Optimism. It's a word we use all the time, and I think we all know what it means. As parents, optimism might be the only thing that keeps us going at times. With all the stresses of raising children, working, and just regular life stuff, we use coping mechanisms to make it through the less-than-easy days. We have the innocent, oblivious thoughts that things will somehow get better, easier, or less stressful.
How many times have you told to yourself "this is just a phase and it can't last too long" or "tomorrow will be better." Maybe it will. Maybe it's wishful thinking. Maybe it's being naïve to be so hopeful when we really should know better.
In an effort to remain sane, parents tell themselves some pretty crazy stuff just to survive some of the trials of parenthood. It's better than the alternative of giving up all hope, right?
We tell ourselves . . .
- Someday we will sleep again. I have yet to see that day — maybe it is still coming!
- My kids won't be the mean one, the goofy one, the rude one, the smelly one . . . Yes, they probably will.
- The next "stage" will be easier . . . Will it? It hasn't proven right, yet.
- I'll just run into Target "quick" with three kids to grab a gallon of milk. Two-hundred dollars later, I'm stressed, sweating, and in tears.
- Play dates at our house are a GREAT idea. The kids won't make that much of a mess. Ha!
- Let's go out to dinner with all three kids. It will be fun. How bad can it be? It can be REALLY, REALLY bad . . . worse than you can ever imagine.
- Let's enroll the kids in the earlier Sunday school class. We can make it to the 9:45 a.m. church service. Haven't made it on time yet.
- I can help with your homework. How hard can third grade math really be? Spoiler alert: it's REALLY hard.
- Having the second kid will be easier . . . we have more experience. The third kid, a breeze. Right.
- My kids won't fight if I just take a quick shower.
We lie to ourselves just to make it through the day and on to the next and are in survival mode most of the time. It got me thinking . . . is it wishful thinking? OR . . . is it insanity? Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Hmmmm . . .
Cheers to the "next phase." It has to be easier, right?