Recently, I’ve had several friends become pregnant for the first time. Being that I am the veteran mom among my friends, they are always asking questions. I hardly feel qualified; even with two kids. But the first thing I tell them is that every child truly is different and what works for me may not work for you, and vise versa.
My second words of wisdom I give to friends who are becoming new parents is that being a parent is the most wonderful and challenging thing you will ever do in your life. You will spend more time questioning and doubting yourself than you imagine. Your nights of sleeping soundly are over. You will get frustrated and upset at your child, and then they will make your heart melt seconds later.
You find yourself resenting your spouse and having to work five times as hard on your relationship. You will share the most intimate experience in the entire world with them, bringing you closer than ever. You will lose your identity and wonder where “you” actually fit into the picture of being a parent and spouse.
You will learn that happiness is found lying on the floor with your kids – just staring at them, reading stories, acting silly. You will have an ache in your heart the first time they get sick. And as a mom returning to work, you will feel guilty for leaving your child and sometimes for wanting to go to work.
Every decision you make will leave you wondering if this choice will scar them later on in life. Did I make her cry too long? Was I too lenient with him when he threw his food on the floor? You will experience the joy of walking through the door and having your daughter’s eyes light up; she can’t hug you fast enough.
There are those first laughs of your baby that make you wonder how you ever functioned before that moment. And those deep belly toddler laughs bring you to tears from laughing so hard. You will work sun up to sun down, and in between. You will wipe snotty noses, kiss big crocodile tears, and talk about poop like you are just discussing the weather. You will have a new found respect for your parents.
And you will wonder how you lived life without knowing the joys and sorrows of being a parent.
My two year lives on chicken nuggets and hot dogs, our house is anything but organized, and I have taken a 2 month hiatus from blogging because I can’t seem to keep up with everything. I constantly struggle with having a dinner prepared even four days a week. And I’m sad to say that there are days when the only affection my husband and I show each other is a quick kiss as we race out the door and head to work.
But we make it work. We are big on hugs and forgiveness. Some days we are not so patient with each other, but we have learned not to take every single thing so seriously. We do please and thank you and I love you. We say our prayers and give thanks for all of the amazing blessing God has given us. Just be accepting and patience with your kids and spouse. Find the silver linings in dark moments and savor the beautiful ones.
And above all, ask for help. I know I said there are a million answers to every question, but if you find yourself worried or feeling alone, you will quickly learn there are parents out there who have been there. Just knowing that one other person has survived the situation I am currently struggling with - whatever that may be - gives the confidence to push through one more day.