I have a very vivid memory of being a new mother, laying my son down in his crib with one fantasy in my mind. Of hopping a Greyhound bus and getting the hell out of dodge. I remember the fantasy was just that, a fantasy.
At the time, I remember getting immense pleasure from imagining myself, sneaking off in the cloak of darkness, buying my Greyhound ticket with an old shabby suitcase in hand and watching all my struggles of becoming a parent vanish out the window as we drove out of Vermont.
Let me tell you folks, that fantasy was way more enticing to me at that time than any sex with a celebrity fantasy.
The nights he was crying uncontrollably, there I was on my Greyhound bus. The days and weeks and months I struggled with breastfeeding, there I was on my Greyhound bus. And then there were the financial struggles that we went through trying to make our parenting choices work, Greyhound bus all the way.
I remember waking up in the morning and actually saying to myself,
“Well, if this day is the worst day of my life, then there’s always the Greyhound bus.”
My fantasy was never an airplane, the cost of an airplane ticket at that time was TOO much of a fantasy. My Greyhound bus was thrifty and I didn’t even mind imagining having to sit near the bathroom. The fact that I was moving away from all of my troubles was ecstasy enough.
The days marched on and as you can tell, I never did pull a Kramer Vs. Kramer and blow this popsicle stand. But I would be lying if I said that bus didn’t come in and out of my mind in the triple… or maybe quadruple digits.
As I’ve talked to more and more parents, I’ve come to realize, I wasn’t the only one to feel like that, especially starting off.
But look at us.
We did it or are doing it. We are making our way through every single day. We aren’t hopping that Greyhound bus.
This is the reason it makes me sad, when I hear parents put themselves down for not doing x, y or z. I’ve heard it all. I’ve felt it all too.
I’m not breastfeeding enough or at all. I want to breastfeed past a year. I don’t give my kids organic all the time or at all. I can’t afford vacations. I don’t have the energy to entertain my kids all day. I let my kids watch television. I’m a working parent. I’m a stay at home parent. My kids aren’t potty trained yet. My kids don’t like reading. I don’t like reading. I don’t socialize my kids enough. My kid acted out in school and I worry it’s a bad reflection on me.
I’ve heard it all.
Do we understand how sad this is? Can we not see how hard this is for each and everyone of us?
Louis C.K. said it best when he said, “this is the one job you can’t quit.”
Damn, was he right. We can’t quit it and we don’t. We get up every morning, knowing full well this day is going to be chaos. Our kids our chaos. Nothing is going to go as we plan it, nothing. It starts the minute they’re conceived and only gets worse. The chaos. The not knowing. The struggle. The heart walking outside the body. The worry. The never ending judging. The questioning.
Can we all just stop? Can we all just see that none of us has jumped on a Greyhound bus and taken the actual easy route?
We are all good parents because we are trying, end of story.
Are you feeding your kids? Are you loving your kids? Are you providing a safe a place for your kids? Those three things are your job and that’s it. Don’t let anyone try to tell you there’s more to this than that.
After that it’s just rearranging deck chairs on a cruise line… or maybe it’s a war ship, depending on the day.
You are doing amazing.
I’m with you.
You’re not alone.
But when these kids are out on their own, you can bet I’m hopping at Greyhound and getting the hell out of here for a few weeks.