A major props to you parents. I was a nanny while in college for two families. I’ve been thrown up on, had explosive diarrhea in my hair, been woken up multiple times in the night, dragged two toddlers and a baby to swim lessons in 100-degree weather. I know parenthood is no joke. But that was a long time ago.
Yesterday, I babysat my one-year old nephew, Ethan, who I’m obsessed with. He is perfection. He spends most of his time smiling and belly laughing. He is the best thing that has happened to our family, and I’m madly in love with him.
My little man was teething and getting over a cold and was not having it. He cried no matter what I did for two and a half hours and bitch-slapped me and Clyde at least twenty times. At the exact time his mom texted me that she had a feeling today was going to be good day, I was wrestling the equivalent of a drunk, bipolar meth head.
The only thing that made him happy was going for a walk outside in the 90-degree heat. We went to Starbucks, Target and lunch. He fell asleep at Target so I walked every aisle and found myself filling the stroller with popcorn, chocolate and wine.
I almost shit my pants trying to get us into the bathroom, and would have had no problem knocking down anyone—the handicap, the elderly, small children—who tried for the largest stall, which is the only one that would fit the stroller.
At lunch instead of sticking to my healthy eating, I scarfed down a tuna melt, fries and Diet Coke. And the entire time we were out, my nephew charmed the fuck out of everyone we came across.
He was Lucifer in a polo.
And I was a hot mess. I didn’t get a shower, forgot deodorant, had baby snot on my shirt, sporting frizzy hair while downing caffeine and singing Sesame Street songs. I didn’t even drink a glass of water much less reply to an email. And you moms who do this, work and manage to look put together. Who are you!?!? Unicorns. You’re fucking unicorns.
When my sister-in-law drove away, my nephew gave me one last evil smile.
I went inside and drank wine in my own stench. And then texted all my mom friends about my day and asked, “How does anyone do this without being a fat, homeless-looking alcoholic?”
One friend replied, “I just bought beer, wine and champagne. It will be gone by this weekend.” She sent a photo of champagne in a large red wine glass. When she sent the same photo to her husband, he asked, “Why are you drinking so early in the day?”
She texted, “Because we have a three year old son. And your parents are staying with us for a month. You’re lucky I don’t put tequila in my Cheerios every morning.”
But the truth is I don’t need to ask how moms do this because I know: it’s the unexplainable, overpowering amount of love you have for your child. I would throw myself in front of a bus or kill someone with my bare hands to protect my nieces and nephews. My love for them terrifies me at times. And I’m just an Auntie.
Giving my 16 year old niece driving lessons or talking to my 14 year old nephew about girls or teaching Ethan how to high five gives me more fulfillment and joy than my career accomplishments. There’s just no comparison.
So to you moms and dads that raise children—and do it well—and still find the time and energy to pursue careers, passions and hobbies, I’m in awe of you. You make the hardest things I’ve done in my life look ridiculous. And because of you, I get to throw my arms around your hardest work and have the most precious, meaningful and joyful relationships of my entire life.