I debated resharing this post in a large part that I didn’t want you to think I am just reblogging my favs. But, when I think of what makes an everyday mom (or dad), I think it is someone who isn’t afraid to admit when things get challenging, or if they need help, or admit that becoming a parent not only changed their life but their relationship with their significant other. So here is what makes me an everyday mom.
The months leading up to the arrival of our little one were so exciting. We planned for her arrival; it was so hard not to want to begin “early nesting”. At the beginning, we read pregnancy books (in particular – Pregnancy Day to Day, Canadian Edition! A must read and I have since highly recommended it to many others), looked for cute nursery room ideas, researched baby names, and shared childhood experiences to better understand what or who influenced our parenting styles.
Just prior to her arrival, we agreed that when there are issues that challenge us as a “parental unit,” such as if our daughter throws a tantrum, slaps, bites, refuses to sleep, throws her food on the floor and pours her water on the table (I am sure this list of “issues” resonates with some) we must stick together and not work against each other. When our daughter tries to “work us” (and she does even at 20 months!) we agreed to support each other in the decision taken at the moment, even if we don’t agree with. You know, save the “adult” conversation for later, out view of the baby. We also agreed we would “pre-discuss” parenting decisions/approaches/methods to certain issues as a team.
We have all heard this before “your life will change overnight!” But what’s funny is that no matter how many times you hear this, no matter how much you prepare for this change, you are so far out of your element that there is just no way one can be prepared for all of life’s challenges as a parent. It was never realistic to think we could “pre-discuss” parenting methods or plan for all of what life as a parent throws at you. It was unrealistic to think that we could keep quiet and not react in moments where we didn’t totally agree with what the other was saying (I am in fact quite guilty of this!). I will call it what it is “new parent naivety”.
I remember the first week we were home from the hospital, my husband kept saying to me let’s not forget about us. When he first said that to me, I felt those little butterflies in my belly, you know the ones you get when you are totally smitten with your partner. I knew that we would be fine and we would get through all the challenges that will come our way, together.
Before my daughter I struggled with the need for perfection. I had to have everything in order, cleaned, and I needed to know when something would happen and how (surprisingly this aspect changed once I was pregnant, more about this later). I know some of my friends who I met post-baby will think that doesn’t sound like me at all! At the end of my pregnancy, our doctor even told me I had to stop and just take the time to relax and nap (this word doesn’t translate in my vocabulary). Everything will fall into place. My husband still jokes that if I had my way I would be cleaning our house with a toothbrush.
Parenting is tough! It is challenging! There is no denying this. It changes everything, including it forces you to prioritize, and challenges your patience and ability to adapt. You know all those important qualities and assets many of us tout on our CV and execute beautifully at work. Funny, right! It took me a long time to realize that it was healthy and okay to say those three words out loud “It is challenging”. To be honest, I still struggle as I really strive to be an optimist, and I look at our lives and think “so what” she is having a tantrum or didn’t finish her bowl of veggies. There will always be moments that test us even further, our parental unit and our ability to communicate. In end these small challenges will be distant memories that our future selves will look back on and laugh about how we handled the situation or let it get the best of us.
It isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be. Life would be boring if it was easy and didn’t test your limits or push you out of your comfort zone. Where is the fun in all of that? Isn’t being a parent supposed to test you? Aren’t we all supposed to be able to shake our head at times and think “what was our child(ren) thinking”? Aren’t we meant to be able to laugh about it later?