Is parenting anything like anyone expected?!
Not sure about everyone else, but I had a fairly fluffy vision in my mind.
I can remember making dinners and doing things with Damon, always talking about how much sweeter it would be if we had a baby tagging along. Pleasant walks to the park, dinners with a baby cuddling in our laps, and trips to the store showing them off.
Not only did our complicated pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum experience shatter that pretty picture, but looking back almost 5 years later- I can laugh at how innocent and naive we were about our future family in general.
Sure I thought I’d have to clean a few bottles here and there, but I had no idea I’d be washing them at 2am just to get to the next morning.
I definitely knew where the baby section was, but didn’t realize formula and diapers,(granted we were buying for two at a time), would almost cost the price of a car when it was all said and done.
I figured we’d be up some at night, but at 6 weeks when they could eat more, and have some solids at a few months old, I knew they’d sleep through the night. Imagine my disappointment when they were up every 30 minutes, because I forgot about teething, colic, gas, heartburn, sickness, and general baby irritability. When our first full night of sleep came at a year old.. I was already pregnant with our third.
I assumed we would want a date night or weekend break every once in awhile, but didn’t know we needed more like a few hours every day- …and as the cards normally fall, family and babysitters kind of have their own lives.
I had our emergency basket with a few bottles of Tylenol and Motrin ready, but didn’t expect the monthly doctors visits, sicknesses, and clean up that went with it. Rotavirus with twins for two weeks, I feel bad for the person who bought that house from us. No way I got that all up.
I had no idea not all babies love the car, or that anyone could hate strolling through target-seriously?! I left plenty of full carts un-purchased and landed back in the car with tears rolling down my face too.
I had no idea that when we got past the physical exhaustion stage that my mind would be challenged next. Definitely should have done more brain games instead of Netflix during my down time.
I had no idea the fear we would feel in our unstable world for our kids and their future.
I had no way of knowing how much of my own identity I would struggle to maintain, and how unbalanced a mother could feel with the constant give and take. Or the insecurities it brought wondering if everything we were doing was “right”.
I thought a baby would bring only joy and more intimacy in marriage, not that it caused a wicked game with a list burned on the wall of “who did what and what the other hasn’t done comparison”. Or my favorite-who has had more sleep.
I really thought we’d use that $300 baby monitor. I’d never have guessed at three in we’d be shutting it off and putting it away. Or our adorable white recliner, what an amazing color choice.
I have now laughed, cried, and smiled about all the hardships, work, and exhaustion that have gone into parenting. There’s a reason when I look at a baby and say “oh my gosh how cuuuuute” Damon slaps my hand and drags me away. Then we nod in agreement and keep walking with the three beautiful monsters we’ve already made. If hearing that baby scream as the mom painfully tries to console it isn’t enough reminder, wait three seconds and one of the boys will have cost us an extra $20 with something they’ve opened and spilled in the store.
With parenting being a lifelong gig, I’m sure we have plenty more surprises around the corner. Plenty of sweet and naive ideas our kids are just waiting to exceed.
But I also had other presumptions exceeded.
I had no idea how much I could love another person.
I had no way of knowing how tender the silent moments would be.
I had no clue what it would feel like to be loved so mercifully.
I had no idea how fun it would be seeing myself and Damon in them.
There was no way I could predict how unique and different and brilliant and perfect they would be.
I had no idea how much joy it would bring to see them look up to their daddy so much.
I didn’t know the depth of a child’s heart, and their pure kindness, tenderness, and ability to love all.
I had no idea grasshoppers, spilling entire containers of powdered substances, and saying the word poop could bring so much joy to a human.
I couldn’t have seen how close Damon and I would become through sharing it all together, because it’s been a lot between just the two of us.
I was surprised at the sting of pride I felt the first moment I saw them, and that I would still feel that every day when they kissed me good morning.
I had no idea they could be so brave, but need me so much all in the same moment.
I had no idea how much sweeter moments shared would be with them in it.
My sweet and naive self, with all of the hard that came with it, so much beautiful ground has also been laid.
With everything I know now, I would go back and do it all again.
But I’d take out a loan to afford having a nanny on call, just in case.
And I sure as hell am writing this all down and letting them know NOW.
(Us before kids vs. after kids – you can see some serious aging has happened!)