When I was pregnant, other than the growing number on the scale each week, the thing I hated most were parents telling me to ‘get my sleep now’, because essentially, my life as I knew it would be ending. I didn’t hate it because they were lying; sleeping-in is effectively over just as it was foretold. But, it conveyed a general feeling of dread about becoming a parent. Leading up to my due date I was making movie dates and salon appointments; cramming in all the things I could before the baby would swoop in and rob me of all personal pleasures. Or so I thought.
Sure, the first couple of months were tough, and in general the first year had a pretty steep learning curve, but I’m happy to report, I’ve been to the movies and the salon, more than once, post baby.
I’m not saying everyday is like riding a unicorn over a rainbow, because at times it can feel like a fight for survival. But those moments are far outweighed by the ones infused with so much pure joy, you feel your heart could burst. Translation? Becoming a parent is not the end of anything that really matters.
My husband and I?have done so many things that we never took the time to do before Jack. We rented a cabin on the beach in Eastport this past summer, spent sunny sunday mornings at Lester’s Farm and headed off to the pool for a swim more times than I can count. Simple things? For sure, but so much fun and right in our backyard all this time. In wanting to give Jack positive, joyful memories, we are drawing a sweeter taste out of life too. That’s what softens the sharper edges of parenting; teething, allergies, illness, uncertainty and the anxiety that you might not get it right.
I do?understand the ‘get your sleep now,’ warnings even if I don’t like them. When you’re already in the trenches raising a child and you see a couple expecting their first, there are some rainbow and roses expectations that can strike you as funny.
The nursery is in perfect order, socks colour coordinated, clothes hung perfectly in a row in the closet. The momma-to-be still has perfectly flat ironed hair and make-up. I’ve been guilty of thinking, ‘oh honey, things are going to change.’ I?was that first time expectant mom, and now the rookie parent on the other side. Jack’s sock drawer today? Controlled chaos. My hair? Usually resting on top of my head in a semi-wet bun.
But here’s the thing; heading into the vast expanse of parenthood, one should not equate their baby to an 8lb ball and chain. Yes your life will change, your priorities will shift, somedays you won’t make it to the shower, and you’ll likely never use the bathroom alone again.
But for every time I’ve been spit up on, had a little nose wipe itself in my clean shirt, battled through sleepless nights and explosive diapers, there’s a little boy who runs to me, clapping his hands, when I come home at the end of the day.
So, you take the good with the bad, roll with the punches, and in the midst of it all, maybe discover the meaning of life. As ridiculously cliche as it sounds, giving Jack a reason to smile, gives me purpose and makes me better at loving and giving.
Try telling expectant parents to buckle up, because they are in for one heck of a joy ride. Sleep will come sooner or later.