do so because they really want to, and because they actually do enjoy climbing mountains, despite how intense and hard it is. It is possible to enjoy things that are hard, you know. And when people remind you that it's possible, you can stomp your foot and say, "I don't want to be told to enjoy my children! I want to not feel guilty for complaining about them!" Or you can take a deep breath, laugh at the craziness of kids, and hope that one day, you will look back on parenting just as fondly as the little old ladies do--regardless of the antics of your children.
Luke is still little--just 16 months. There have been trying times (last night's scream-instead-of-sleep included), but I recognize that there are probably slightly zanier times ahead. The 2-3 year old range is full of adventure. I know this from experience with kids, but particularly from the Facebook of my friend Erin, who has 3 children (just like Glennon Melton. Hmm.) Her updates about her little son Liam are pretty epic. Her string of statuses about the artwork of her little Poo-casso made me laugh out loud. So did her longing for a mini straight-jacket and her admission that she had sewn Liam into his pajamas. So did her recent advice to check the oven for toys before turning it on. And this status from Thursday was SO FUNNY: "Just opened the fridge to find one of Liam's shoes shoved down into a container full of hummus."
I love Erin's updates because it never feels like she is complaining about her children. Is it fun to scrape a melted toy from your oven? No, especially when you were probably trying to make dinner. Is hummus kind of pricey and is it annoying to have it be wasted? Yes. Does anyone want to clean up poo smeared on the wall? Heavens no! But I can tell that Erin is laughing about the mayhem and that she absolutely loves her children. There is a lightness and a joy to the way she writes about her kids, and I love that. I find it uplifting.
I get the feeling that if Erin were confronted by the same identical check-out line situation that Glennon Melton described, she probably wouldn't even have been phased by it. It certainly wouldn't have prompted her to write a fairly whiny blog post about old women with good intentions. In fact, Erin's most recent grocery shopping adventure was Wednesday, and she posted about it with the same good humor she always does:
Let's see...I was examining a bag of clementines to make sure none of them were bad when out of the corner of my eye I saw Liam stand up in the seat part of our cart. He had somehow managed to shimmy his way out of the buckle, he looked at me and grinned before taking a flying leap out of the cart an on to me. Mind you, I had Rhys in a carrier strapped to my chest. I caught him (somehow...), but when he jumped, he pushed off of the cart with his feet sending it flying backward into the (apparently unsteady) display of blueberries sending them flying all over the place....and I do mean ALL over the place.
Personally, I hope that when Luke gets into more mischievous stages, that I will be able to laugh about it, like Erin. And I certainly hope that unlike Glennon Melton, my favorite part of the day as a mother is never when the kids are put to bed.