Nothing in life fully prepares you for being a parent. Sure, there are things that can help the process along and make you more equipped to handle the little bundles of joy when they arrive; but until they get here, you just are not prepared for what follows. Honestly, I’m not sure we ever become fully prepared for the strains and joys of parenting…or anything in life for that matter. At times, it just all feels like one big crap shoot.
In the beginning, many people offer words of encouragement and advice, some appreciated, some not. Among the most common I’ve heard are three little words, “It gets easier.” I think I have even offered these words up a time or two myself.
Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them. – P.J. O’Rourke
The thing about this little
lie encouragement, is that it simply is not true. In fact, I’m starting to believe it’s quite possibly one of the biggest parenting lies ever told!
Whoever said this must not have had kids, got amnesia, or simply observed as someone else did all the work. And again, I have been the offerer of such falsehood and for that, I apologize. I’m not sure what I was really thinking when I said that.
It gets easier!???
Parenting is one big bowl of chaotic emotions. Every single feeling, all thrown into one heaping pile of opposition. You are likely to feel 1,000 different things, all within the first 10 minutes of a day. Fear, joy, pain, elation, pride, disappointment, anger, happiness, love, disgust, exhaustion, energy, confidence, doubt; the list goes on. Usually a second after one emotion hits, it’s direct opposite counterpart follows. I have felt things in the last 2 1/2 years of motherhood that I never knew existed; or if I did, I didn’t know it existed to that level.
There really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child. – Anne Lamott
Now yes, there have been things that have become easier as time has gone on. But guess what happens? You trade those things for some new difficult thing you didn’t expect or prepare for.
We spend the first 12 months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 months teaching them to sit down and shut up. – Phyllis Diller
As soon as I start thinking I’m getting this motherhood thing down pretty good, here comes a kink.
Now, I know those of you with older children are thinking, “Oh darling, you have NO IDEA!” And, I know. You’re right. I have no idea! Every day I realize how little of an idea I really have, and it’s just downright scary!
No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal. – Bill Cosby
It’s a good thing when babies first come out they are small, immobile, and the only noises they can make are cries and coos. If they entered the world as 2 year olds, the population would die out rapidly. Now don’t get me wrong. Motherhood is the number one greatest gift I’ve ever been given, and I am truly grateful every single day. My boys are my breath and my life. The older they get; however, I am starting to understand why people with older children or grown children would look at me like a hog looking at a wrist watch when I had twin 18 month olds and a newborn and smiled saying, “I’m not sure if I’m done. I’d like more but we’ll see how it goes.”
Slow down there horsefly!!!
What part of this growing children thing people say gets easier, I’m unsure. The older they get, the more work they are. They cost more money, they take more time, they speak more, they argue back, they start to have thoughts of their own, and they become more independent while still being dependent on you. While all of this is amazing, it comes with some difficulties and challenges that in my opinion, are much harder than the sleep deprived early days of motherhood.
Two and a half years in and I am still sleep deprived, so that hasn’t gotten easier. If the boys aren’t keeping me awake for some reason, I am. I can’t turn my brain off and the only time I can accomplish anything outside of the boys is between the hours of midnight and 6 am.
When your babies are babies, you look upon them with wonder and awe of the tiny angel you hold in your arms. As they get older, those moments are still very frequent; however, accompanying them are moments where you look upon them with wonder and awe, but this time in a brand new sort of way. It’s more fear-based and derived from confusion and perplexity of the things happening to your innocent little baby that you do not understand.
Remember when you couldn’t wait until they started speaking? Remember how hard you tried to teach them words? Remember how excited you were the first time you heard them say “mama?”
Yeah me too!
I still feel that way!..most of the time.
But some days when I’m trying to take a bath for the first time in 4 days and all 3 boys are piled in the bathroom with me because no one would nap and I had no other choice; they’re fighting over toys, pushing each other over, trying to wear (or eat) my clothes, one is grabbing at my boob with one hand while wiping all the shampoo and body wash onto the floor with the other, everyone is either screaming or crying, there’s been 3 timeouts within the last hour, I’m running on 4 hours of sleep for the 3rd day in a row, and I’ve had no minutes without someone needing something, touching me or back talking two year old style, I become overwhelmed and understand why people say, “Oh just wait!”
The strangest thing about this motherhood gig, is that even in those moments, I feel grateful. Even in those moments, I know I will miss these days. And in those moments of being so completely exhausted and overwhelmed and feeling like a fraud as a mother; I am simultaneously so filled with love I feel like I might explode.
Nothing about motherhood is easy.
Beautiful, yes. Easy, no. And I don’t think that changes as they get older.
I’m 29 today, and I know that everything from the 26 hours of labor to the 29 years that have followed, I’ve caused my parents some heartache. I know for sure that though some things may have gotten easier, many things got much harder. I’m still a lot of work and stress for my parents at almost 30 years old.
You’re never not a parent. No matter how old your babies get, they’ll always be your babies. While they grow, so will your fear. While they mature, so will your heart. While they distance themselves from you, your heart will still be in their hands. While they become adults, you will still see your baby. As you conquer one stage and move into the next; new fears, new problems, and new worries will arise. But so will new joys, new beauty, and new life.
A few weeks ago my grandma was here. She was watching my 55 year old father, her son, ride an ATV with no helmet and she stood there holding her breath as she said fearfully, “And he hasn’t even got his helmet on!”
The worry never stops.
Things don’t get easier. They become different, but not easier.
The strength of a mother’s love simply does not allow anything about it to be easy. In fact, motherhood, while absolutely beautiful, is quite possibly one of the most devastatingly painful experiences in existence.
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”