Tuesday, June 11, 2013

MUSINGS ON PARENTHOOD

SUMMER 2010.....CLUE-LESS.
I wish I had a big collection of real purty images for you today. Instead I'm rambling/whining about the highs and lows of parenthood. If you read my post yesterday, dedicated to "big-fluffy nap-spots-for-parents-that-don't-exist," you know that we are going through big changes with our growing toddler. We are potty training, transitioning out of the crib, establishing new eating habits (You have to eat the apples before the raviolis), and generally coping with all of the new challenges that arise when your baby not-so-suddenly stops being an extension of you and becomes their own little person. 
RUBY MAE 6 MONTHS
I think the toughest thing about being a parent is from the moment your children are born until the end of eternity, you are forced to be something better than what you were before. You are now 100% accountable for every decision you make, every action you take, and every word that comes out of your mouth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of your life. It's pretty exhausting.  Often times, you think you can punch out at 8pm after they are tucked safely in bed and enjoy a few hours of spaced out bliss..then, POOF. They pop up with a fever at 2am and you're wishing you hadn't had that 3rd (5th) glass of wine. You're never off duty--EVER. You can fly to the moon, honey, but you're still a parent. 
It takes incredible perseverance, patience, and practice to be a good parent--to come up with the right thing to say in a heated moment, to handle a conflict in a way that teaches respect, builds trust, and also deters bad behavior or shame.  That old saying that our parents or grandparents used to say, "Kids raise themselves"...yeah that's bullshit.  Parenthood requires a ton of research and study. There may not be one right way to raise kids but there are sure a ton of wrong ones and you can bet some of the mistakes you're making along the way are going to lead to challenges down the road.  It hurts to hear it but it's true.
16 MONTHS

DADDY IS THE BEST
Parenting requires unrelenting consistency in all areas. Sure it would be easier at 4am after 16 trips back to bed, just to pull your kid in bed with you and get some sleep. The next day do you think they will remember the 16 times you took them back to bed or the ONE time you gave in? yep. Sure, you can skip teaching your kid all of the hard stuff, in the hopes that they will just "grow out of it," but you're setting yourself up for an even bigger hurdle later. You just have to do the hard stuff OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER. and OVER.
FALL 2012...ALMOST 2! 
At the end of the day we all want the same thing: Happy, healthy, bright, confident children who don't hate us.  Children will model what they see in you, presenting the added pressure of putting all of your past influences, hurts, mistakes aside and being healthy, bright, confident yourself. Oh, no problem, right?  Children hold up a big invisible mirror in front of your face constantly as if saying, "Don't like the way I am acting? I learned it from you."  Don't want to hear your two year old saying, "What the hell?!" when she spills her milk? Then don't say it. Bam. Swift and brutal accountability. That little 3-foot wonder is now the toughest boss you've ever had. 

Sometimes I feel like an insane person for wanting another one. Sometimes I wish I had met my husband earlier and had kids when I was 25 instead of 35.. I definitely remember having more energy. Sometimes I miss sitting in pubs with friends like I had all the time in the world to suck down the drain, and the wide open possibility that life could take me anywhere at anytime. I think it's normal to mourn the things you had to let go when you became a parent. 
SPRING 2013
Your kids teach you to be a better human--the kind of human you want them to be, and ultimately the things in life that are the most rewarding are usually the ones that were the hardest. An easy triumph is easily forgotten. There is no comparison to the joy I feel when Ruby wraps her arms around me and says "I love you, Mama," or says something so dead on and observant that our jaws hit the floor. Yes, I've interrupted Daddy at work to report a giant poo poo on the potty chair, just so we can all celebrate. Watching our daughter learn and grow is about the only thing that matters at the end of the day. . . which is often at 2am. 

What is my point here? I don't know. . . perhaps it's enough just to relate or to understand your parent-friends a little more. Hats off to all of you to take on the journey of parenting. You are superheroes everyday! 
Cheers
Rachel 

3 comments:

The Man said...

Spot on. You nailed it mama.

Jessbe said...

Love this Rachel! You're honesty and compassion is admirable.

Janet Dubac said...

I love this post! It's amazing! It's so tough being a mom but it's amazing how one tiny hug and the words "I love you Mama." Can simply just take all the exhaustion away. Thank you so much for sharing this!