Nobody ever tells you how physically challenging parenthood is. I can’t remember the last time I really relaxed for more than ten minutes without someone asking me for something, to fulfill some urgent need.

Please don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t give up any of this for anything. Not even the adventures in public bathrooms. Precious as those adventures are, I wouldn’t give them up. Not even the half hour it takes us to get showered and dressed after swimming. I don’t EVEN care that we’re always the last ones to get out of there because, apparently, I have given birth to a nudist, and the other one insists on putting his socks on by himself — not an easy feat for a 3-year-old with wet feet.

Nobody tells you that, when you wake up to go to yoga class in the morning, the mere request for a sippy cup of water is enough send you reeling back to bed because — f*** it — life’s just too hard.

Nobody tells you how fast the time goes. Well, EVERYBODY tells you how fast the time goes — “Before you know it, they’re off to university!” I’m talking about the time that ticks in between the kids’ programs and the time that ticks when you actually have half an hour to yourself while he’s at Sportball or they’re at swimming or she’s at dance class. It ticks so fast that you barely get anywhere on time. Or maybe it’s just that winter — with its frigid cold and snow pants and hats and mittens and wet boots — is longer than ever these days.

Nobody tells you how different — how very different — life is when you have children. How awesome it is, they tell you. But they don’t tell you how tiring and how fast and how slow and how backbreaking and how selfless and how challenging despite how purposeful and rewarding and amazing and adorable and hilarious and the love….

At 5 years old, the Monkey still calls her bathing suit “babing suit.”

At 3, the Rascal (intentionally) calls potatoes “podowdows.”

She was cast as Snow White in her Theatre Program’s production of Snow White.

He is fearless in the water.

She can read now.

He can capture the universe on a single piece of green construction paper.

I woke up this morning at the sound of my alarm (gong gong gong) — dreading leaving the house for the first of many times today — and sat up. My heart swelled as I looked down at my bed and my two dosing, beautiful children. And I thought to myself, “How ever did I sleep in such little space?”

Parenthood is Awesome. And I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. Not even the butt wiping, the night waking, the order barking, the pee flying, the not listening, the screaming in my ear, the clothes tugging, the waiting, and waiting, the pushing, the pulling, the racing, the whining, the kvetching, the going, the going, the going, the going.

I had to go outside to grab my Macbook out of my car so I could write all this down. At first I was pissed that I had to trudge outside in the freezing cold again — to squeeze my puffy body between car and garage door, and dirty this psychedelic green hoodie that’s making me feel pretty. But then I looked up, and I saw the stars. And I felt peaceful and still and whole and some other amazing feeling that may vanish if I attempt to mold it into words. So I won’t.

I don’t want to do another thing today anyway. But the kids have been bathed and they want dessert.

Strawberries tonight.

Love….

xo Haley-O