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raising kids

A mother and daughter read before bed.

In a world where both parents usually have to work to support a child, it’s rare that a parent can spend the entire day with their kids. So, as parents, we have to do our best to be there when they need us the most.

TikTokker Sara Martinez says there are 3 key moments a day when a parent should be with their child: the three minutes after they wake up, the three minutes after they get home from school or daycare, and the three minutes before they go to bed.

Affective neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp is widely credited with the 9-minute theory. “It’s a common thread among parents, from those who stay at home and juggle countless tasks to working parents who face their own unique challenges,” Martinez told Newsweek.


Joanna Seidel, MSW, RSW, the Clinical Director and Founder of Toronto Family Therapy & Mediation Inc., says that the 9-minute practice is probably related to attachment theory. “The times the mother is referencing in the video are all significant—they are times of routine and transition—therefore moments where critical parenting is involved,” Seidel told Parents.

@iamsaramartinez

I always struggle with mom guilt and questioning if i was present enough. If this is true or not, I do find setting aside specific time to be present with my toddler (no phones out, etc) has made a positive impact. #raisingkids #parenting #parentingtips #parentingtip #childpsychology #raisingtoddlers #toddlerparents #toddlermom #presentparenting #toddlermama #raisingchildren

She adds that being present for children during these 3 key moments helps foster “security, consistency, and a meaningful presence—all of which is done to form a secure (emotional and physical) foundation for your child(ren).”

The 9-minute theory resonated with many of the moms who watched the video. “This is such a comforting theory for a working mom,” Marisa wrote. “I’m not perfect but I can try to be in THOSE 9 minutes,” Emmy added.

Family

Sweet video shows dad get emotional after taking his 3-year-old to the dentist

"She's just sitting there…and the water works start coming..."

Image pulled from Youtube video.

Parenting is full of surprises

True
What Dads Do

Parenting can be a little stressful. There's no checklist for how to do it perfectly.

As the father of two young daughters, Doyin Richards has a lot of experience in that department. Like most parents, he hopes he's doing it right. And like most parents, he has a little voice in his head that sometimes makes him second-guess his choices.

What if he's doing it wrong?


On his 3-year-old daughter's first trip to the dentist, Doyin was pretty worried she would freak out about the treatment. Of course, it turns out that the only person who lost their composure that day was him — when he realized she was totally fine and able to handle things herself.

Which made him realize that despite all his fears, he might actually be OK at this whole dad thing.

Watch Doyin try to hold it together while his daughter is totally chill at the dentist in this episode of "What Dads Do":

This article originally appeared on 08.23.16

@sadbeige/TikTok

Not everything about parenting is magical.

Parenting comes with lots of magical moments, unlocking a newfound sense of joy, love, wonder and purpose with each completed milestone. However, as any parent would tell you, it’s not a never-ending Disney movie. Far from it. In fact, many of the things parents thought they would enjoy the most about raising a family can end up being the thing they dread the most.

That’s why so many parents are loving Hayley DeRoche’s now-viral TikTok listing all those things she thought she’d love as a mom that turned out to be…a living hell, to put it mildly. As a comedy writer, DeRoche (aka “That Sad Beige Lady”) knows how to deliver some ultra relatable content in a hilariously deadpan way.

“A list of things I thought I would enjoy as a parent that actually I do not,” she says at the top of her video. “These are jokes…for legal reasons.”

First thing on DeRoche’s list of disappointments? Family dinner.


“I thought it would be a lovely bonding experience at the end of the day. Jokes on me because it is not,” she jokes. “Imagine inviting multiple wild mongoose to your dinner table. They're ravenous, but they are also immediately full because they do not like what has been placed on the table.”

“Also, they have no bones—just flopping right out of those seats. I don't know why you even have seats, honestly. Do you get to enjoy your meal at least? No. No, you don't,” she adds.

@sadbeige #parenting #parentingfail #fyp ♬ original sound - That Sad Beige Lady

Vacations are equally disappointing. “Did you know that once you have children, vacations are just ‘trips’?” DeRoche asks. Yes, I think many parents have come to know this truth the hard way.

“You will be vacating your sanity,” she jokes. “Otherwise all of the normal frustrations of parenting will be coming with you. In fact, that's probably the only thing that does get packed.”

DeRoche attests that the only true relaxation you might be lucky enough to get is “between the hours of 10 and 11 p.m.” but odds are you’ll just collapse on the bed from exhaustion, and you’ll happily take the rest because “you're gonna need it.”

Nope, not even hiking is what DeRoche thought it would be, which apparently moves at an even slower-than-glacial pace thanks to the kiddos.

“I have had some success with the Hansel and Gretel method where you take some of your trail mix and you just drop it along behind you ,and the child will eventually catch up because they want to catch up to the M&Ms. But yeah, otherwise, do not recommend,” she quips.

Also, “reading anything out loud”…not enjoyable, apparently. Though DeRoche is happy she’s passed her love of graphic novels down to her kid, lately they’ve been into reading the graphic novel “Dog Man” out loud.

This, DeRoche explains, means that all one hears is the dialogue really, since it’s basically a more nuanced picture book. Hearing dialogue with zero context “is confusing for everyone involved, including me, frankly. It's just, I don't know, it's not enjoyable."

“I don’t wanna burn books, okay? But the thought has crossed my mind,” she says.

Last but not least—and not gonna lie, this one stings a bit—is baking. Rather than a wholesome, Hallmark-worthy activity, DeRoche likened it to “A flour factory exploding in your house.”

Did this video resonate with other parents? You betcha. Many chimed in with their own rude awakenings.

“I spent my entire pregnancy and the 1st year of my son's life looking forward to spending time in the kitchen together. I hate it so so much,” one mom wrote.

“I thought I would love chaperoning field trips. NOPE,” added another.

With all the less-than-glamorous aspects of parenting, it’s no wonder that more and more people are opting out. Needless to say, raising a family is a big commitment, and many don’t view it as the ultimate outlet for happiness. Honestly, all life decisions come with pros and cons. All we can do is try to go for whatever we think will bring us the most fulfillment, and try to appreciate what manifests.

Even with family dinners, hiking, vacations and baking being ruined, DeRoche confirms that she still wouldn’t trade it for the world. In her words, she doesn’t really “hate it as a whole recipe…just some ingredients.”

By the way, there’s a part two to DeRoche’s list of parenting things she does not actually enjoy, which you can find here.

Despite the existence of thousands of parenting books and websites, no one can prepare you for the reality of raising human beings. I've often referred to motherhood as a roller coaster, in which you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and there's no map to show you what's coming around the bend. And sometimes it's excruciatingly difficult.

I love my children more than I can express, of course. That's a caveat that shouldn't need to be articulated. Unfortunately, it's one that oddly requires defending any time a mom dares to share the hard parts of parenting in an honest, in-the-moment way.

Writer and mother Suka Nasrallah shared a heartfelt Facebook post about her morning shower and how it was interrupted 67 times by one of her children. The post has gone viral, as mothers everywhere see themselves in her words. She wrote:


67 times

He called for me 67 times while I was in the shower

Mind you I started counting half way in, as a way to keep myself calm and not scream back, so surely it was more than 67 times.

But for the sake of transparency, 67 times

67 times I listened to him yell 'mama' and bang on the bathroom door

While I stood under the hot water drowning in my tears because I couldn't bear the sound of his voice anymore and I had no will to reply

I had no will to keep a conversation going while I was in the shower

I had no will to keep a conversation when I desperately needed a few minutes to myself

Because the coffee just didn't do it and it was barely 9 am

Because they had been up since 6:45 that morning shouting demands at me

All I wanted was 10 minutes to myself, but clearly that was too much to ask

67 times

Mama

Mama

Mama

Mama

Mama

67 times that word rang in my ears

This is why mothers are so touched out

This is why we stay awake so late knowing we're going to regret it in the morning

This is why we we are always quick to snap

This is why we are so sensitive

Because we are desensitized

We are numb

We are so beyond worn out

Burnt out

Drained

Struggling

Misunderstood

Being needed all the time is simply draining, and a mother never stops being needed

We have no visible finish line

#thisismotherhood

It has been many years since my own kids pounded on the door while I tried to get two minutes of peace in the bathroom. Now tweens and young adults, they're all sound asleep when I shower, but I remember those early years well. The little kid stage is adorable, but it's a LOT. And it's totally okay for a mom to say, "This moment sucks, I feel like I'm drowning."

And yet, even with many moms chiming in to say, "Yes! I've been there," some Judgey McJudgersons showed up in the comments to rail on this mom for complaining. One gentleman (ahem) even went so far as to lecture her about how motherhood requires dedication, patience, sacrifice, and love as if this mother doesn't know that and isn't hip-deep in all of those things. Others flat out said she was bad at parenting. Some presumably well-meaning but clearly amnesiac parents told her she should enjoy this time because someday she'll miss it.

I'm a parent of older kids and let me tell you I do not miss the shower interruptions and constant neediness of early childhood. I loved the toddler/preschool years for their wonder and innocence and sweetness, but there are parts that you couldn't pay me to relive. It's okay for two things to be true at once. Motherhood can be—and often is—magical and mind-blowingly hard at the same time.

And moms need to be able to vent during the hard times without people questioning their dedication to or love for their children. Nasrallah shared a follow-up post explaining that sharing the raw, real moments when motherhood is challenging doesn't in any way means she doesn't love being a mother.

I feel the need to "back-up" my recent post that has been circulating about my son calling me 67 times in the shower.

Motherhood is terrifying.

You're giving yourself whole to another person; committing to a lifelong relationship.

But somewhere in that fear, somewhere in the exhaustion, somewhere between not having the will to listen to someone calling you mama for another second, and shouting demands at you, and needing you for their survival, you'll catch a glimpse of your baby doing the sweetest thing.

You'll notice how the profile of your baby's face has become less chubby and more defined like that of a toddler.

Somewhere between the mental exhaustion and sleepless nights and these little glimpses, you'll find your heart swelling with a love so deep and so powerful that it quite literally sweeps you off your feet.

And in that exact moment you'll think to yourself, I'd do this 100 times over, just for this moment.

So yes, it's worth every sleepless night, every teething baby, every fever they may spike, every time they holler mama at you until your head is pounding.

At the end of it all, it's so very worth it.

Even when I complain and vent and say I just need to be alone, I still love my children with every ounce of my being, every bone in my body, every breath I take.

Saying I'm struggling does not, in ANY way, shape or form imply that I do not love my children. I adore them and would cross oceans for them in a heart beat.

The follow-up shouldn't have been necessary, though. We've got to stop demanding that mothers either sugarcoat the hard work of raising kids or chase every honest account of difficulty with some version of "but I swear I really do love my kids!"

Motherhood is hella hard. It's okay to say that and let it be a true statement all on its own. It's okay to share the beauty and the difficulty in equal measure. It's okay to let other mothers know they are not alone in their struggles and to let them know they are seen, even when they are staring at the shower wall, exhausted and overwhelmed and alone.

Thank you, Suka Nasrallah, for sharing that slice of truth about motherhood openly and honestly. And hang in there, mamas of little ones. It does get logistically easier. You will have time to yourself. You will sleep through the night. You will be able to use the bathroom uninterrupted.

And it's totally okay to yearn for that time to come, even while holding onto your children's childhoods as long as you can.

For more honest words about motherhood from Suka Nasrallah, check out her upcoming book, "Unfiltered Truths About Motherhood: Captive and Captivated."