Parenting is hard. Let me express that.

woman-1043030_1920 (1)I posted one morning on FB, as I’ve done many times before, about my struggles with parenting– a whole list of things that make parenting particularly challenging for me. It was pretty cathartic to say those things “aloud,” but as I got to the end, I felt the need to make it more palatable, to drop some sugary prose on the end like, “But parenting is also wonderful and grand and blah, blah, blah.” And I actually did it. I typed up a quick, cute little something so no one would accuse me of not being grateful for my children or not enjoying the journey. ‘Cus, ya now, God forbid a mother doesn’t enjoy parenthood every second of every day.

But you know what, I took that ish off! Because though it was true (parenting is great and so are children), the road is not smooth and it does not always feel good. And that prickly discomfort is what I wanted to communicate, NOT the warm fuzzies that come at other times. But for some reason, mothers are made to feel bad for not always enjoying the ride. We’re supposed to grin and bear and act like our mystical ties to our children blot out the magnitude of this task. They don’t. I love my children in an unimaginable way and thank God for them daily, but that love and thankfulness don’t temper the strain and friction of being responsible for a tiny person’s life. It’s tough, and I should be able to say that without feeling like I’m doing something wrong.

And so I did. I said what I wanted to say in the way I wanted to say it and drowned out the voices that whispered, “Shame on you for being other than happy. Shame on you for not presenting yourself in the expected way.” As I submerged those voices and muffled their condemning cries, I was left with a silence that allowed me to feel ok about not feeling ok.

We all need that. We all need to be able to say, “These kids are getting on ALL my nerves and I’m ready to blow,” without someone else saying, “Oh, but children are so precious. Be thankful.” Sigh. Yes, I know children are precious, but sometimes they fight and lie and break things and whine and don’t listen and disturb my peace and make my left eye twitch just a little. And when that happens, I’m not thinking about how precious they are. I’m thinking about how lucky they are that I choose not to use corporal punishment. I’m also thinking about what room I can lock myself in just to get some space. And then it passes and I’m able to function again. But I need my moment. Don’t deny me that.

It is downright oppressive to condition mothers to bury our feelings under a forced smile. Even though most people are trying to help by reminding us of the good, it feels like judgment and it feels like we’ve done something wrong for sharing how we feel.

For those who are wondering, a better response would be to say, “I know how that feels/I’ve been there.” Or maybe you don’t know how it feels and haven’t been there. In that case, just say, “That sounds tough. Hope it gets better.” Silence works too. Sometimes just saying it aloud does wonders. We don’t always need a response. Aside from HELP and support, all we need is the space to truly feel and process the full range of emotions parenting produces.

~Nadirah Angail

photo credit: Yery Yheoun

7 thoughts on “Parenting is hard. Let me express that.

  1. nadirah July 1, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Na, thanks for keeping it all the way real! The mother-guilt is constant–even in my own head!

    • N. Angail July 1, 2016 / 8:27 pm

      Hey!!! I miss you! Girl, that guilt is the pits. We need to ditch it!

  2. Rae July 1, 2016 / 8:55 pm

    Love Love LOVE this post! I have an extra burden with sharing these sentiments sometimes because I am raising children that I didn’t give birth to FULL-TIME. So instead of “Children are precious!”, I get “You knew what you were getting into!” Oddly enough I get the latter from people without children (lol). Mothers have been my greatest support system yet!

    Nonetheless, I appreciate this post for sharing the truth!

    • N. Angail July 2, 2016 / 12:02 am

      I can imagine the non-bio part makes it even harder because you dont want it to seem like you regret the decision you made. Glad youve got support! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ayisha Abdul-Salaam July 2, 2016 / 4:44 am

    Ameen; thank you. May Allah make it easier and more noticeably rewarding for us parents in this Life, insha’allah.–Ramadan Mubarak

  4. Angela J July 8, 2016 / 4:27 am

    Amen and Amen again! I’m so proud you took that sugary ish off because this parenting thing is not always sugary!!! HA! Real talk, we have to stop shaming moms for feeling what they feel. I GET this! I own my feelings of triumph and despair as a mom. Thank you for your boldness!!!!!

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