After four kids in seven years if there is any one single piece of parenting advice I would share it would be, just don’t give a fuck.
When you’re sitting there staring down a 3 year old who has just somehow managed to create a flour and oil slip-and-slide in the 45 seconds you selfishly took to pee with the door closed, and you feel that vein in your forehead start to throb, just don’t give a fuck. Sure, it’s going to take forever to clean–and seriously, why, just why, and better yet how!?!—but getting mad isn’t going to make woodland creatures appear and clean up for you (expectations Disney, you lied to me.)
When you’re trying to cook dinner, carry the baby that just can’t even be sit down, explain to a 6 year old why we don’t eat people, wash some dishes so there’s something to eat on, and the phone inexplicably rings at the same time that kid over there you forgot how old is apparently amputates a finger with a splinter based on the screams, just don’t give a fuck. Your stress, anger, and frustration can’t create a time-space bubble where all this shit just stops.
When you’ve been up all night trying to prepare for splinter-boys birthday and you’re still not ready, and the PTA Pinterest Parade mom show up early and asks, “if you need any help?” and you just want to bash her in her impossible face, pull that punch, just don’t give a fuck. Your kid is not going to remember that your shirt was covered in ganache, your hair wasn’t done, the treat bags were filled when they were handed out, and you duct-taped Spiderman’s head on the piñata. They’re going to remember their mom kicked ass enough to try.
I’m not saying that you aren’t going to feel mad, sad, or any other negative emotions. I’m not even saying that you shouldn’t feel those emotions. I’m saying don’t dwell. Don’t let it destroy you. Don’t sit up at night crying in the kitchen floor into a tub of ice cream you just don’t want to share, because you feel like you’re fucking it all up, because you feel like you can’t do it, and it’s too much, and for it to be this much you must be doing it wrong, because run-ons and all, that’s what parenting is. It’s one long string of moments where you would be much better off saving your give a fuck for when it matters (contrary to popular belief you do have limited fucks to give).
When you’re having a really bad day and the slip-and-slide pro comes over and climbs you like a spider monkey to kiss your forehead and say, “I love my mom.” When that baby is using your boob as pillow and just has that look of absolute peaceful bliss. When your 6 year old proudly announces to his friends that his mom knows everything. When that 7 year old, yes, that’s right he’s 7, when he’s quite literally beaming at that birthday party you tried way too hard to make perfect—that’s when you give a fuck. Focus on those moments, keep them in the swear jar you never used and let them carry you through all the rest, because I promise, when it comes to parenting, the good will always be enough to justify everything else.