Parenthood has changed my husband and myself in a lot of ways (surprise, surprise). Although it is rewarding, it can definitely be tough. We have learned that it is not a sprint — which is clearly the mindset we had at the beginning. Expecting perfection and burning yourself out in the first year …. is going to lead to trouble when you realize that there are another 18+ years of this …. perhaps some of them with additional children! Parenthood is a long distance race, we have since learned.
And in our first years in this race — I think that what I’ve been most impressed about in our parenting (pat pat pat on the back) …. is our ability to dig deep. I think it’s been the greatest lesson that we have learned about ourselves …. just how many miles deeper we could dig than we initially thought.
We thought that we were tired when our first wasn’t a great sleeper at 6 weeks …. we survived without consecutive sleep for months and months longer than that. (who am I kidding — it’s years, really. it’s still happening!)
We thought that we were at the end of our rope 3 weeks ago when our kids had been home sick for 2 weeks. Then our house got pink eye. And then we got sick. And then after the first day back we got another fever of some kind that kept us out of the game for another week.
Parenthood has this amazing way of throwing extra problems at you when you’re pretty sure that you’re already on the brink.
Like when you’ve been kinda sick for 4 days and you have to go to the grocery store to pick up something – anything! – for dinner. But it’s almost dinner time – so the kids are tired and whiny (bad planning!). Then you forget the stuffed animal in the car, so you have to go back. Then you drop the soother on the floor in the parking garage on the way into the store. You discover a dirty leaking diaper – and you don’t have an extra (it was supposed to be a 10 minute trip!). They’re out of the yoghurt drinks that you promised the kids. Then you get to the cash register and you’ve forgotten your wallet. And on the ride home you can’t get Raffi to play.
Only in parenting land can 9 things go wrong in a row in such a short period of time. I can’t ever remember a time in my life when such cascades of minor bad luck have occurred so often.
But somehow you survive. You either surrender to the moment. Or you laugh it off. Or you motor your kids out of there and get pizza. Or you call your sister and complain for a while. But somehow you dig deep enough to make it out of there alive. It’s impressive, what you can handle as a parent. Very impressive.