Pick & Choose Parenting Doesn’t Exist

If I have to yell at a kid to get out of my room so I can change my bra one more time I might lose it.

This is a thought I have at least several times a week. I’ve been at work all day, I’ve picked up the kids, and all I want is a pair of yoga pants, a sports bra, and a loose-fitting tee shirt to go with my warmed-up leftovers and hopefully, a glass of red wine (if I’m lucky). But I can’t even get past the sports bra part because I have small boys running into my room asking for help with opening a squeezable applesauce container, or the separating of two Lego pieces, or (and this is my personal favorite) the wiping of a small bottom.

Hands over boobs, I try not to yell. I really do. We’ve had the conversation about knocking before we enter mommy and daddy’s room, but you know, kids. As soon as I get the look on my face, the six year-old backs out slowly, and the three year-old starts whining because he wants his applesauce.

All I want is a sports bra.

And as I see them back out of my room, all I can think of is, ‘I can’t wait for the day when we all get home from a long day, and they’re just ‘chill’. They do their own thing. They’ll eat dinner because they’re hungry (with no whining about how they don’t like pork chops any more), they’ll head outside with friends while I make dinner (and not stand underfoot while I mess with a hot oven), they’ll stay out of my hair for 10 minutes while I change clothes, while I go through the mail, while I let the dogs outside.

And then, almost immediately after that last thought is done I think: that will happen. It will happen really, really soon … especially for the oldest. In five years he’ll be eleven years old and he will come home, demand a Hot Pocket, and then settle himself on the couch or in his room … and he probably won’t want to say a word to me. I’ll be hard pressed to get him to tell me about his day. Once dinner is done, he’ll want to disappear to him room for the remainder of the evening, and I’ll have a blissfully perfect evening.

Except that it won’t be. There won’t be the sound of belly laughs coming from the room they probably won’t share anymore. They won’t decide half-way through cooking dinner that they ‘want to hold me’. There won’t be snuggles on the couch as we watch Bubbleguppies before bedtime. There won’t be Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late as we all squeeze onto the bottom of the bunk beds that are now probably single beds. And they definitely won’t wake me up in the morning by creeping into my bed at 615am while asking to listen to the ’50 Nifty United States’ song on YouTube.

If I wanted to give up bathrooms that had 1 inch deep puddles and toys strewn all over the tub, I’d also give up the smell of freshly washed toddler hair. If I wanted to give up a backyard that’s overrun with toys and playground equipment, I’d also give up the shouts and giggles of little boys spraying each other with water guns and chasing bubbles.

And so, since parents don’t get to pick and choose which parts of parenting they’d like to keep and which they’d like to throw out the window — I’m stuck here, really just wanting to change my bra in peace.



  1. says

    Great post, though it does make me a bit sad thinking about my kids growing up just as fast. Thanks for sharing. And we love all the Pigeon books especially “The Pigeon finds a Hot Dog”!

  2. says

    I’ve been trying to remind myself of this lately. And I like looking at it this way instead of the “they grow up so fast, so cherish every moment” cliche. I’m still not cherishing not being able to pee alone, but I know that it comes with the territory of having little ones that will be big way too soon for my liking.

    • Tottums says

      I don’t cherish every moment. Nope. I don’t ‘cherish’ holding my boobs out of sight because my kids stormed in to get a snack opened. I don’t cherish being awoken in the middle of the night by hysterical screams that are at the level to give me a freaking heart attack … because someone needed a sip of water. But I can appreciate that these days also hold the good parts too, and that they’re fleeting.

  3. Stacy Reilly says

    I’m still at the age where I change my bra in front of him while he asks “mommy, when will I have boobies?”….I don’t yet take showers by myself, and climbing into my bed is usually around 3am. I wouldn’t change it for the world!!!

  4. says

    We sang “Fifty Nifty United States” in a school program when I was in second grade. Was beyond THRILLED when I found it on youtube to share with my kids! I held a teething baby all day long because he didn’t want to be put down and my four year old dumped the toilet roll holder in the toilet after going number two but before she flushed it. sigh . But I get to watch them grow and learn to read and say their first words and wipe their own butts. *Remind me of that when I am sending my husband texts with toilet pictures and typing out bad words in ALL CAPS because I think I’m gonna lose my mind.

  5. Tabitha says

    Love that picture!!
    And as a mom of two boys, I feel like I talk through my teeth every day!! These days are fleeting but I know one day I will miss them…well most of them! ;)

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