Dishing The Dirt On Parenting: Is It Really That Tough?
The short answer? Yes. Yes, it is.
What is it like being a parent? Honestly? Geraldine from Over Heaven’s Hill talks about the toughest job she’s ever had.
The truth is… Parenting is harder than you will ever imagine.
There are always smiles, day after day, as you meet friends or strangers in the supermarket, at the bank or on a quick walk for some fresh air. “Is she a good baby?”… of course she is. “Does she sleep through the night yet?”… of course she doesn’t. “Are you getting any sleep yourself?”… of course I’m not.
Behind the smile
And yet, most of us smile and nod through the haze of exhaustion and answer the questions politely, telling the world how amazing our baby is and how in love we are (which obviously we are).
But behind the smiles hides the truth that we’re often too afraid to say. Too afraid to show that we are struggling. That we are finding this hard. That everything is not all bright and cheery among the newborn baby smell. That we thought it would not necessarily be easier than this, but perhaps different.
I met a friend recently who has just had her first baby and when I asked her how she was getting on, her answer was simply perfect. “It’s a culture shock,” she said. And she is absolutely right.
There is no preparing you for the big moments, the big changes or even the small changes. You simply have to roll with the motions, rock with the changes that occur once your own Little Bean arrives. Yes, you know in a way what life is going to be like. You know the baby will not work around your life but you around theirs. You know there will be huge changes. But do you know that it will shock you as to how drastic those changes are? Are you prepared for how awkward and difficult baby days can be?
The baby cries more than you expected and is impossible to console. You find yourself desperately wishing that there was a magic fix, but there really isn’t. Not yet anyway until you get to know your baby more.
Your other children are jealous and demand your attention at the worst possible times. The house is chaotic and you often feel like you may be losing control. You fight with your partner through the frustration of too many voices, demands, and loud noises.
Intimacy is on hold, proper conversations are almost impossible. You desperately attempt to regain control of your old routine which clearly won’t fit in with your new life with a new baby. And you can’t envision the baby settling into a proper routine yet.
You cry. You cry so much that you wonder why you feel hurt, angry, upset, sad and frustrated when you should be enjoying your beautiful baby.
And yet, no one really talks about the hardship of parenting. It is, after all, something we all do. What makes it harder for me than for you? Nothing. It’s hard for everyone but not everyone will say that out loud.
Since becoming Momma Bear, I know that you have had as many hard days as you have had good days. I know that you have parental guilt. I know that you have cried and wanted desperately to run out of the house. I know that you have questioned yourself over and over again about whether you are doing a good job. I know that you sometimes long for the day before kids again. I know that you too want to say all of this out loud but are afraid that you will be judged for thinking all of this. I know that you are doing your absolute best.
But the fact of the matter is, parenting is so damn fricking hard, no matter what stage you’re in.
But it’s also incredibly amazing. I talk about how parenting has changed my personality, but this change is not necessarily a bad thing. My life and my goals have changed which also isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having children is the biggest adjustment you will ever make in your life. It’s drastic, it’s a shock. It’s terrifying and exciting. It’s hard. It’s scary.
And it’s worth it. For every change, for every adjustment to your life, there’s a new giggle and smile attached to that change.
I have no advice. That’s not why I write.
But I will say it loud and clear, I will not hide from the fact that I find parenting tough. The only thing I can say is that life changes with every milestone.
The shock of these changes never really goes, we just roll with these evolutions and become the parents we need to be.