When it comes to having kids, we usually hear a whole string of warnings that paint a bleak picture. “Oh, but don’t you want to travel more first?” “You’ll never sleep again!” “Don’t lose yourself.” “Make sure you get that babysitter so your marriage doesn’t fall apart!”
Clearly these cautionary pieces of advice weren’t effective in stopping me from “giving up my whole life,” but I certainly understand where they come from. Parenting is hard. You have to be an adult when you don’t always feel like it, and it is an astronomical sacrifice.
And yet, I love being a parent. Like really, really, really love it.
I didn’t realize how contradictory our feelings were until my husband said it out loud. We were lying on the floor playing with our fast-growing five month old and he said, “Man, I never thought having a baby would be so fun, ya know? I just … never would have pictured it to be like this.”
But how would we have been able to picture these joyous moments when the bulk of what we heard leading up to parenthood was on all the things we were “giving up?”
There tends to be so much focus on how exhausting and difficult being a parent is that the pure joy and insurmountable love that comes with it is largely overshadowed.
Everyone told me about poopsplosions and blowouts. What they left out was how cute my chubby baby’s little bum would be.
Everyone told me how breastfeeding would be draining. What they left out was how comforting of a bonding experience it would be.
Everyone told me how having a boy would mean lots of trips to the ER. What they left out was how much love could exist between a mother and son.
Everyone told me how I’d never sleep again. Well, they lied, and they also forgot to mention how peaceful it would be to watch my baby sleep.
Everyone told me how we’d never travel again. What they left out was how exciting our every day surroundings would become through our child’s wondrous eyes.
The diapers, the feedings, the fatigue, and the mess – it’s all real. But the happiness? Oh my goodness, it’s real too. It’s a sloppy, silly, humble kind of happiness – and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Parenting is surely the hardest thing I’ll ever do, but I think that’s precisely part of what makes it so incredible.