Tags: Infant & Baby, Maternity, Parenting
Dear Self Before Children,
You think you have all the answers right now.
You are so sure that your kids will eat vegetables willingly, always say “thank you,” shape up the moment you give them “the look,” and basically be happy, healthy, and obedient. Oh, and you think YOU will stay happy, fit, and healthy.
Well, have fun with that fantasy.
‘Cause guess what? That is NO ONE’s reality.
The truth is, kids are messy. They are happiest when they are playing in mud puddles. They hate vegetables. They will push every boundary. Oh, and you, my friend, will be too frazzled (and exhausted) to take care of your own needs. So - therapy is definitely in your future. And theirs.
Because - who knew? - broccoli is “disgusting,” a toddler can eat the “meat” out of the pea and spit out the shell without even noticing she’s doing it, and even children can have insomnia and anxiety. Oh, and the “terrible twos”? Yeah, they are more like the “terrible 1 to 5’s,” only, since that is sort of too much to say, people have just abbreviated it to the “terrible twos.” But don’t think anything magical is going to happen on their third birthday. Or their fourth.
You are going to need glasses. And migraine medication. You are going to lose your hair. And gain weight. (A lot of weight.) And lose sleep.
(A lot of sleep.) And make mistakes at work. And while driving.
Welcome to parenting.
And then, one day, when your toddler is pushing you away in favor of Grandma, and your baby is crying and clinging to your shirt, and you’re about to run away to the circus, an older, wiser friend is going to look you in the eye and tell you that you’re doing a good job. And you are going to think, “You have no idea how many ways I am failing.” But instead of saying the words, you will just buckle up the clingy baby in her car seat, ship the toddler off for an afternoon with Grandma, and cry silently all the way home while covertly munching on a bag of m-and-m’s out of view of your rear-facing baby.
But this is OK. Because let me tell you something else: It gets easier. (Others are going to tell you that it does not get easier, that the problems just change. But let me just say this: A ten-year old with insomnia can read a book through the long hours of the night WHILE YOU SLEEP; a ten-month old with insomnia will drain every ounce of energy and patience you have as you spend the late-night hours walking, jiggling, going for car rides, singing, and trying every other trick that google and the pediatrician recommend - all to no avail.) Your children may not grow out of their love of mud or disdain of broccoli in the foreseeable future, but they will learn to tell you what their needs are without screaming, crying, nagging, or whining. One day, they will even learn to tie their own shoes (if they can just find them).
And somewhere along the way, in spite of all the moments you will want to throw them out the window (even though you would never actually do that, of course) … I don’t know… they will worm their way into your heart, and you will learn to love them. You will learn to see the beauty under the mud and chaos. I promise: It is all going to work out.
A Mom Who’s Been There