If everyone else was jumping onto a sinking Titanic, would you do it too? My answer is a resounding “yes,” if there’s even a chance of bumping into Jack Dawson. I know, I know. I realize Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is technically fictional. But you know what’s very real? Parenthood. And a few years ago I jumped on the proverbial bandwagon.
At first, pregnancy was exciting. Magical. I attended a 6-week birthing class with friends who were also expecting, nervous yet excited for what was to come. Then a few people started sharing advice, such as: “get sleep now, because you won’t later.” And I heard this gem: “having kids changes your life.” This is my shocked face.
I subscribed to daily updates from “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” I read funny anecdotes about women who had plenty of time to get to the hospital, and how the hurried car rides were only in the movies. In the end, I was stuck in a traffic jam and made it to the hospital with about an hour to spare. Because even though I read every update and attended each class, I still had no idea I was having a baby and worked the entire day that I was in labor. I even finished my performance appraisal.
But then, the real work began. I left the hospital, feeling dazed and running on nap fumes. My husband and I set our little girl in the middle of the living room and looked at each other, two total idiots not knowing what to do next. And a year and a half later, we welcomed a second little girl. “Two kids under age three, bet you’re busy!” Side note: Where do these comments even come from? I’m seriously asking, and not even for a friend.
So what is parenthood really like?
Every day there’s a kid up bright and early when you desperately want to sleep in. They wait for no one, and I haven’t slept since 2015. My body wasn’t built for 5 hours of sleep. But I get by with a little help from my friends, and by friends I mean mostly a 32 oz tumbler of coffee. My life is held together with Elmer’s glue and Popsicle sticks, and I tried to move the whole thing before it set properly.
Every day I think, “How can I do all of this? There’s no way.” And every day, somehow, I do the impossible. So I guess my answer to those wanting to know what parenthood is really like, is that it’s the highest highs and the lowest lows.
Time really does fly, as the cliche says. Before you know it, they are walking and talking. Climbing. Telling you funny stories. Holding your hand. Soon, they are going to school and not looking back. Soon, they no longer turn to you for advice. Soon, they are moving on. Even on the days that feel the longest, I wouldn’t change a thing, because I know that one day I’ll desperately miss these moments. And they are fleeting.
Are there days with whining and meltdowns? Yeah, pretty much every day. Are there sleepless nights? Definitely (unless you have the sleeping baby of myth and legend, in which case you should never tell anyone). Are there times when you’re all sick, the thermostat breaks, and the garbage disposal leaks all in the same day? There might be.
Are there moments that you truly understand love, and you’d choose parenthood all over again in a second? Absolutely, yes.
Social media can be a positive and negative force in the life of a new parent. Read more, here.