By Guest Blogger Thea DeLoreto, author of the blog The Lint Trap

I didn’t know it would be this hard. It is just keeping small humans alive. A little food, some milk, water, get them out of the house regularly, and they should be good to go. Right? RIGHT? But it takes so so so much more. It takes backbone, and nerves. Humor. Patience. It takes organization and understanding. It takes love and soul and strength in equal measures. And it takes patience. Did I mention that one? Mad patience.

I didn’t know it would be this hard to be a parent and a wife. Being married is work. Being a parent is exhausting. Plus, being a wife and mother at the same time is damn near impossible to evenly and fairly balance. Someone loses out on affection. It is almost always the spouse. I now understand why the weight of children can make the cracks in a relationship spread and separate until the whole is no longer whole, but two parts. It is imperative to find common ground and appreciation to fill those cracks. Make gratitude the cement that repairs those fissures, or at least holds them safely until you can devote the proper time and effort to mend them. If you don’t, the responsibility of parenting will weigh so heavy on your relationship that it will be in danger of breaking permanently.

I didn’t know it would be this hard to coordinate life for a family. There is preschool, childcare, play dates. That is in addition to the procurement of food, clothing, and other necessities. My entire day is pieced together like a carefully conducted three ring circus. The dancing poodles need shoes, the elephants have tumbling, and the trapeze artist has prescriptions to be picked up. And the entire show is scheduled around work, nap times and meals.

I didn’t know it would be so hard to say no. Saying yes is easy. Yes, I will buy this candy if you will be good. Yes, I will let you stay up late. And yes, I let you run wild instead of walking beside me like a normal person. But there must be some no’s. There have to be no’s. A lot of them. And they are so much more work. No must have follow through. No must be explained. It is imperative to show that no is serious business. An edict and not a suggestion. It is often unpleasant and ill received. It is never popular.

I didn’t know it would be so exhausting. I didn’t know I would cry out of frustration and anger and sheer weariness of life. And, I didn’t know kids are excellent at hurting parent’s feelings. I didn’t know how lonely it can feel being the one in charge of everyone else’s lives.

I am not on the verge of a breakdown. Actually, I am very happy with my life and my marriage and my family. I am just being honest. It is all very very hard.

But there are other things I didn’t know. I didn’t know how much I would appreciate having a spouse who has my back and stands by my side. I didn’t know how much I would need my friends, nor how much I would appreciate them. Also, I didn’t know that one great moment with my child can make up for the 72 terrible moments preceding it. I didn’t know seeing my kids laughing together would literally break my heart wide open. I didn’t know that being a mom would be like this. But nothing is ever what we think it is going to be. Some things are better. And some things are so much harder.

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