Kids Suck: An Introduction to Zen Mama Mantras

Once we as parents accept our reality, it gets a lot easier to weather the storms of parenthood. It’ll never get easy, but it can get easier.

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I apologize if my title offends you, but there’s no other way to say it. Kids suck. At all ages. Babies suck. Toddlers suck. Preschoolers suck. Tweens suck. And teenagers suck.

Why?

Because people suck. And kids are small people.

However, if you’re still with me, something tells me you’re not wholeheartedly offended. No. Something tells me you too have muttered these words under your breath at least once. Perhaps you silently repeat them to yourself like a mantra to help tune out whatever diatribe is being slung your way by a disgruntled child? Yes. If you’re still reading, you too have laid in bed after shuffling bath time and potty trips and “just one more water/hug/kiss/story/song…” at bed time and wanted to cry out of desperation for a moment to yourself before your eyelids slam shut for the night. You’ve been more exhausted than you ever thought was humanly possible without being dead. You’ve had your buttons pushed more times in more ways than you can count to a point where your skin almost peeled off your body at the heat of the boiling rage you kept bottled so your kids wouldn’t suffer your explosion. You’ve violently slam texted your husband/wife/mom/dad/best friend a foot long rant dispelling every insult and cuss word you wanted to shout in their face but knew you shouldn’t.

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You too know, parenting sucks.

There’s nothing more confusing than being a parent. They can disarm you with their laughter and cripple you with their screams. They tell you they love you and you melt. They tell you they hate you and you crumble. They hug you and you fly. They turn their backs on you and slam the door and you sink. Kids suck.

Before babies, we all know parenting is difficult. We all hear about the diapers and the late-night feedings and the sleep deprivation and the crying and the feeling strapped by a little person who’s completely dependent on you. After babies, we know it’s difficult. It’s difficult in a way only a person who experiences it can really know. And even still, there are those parents who are blessed with little angel dew drops. Their babies cry only when they need something. They sleep through the night at three weeks old. They latch when being fed. They listen when corrected because they have a natural desire to please the adults around them.

Other parents aren’t so lucky. Other parents get babies who cry and cry and cry for no apparent reason. For hours. For days. For weeks. For months. Other parents get toddlers who throw things, kick, hit, bite, or bang themselves against walls when they’re told no. Other parents get children who will only eat the chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A for every meal. Other parents get children who are sensitive to light, noise, smells and shut down when they’re over stimulated. Other parents get kids who don’t sleep through the night until they’re four, who aren’t fully potty trained until five, who learn the cuss words early from big brothers or sisters and repeat them wherever they are whenever they get upset in front of whoever is present. These parents know about difficult.

(Note for the Other Parents: do not read baby books. Baby books are written for parents with angel dew drop babies. And parents with angel dew drop babies don’t need parenting books. They have little angel dew drops.)

The other parents suffer through the early years. We wipe their bottoms. We kiss their boo-boos. We nod our heads when the daycare teacher tells us for the umpteenth time our child was caught hitting/biting/kicking another child and pray she doesn’t see the tears pooling in our eyes. We promise to “handle it” when we get home knowing we’ve tried every trick and tip from every book on positive parenting and our kid is still getting the bad reports. We suffer through all this to have our teenagers cut class, ignore homework, get write-ups, detentions, suspensions, and even expulsions, and tell us they don’t care. Our teenagers who are texting/Instagramming/Snap Chatting on a phone we pay for, wearing clothes we bought, riding a skateboard or bike we paid for, and telling us to “fuck off” because we have the audacity to decline their invitation to their new drug-dealing best friend spend the night at our house. And the whole time, we ask, “When does it get easy?”

I’ve come to accept, it doesn’t. Because kids suck.

Does this sound like I’m dispelling a negative message to discourage people from being parents? Well, I’m not.

Am I being honest?

Yes.

Negative?

No.

It’s the same principle as the Buddhist philosophy that life is suffering. Only my philosophy is parenting is suffering because kids suck. Once we as parents accept our reality, it gets a lot easier to weather the storms of parenthood. It’ll never get easy, but it can get easier.

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In this day and age, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as parents, and while we are responsible for raising our children and should be involved and engaged in that role, we forget that kids aren’t robots we can plug in, turn off, and program.

I say it again, kids are small people. And people suck.

People are flawed. People have tempers. People have opinions. People question things. People disagree with other people. People are, by nature, self-centered (in that we all perceive the world from our own point of view).

And kids are people we can’t escape. They’re not like our boss or co-workers or neighbors who we can avoid if we don’t like their personality. No. We are stuck with our kids, and sometimes our kids are born with personalities that naturally clash with our own. And that sucks.

So why, if I’m not trying to discourage people from having kids would I choose to sit down and write a blog called Kids Suck? Because parents will always need help getting through the tough times. A mantra, per se, to keep them from internal combustion. I recently went through a period with my step-sons – who I will call Oldest (16) and Middle (14) – and my son – who I will call Little (6) – of extreme suffering. During our struggles, this became my life-saving mantra. It saved me from the hours of rumination over the whys.

Why are they doing this?

Why can’t I fix it?

Why don’t I know what to do?

Why can’t they just behave?

Asking myself those questions was driving me crazy because they’re unanswerable and I hate not having an answer. I hate not being able to fix something. I HATE not having control.

To save my sanity, I began answering these questions with my mantra: because kids suck.

This mantra doesn’t make the problems go away. I don’t use this mantra as an excuse to stop trying. I continue to do whatever is in my power to help when and where I can. I simply use my mantra the way a mantra is meant to be used. To help breathe through the struggle.

As a writer, I’ve also turned to my craft for help. I began writing about all the ways my kids suck as an outlet for my ranting. Now I’ve decided to share the stories of how my kids suck and the lessons I’m learning.

This blog is in no way intended to give parenting advice. I’m the furthest thing from a parenting expert, and I do not claim to know what I’m doing on any day of this journey. These are the you-are-not-alone kinds of stories meant to illustrate how I came to my conclusion that kids suck and that we can all find our zen in parenting once we accept that single fact

2 comments on “Kids Suck: An Introduction to Zen Mama Mantras”

  1. Yes! Totally!

    Kids a are the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve ever done. But when they way a hug before school, or come running to the door when I get home from work, I melt.

    No angel dew drops in my house, though some days i wish!

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