Let's face it when you're expecting your first child people dish out advice and warnings whether you want them or not. Most times, it's well meaning and done with love, other times it's done just to scare you or freak you out. During my pregnancy I received more words of "wisdom" than I can recount, most of it was indeed encouraging, though there were some who tried to horrify me with painful birth stories wrought with complications. I took it all with a grain of salt, and really only taking to heart the words coming from close friends and family.
My son will be turning two in November, and it's got me reflecting on all the things I thought I knew about parenthood, but never truly understood. This is just my brief list, and I'm sure most parents have one, so if you're reading, and you'd like to share, please feel free.
"You'll never sleep again." Oh, how I scoffed at this one! I knew, of course, that the first few months would be rocky, what with the constant waking up for feedings and diaper changes. What I failed to realize was that even after my son started to sleep through the night, I still don't get enough sleep. Sure, he will sleep for 12 straight hours, but the boy just won't sleep in much past 6:00! Sadly, Tysen is a morning person and I am not. I used to roll around in bed on the weekends until 9:00 or 10:00. Those days are long gone. My husband and I trade weekends on who gets to sleep in, though with Tysen jabbering just a few feet from my bedroom door it's more a test of how long I can pretend to not hear him.
"When they hurt, you hurt more." That makes sense, right? I mean, I am the parent, the protector and provider. Of course I'll be upset when Tysen is sick, or sad, or hurting. I never really grasped that a part of me would fall apart the first time he was sick. I remember a time when Tysen was almost 3 months old and had a raging fever. We were so scared for our tiny little man on the drive to the ER. He had his first blood draw, and I know my husband and I cried as much as he did. It tore me apart to see his body raked with sobs, to know that I hadn't been able to keep that pain away.
"Being a parent is hard work." I can't begin to count the times people told me this. And like a moron, I never really thought about how hard it really is. For the unsuspecting expecting parent, I realized it was going to be hard after reading through the various books and articles on all sorts of parenting topics. But being warned just doesn't seem to make it real. Though it has gotten easier as Tysen has gotten older, I remember all the things I didn't know, worried over and struggled with. Watching other parent's children did not come close to the reality of full time parenthood, it's pretty much a joke if you want to compare the two. There is always too much to do, and not enough time. It's easy to get lost in it all, but life is going to continue with our without you participating.
"It's all worth it." No statement could be more true. When my son was born, he didn't much care for sleeping at night. Tysen would wake up at least once every two hours, and I would have to pry my eyelids open. There were times when I fell asleep sitting up during a late night (or was it early morning) feeding. I remember being so frustrated at times that I've wanted to throw a temper tantrum right along with Tysen. However, all is forgotten after being graced with that first smile or first laugh. It was hard to remember why I was so tired or irritated when confronted with a beautiful gummy grin. Even now, the sound of Tysen's laughter brings a joy like no other.