There is nothing on Earth I love more than my children. These four little girls are the driving force behind every breath I take. They are also the reason I’m on a heavy dose of Zoloft and have to dye my hair every six weeks.  

Considering I have four young girls, including identical toddler twins, I tend to draw a crowd and a flurry of comments and advice from every stranger we pass.

“Parenthood is a challenge, but it’s so worth it isn’t it?” Yes. Duh.

“Aren’t children a blessing beyond your wildest dreams?” Clearly so, I have four.

“These years just fly right by don’t they?” Okaaaaaaaay.

“Enjoy every moment of these days.” I’m going to have to stop you right there…

I know that you mean well with that last one but please, not today. Don’t tell me to enjoy every single moment with my children. It’s not very nice. When you say that, you’re really setting me up for failure.  

Don’t you think every single loving mother wants to enjoy each breath her child takes? Don’t you think I already feel like shit because I don’t and can’t enjoy every single minute of our journey together? When you tell me this in passing you’re merely reminding me of my parenting fails and inadequacies.  

I know it’s not your intention to make me feel badly, but now that you know the truth of it all, let it resonate.

Just today we’ve had multiple meltdowns, tantrums, boo-boos, texting fights with the husband, (over a whole lot of nothing), and so many chores that a permanent line of sweat is running down my back. By the way, it’s only 10 a.m.

We’re currently running a bevy of errands in the 90 degree heat and my kids are not having it. They’re pretty pissed about being at Home Depot, and actually, so am I. I don’t want to be here either, but we need light bulbs and painter’s tape. You know – for that dining room renovation that I’m never getting to.

This mom doesn’t want to run into the Quality Dairy for milk today, but I must. I can’t leave my kids in the car, unless I want to end up on Huff Crime. I’ll have to drag all four girls into the store just for milk! I’ll have to tell them repeatedly that they cannot have a doughnut, a Slurpee, a pony or a pack of cigarettes.

(Wait. On second thought, let’s get those cigarettes. You never know… today might be the day I pick that nasty habit back up. Screw it. Yes kids, we are just about there today.)

So finally onto our last stop. Good old Target, my home away from home. I don’t really remember what we need here, but isn’t that always the case when you walk into Target?  

As we storm the Target, the twins are devouring croissants as if they were raised by wolves, my six-year-old is whining about walking as if she just trekked across the Sahara, and my eight-year-old is such a tween hater right now. Please just let us grab $150 worth of crap, forget the diapers that we came here for, and get home so we can continue this circus in the silence and privacy of our own home, shall we?

Nope.

We cannot do that because you, dear stranger, need to stop me and my screaming band of misfits to tell me to enjoy these moments; to cherish them. Oh. Super.  

I’m fighting back tears, embarrassed as all get out and now I have to feel badly that I’m not loving every single minute of this parenting journey. I just want to run like a bat out of hell, beeline it through aisle nine and hide from my children, (while shoveling their $4 Starbucks croissants in my face). 

And it’s not just you, dear stranger. It’s every parenting magazine that I open. It’s every other blog I run across and every parent play group that I attend. They all say the same thing: “Cherish the challenge, relish in the rat-race, embrace the angry. Push it down, moms, and love every minute of it!”

I don’t love every single minute. There. I said it. Does everyone else cherish every single minute? Am I less of a loving mother than these other moms? Are my kids going to need years of intense therapy because mommy reaches a boiling point every day and loses her mind? Those perfect magazine moms look a lot more peaceful than I do right about now… or right about ever.

I wish I could watch these kids melt down for hours, smile, and shrug my shoulders while stirring up a pot of homemade stew.

Oh kids of mine, how I do cherish when you throw yourselves on the ground twisting your little bodies as if you’re possessed by the devil.

My sweet babies, I really enjoy how you cry and scream over every sweaty dinner I prepare for you.

Sweet little blessings, you fill my heart with love and warmth when you fight over a McDonald’s toy for hours.

How I relish in completing Pinterest crafts that cost me fifty bucks all by myself – the ones you thought were sooooooo cool, but now are soooooooo dumb.

You know what, Well-Meaning Stranger? I have news for you. I can love my children without enjoying and cherishing every minute of parenthood.  

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go home, throw lunch together, and go hide in the garage. I have an emergency cigarette to smoke because it’s only noon and I have about 18 more years of this parenting mess to muddle through.