- Noise. I really like quiet and kids aren't quiet. Even those few precious moments a day when they are asleep aren't truly quiet. Someone is up and down to go the bathroom. Someone has music playing and I have one that talks in her sleep.
- Constancy. There are no breaks in the day when you are keeping up with three kids. Someone needs something almost all the time. Usually, all three need something at one time. My three year old can invent trouble in the blink of an eye and requires constant supervision. I would like a scheduled break in the day...30 minutes to eat, or even 5 minutes to go the bathroom all by myself.
- Immediacy. I am someone who is slow to make a decision. Not always because I am hesitant or fearful but usually because I play everything through in my mind before I decide which way to go. When I decide what to eat for breakfast, it is because I have already planned lunch and dinner in my head. Kids do not allow that luxury. If someone is dangling upside from the fort, 6 feet off the ground, they need correction and help getting down immediately. When someone is strangling someone else with the wii-mote, instant reactions are required.
- Competing information. There are a lot of people out there who think they know the one way to raise a child. And I've probably read their book. But the truth is that each of my kids is really different and requires a slightly different approach. One child is entirely motivated by a desire to please. Another could care less about pleasing us as long as she has physical affection. We are still trying to figure out what motivates the little one. But the point is all of those theories are really different about how to raise your kids and they often are in opposition to each other.
- Playing. I'm a really serious person, admittedly too serious. I'm not good at playing. I wasn't even good at playing when I was a kid. Coming up with fun and being fun all the time wear me out. I'd really much rather read a book than play a game. I'd rather work in my garden than draw with sidewalk chalk. I find it exhausting to force myself into play.
- Significance. I believe that raising my kids is really important. In fact, I believe that it is so important that it brings out my need to be perfect. I want to do it right. I love these kids so deeply that I desperatly want to raise them to be the amazing people that I see in them. While I struggle along, I worry about messing them up or doing something wrong. My perfectionism can be paralyzing at times when I am so afraid of doing the wrong thing that I do nothing at all.
Being a SAHM is certainly the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. It requires skills that I don't possess and strengths that mystify me.
What about you? What is challenging to you about parenting?