Sunday, April 3, 2011

Parenting is hard (i.e. the post wherein I state the obvious)

Parenting is hard. Nobody ever tells you how hard it actually is though. I really wish that before I had children someone had come up to me and said: this is the most difficult thing that you will ever do, bar none, and it will not get easier the longer you do it because the challenges are constantly changing. When you feel like you’ve finally got it down, something new comes out of left field and you have to figure it all out again. And it will never end, because, let’s be honest, we’re still our parents children (if we’re lucky enough to still have our parents around) and we may think we’ve moved on from our parents, being adults in our own right, but more than likely our parents are still sitting there worrying about us and wondering how they can steer us in the right direction. I have endless conversations with my friends about how our lives have changed and will it ever get back to normal and when will we be us again.

But I’m coming to the realization that this is the new normal and we’ll never be the old us again. We’ll never be completely carefree again, because, really, how can we with such massive responsibility on our shoulders. We’ll never sleep as soundly again, because once they’re done with the neediness of babies and toddlers we move on to school and friends and achievement and activities and we’re going to worry about one or all of those things at 4am, and then they become teenagers and there’s the whole sex, drinking, what the hell are they wearing bits that will turn us into chronic insomniacs, followed by college, are they just partying or are they actually studying, and then god help us they get married and have their own kids and how will they ever raise them??

Okay, I may be getting ahead of myself, my kids are just 1 and 3 after all but I’ve seen how fast it’s going already. It feels like just yesterday morning that I was lying in the clinic sore from a c-section with a tiny wailing, flailing, red-faced, cute as a button human in my arms wondering what in the world I was going to do with him. So it stands to reason that in the blink of an eye they’ll be all "growed up", and I’ll be all alone. (Oh, ok, not alone, alone, the husband will be alone with me, let me be a little dramatic, sheesh!)

Basically all I wanted to say with this post is: Parenting is hard, and it’s for life. We have to enjoy every moment, because every moment is fleeting and yet we’ll never stop being parents. Ever. It’s scary and tiring and often overwhelming but it’s also wonderful and amazing and the one thing that brings me joy consistently. It’s the dichotomy of our souls. 

I know it sounds like I just realized the world is round or something, but sometimes the most obvious, mundane things are the ones that no one talks about. And sometimes we really need to stop and acknowledge what we’re doing, and what our parents did, and give ourselves and each other a break when we screw up. There’s a lot of screwing up in parenting, a lot of fixing our own mistakes and a lot of getting things right the first time. It’s a 24/7 job and the only compensation is watching our children grow up and become whoever they’re supposed to be. It’s two parts wonderful and one part terrible and there is no going back from here.

Ok, I'm all done with the obvious today, hopefully my next post will be more enlightened, carry on.


  1. don't downplay the obvious, because all of your insight is spot-on! i don't think i can ever hear this too much because (like yesterday) i find that i know nothing. for me i think there is loss in that carefree part you mentioned ... i just don't feel that all anymore. great post :)

  2. @Iowa Sunshine Thanks! Before I had kids I honestly didn't know how much life was going to change, not just on the practical level but in my heart. Our children take so much but they also give us so much back, lucky us!

  3. So sweet. I enjoyed reading the post very much. You have very correctly said "Our children take so much but they also give us so much back, lucky us!" I am sure every parent thinks like this only.

    Take the test Caring For Toddlers and find out how good are you at caring for toddlers.

  4. so true and so sweet! when I look at my 17 month old I wonder where my baby has gone. It only gets worse from here.

  5. You forgot the part about your kids marrying the exact opposite of who you were expecting them to marry, someone you can see a mile away is wrong for them...hehe. Joking aside, it is true. Until you become a parent you have no idea of the true implications. The good, which is intoxicatingly beautiful, and the bad, which is heartbreaking. It is a wonderful yet exhausting adventure.
    Have an award for you girlfriend, come and pick it up at my place!

  6. It is not until I became a parent that I hear someone say thins "If you are not ready to be heartbroken, then you are not ready to be a parent." My first response was, what the hell does that mean? I learned what it mean very quickly though. The very day I went to drop my daughter off to school, my hear did break. I am sure I will have more moments like this. They are a huge blessing, a true miracle.

  7. I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and trying not to scare off my friends who don't have kids yet. No one EVER talked about this with me before i had children (or if they did, I probably thought they had a problem! and it wouldn't be that hard for me :) )
    Anyway, glad other people are "real" about it, because sometimes I say, parenting is seriously kicking my butt.