You’ve probably heard of the show, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” It aired on Discovery or something a few years back, and chronicled stories of people who survived crazy situations where, you guessed it, they shouldn’t be alive to detail their experience. Stories like people being stuck in cars buried in snow banks for 5 days in subzero temperatures, surviving off a couple of old jelly bellies for food and using a box of maxi pads for warmth.
Many days, by the end of the day, I feel like I could be on that show, but for some reason I don’t think I could pull in the same kind of ratings by sitting in front of a camera and saying, “I shouldn’t be alive, because today I took two 2-year-olds to the beach, and they got into a slapping match, and then one of them spit watermelon on me, and the other pooped their pants because they were so mad that we only saw 3 trains. And then I had to listen to Raffi sing the Dreidel song on repeat for literally 30 minutes while I drove home in crazy Mad Max-style lunch traffic. But somehow I managed to get in some good play, get them home, clean them up, feed them lunch AND get them both down for naps. I shouldn’t be alive, but I am.”
Now I get it. To many people, this reads with the emotional punch of a grocery list. Finding themselves at the end, they either think, “Aaaaand?” or “WHY CAN’T SHE JUST STOP COMPLAINING?!” I hear you. Either you get it, or you don’t. People with calm, easy, quiet kids (those exist, right?) won’t understand this. People who don’t have kids likely won’t understand this. But this isn’t meant for them. This is meant for people who read this and think, “That was hard,” because that was hard.
And so, today I salute you, fellow parents of toddlers who more closely resemble rabid chimps than tiny human beings. I salute you for surviving the tedium, and repetitiveness of playing “stack the blocks, NO NOT THAT BLOCK” for 2 hours with no water break. I applaud your patience and your ability to remain calm while one (or more) mini-humans scream and thrash about anywhere they see fit, for no apparent reason, for however long they desire, until you can either distract them with a yogurt tube or a well-timed fire truck passing. I congratulate you on not only physically withstanding the impressive number of 4-finger-karate-pokes you just received to the jugular, after removing the much coveted cigarette butt from your toddler’s hand, but also admire your keen environmental sense for depositing said butt into the trash can, mid-violent throat poke.
Yes, I salute you. And even more? I don’t judge you for doing whatever the hell it is you need to do to get through the day.
I say we band together, and air our dirty laundry in a place where we can all see it and hopefully feel better. Because at the end of the day, even when it feels like We Shouldn’t Be Alive, somehow we still are. So let’s hear it. Who’s got a “I Survived Parenting Today” story? Or better yet, do you know someone who should be recognized for surviving what can only be described as an impossible trip to the grocery store for peanut butter that they ended up forgetting? Send ’em over here, and let them print out their own extra special “I Survived The Daily Shit Show” award. Slap that up on their fridge, amongst the macaroni art and ketchup stains, because sometimes all we need is a little acknowledgement.