Parenting is hard.
How do I know this?
Because parents love to talk about how hard it is.
Don't get me wrong. When it comes to parenting, I do not for one second think that I know more about parenting than anyone who has kids. I realize I have a kid but she hasn't left the womb yet. I know how uncomfortable and difficult pregnancy can be, but that's it. When people who have kids want to give me advice, I am all ears. I have SO MUCH to learn. When it comes to "parenting" I am still in diapers, too. I love when mamas want to tell me about their experiences, what they've learned along the way, etc. I am the willing student of any parent that wants to talk to me about their children.
But I'm annoyed.
I'm annoyed because 95% of the time I talk about something about my baby that I'm looking forward to, there's a parent there eager and waiting to tell me how much there's an aspect of whatever it is I'm talking about that sucks.
Me: "I love my cloth diapers! They are so cute. I can't wait to use them."
Parent: "Yea, we'll see how you feel in a few months. Just wait til your life revolves around diapers."
Me: "I felt my baby's butt today through my stomach. It was so cool."
Parent: "We'll see how you feel about her butt after you've had to wipe it 100 times."
Me: "I can't wait to dress her up in these outfits!"
Parent: "Yea she'll hate everything you put her in one day."
This is no exaggeration. These are real conversations I have had. It happens nearly every day, to the point where I don't want to talk about how excited I am about my child with people who have children. And I was thinking this morning, isn't that a little backwards?
Shouldn't it be the people that know the joys of parenting that are the quickest to share in my joy, too? It makes me sad and fearful that parenting can take its toll on people's emotions so much that all the joy seems to be eclipsed by all the difficulties. I think that if I asked these well-meaning parents how they felt about their children they would have nothing but love and wonderful things to say...but why is it those are not the quickest things to roll off the tongue? I just don't have that answer yet.
Here's how I feel about all the hard days I'm gonna have:
1. I got married, and then I had sex. So basically I signed up for this. I signed up for the backaches, the stretch marks, and the waddling. I signed up for the responsibility of another human being. I signed up for the good days and the bad.
2. The Bible says that children are a blessing. So first and foremost, on the days when my child has been screaming for hours, I haven't slept, we're both sick, whatever the case may be that is making my day seem unbearable, I hope that I remember that God says children are a blessing--not a burden.
3. All family relationships require self-sacrifice. God uses these relationships to make us more like him.
4. There are millions of people in the world who want children who don't have them, and who would happily wipe up the poop off the walls and love to console their teething, screaming child.
I know that I won't remember these things perfectly. I know that there will be long, dark days of difficulty, and the fact that I will be husband-less for minimally the first six months of all this will just make it that much harder. I know all of these things--but why do parents feel the need to constantly remind me?
I wish there were more encouragement flowing than there was discouragement, or warnings, or caution signs. I feel like I'm being told "Don't get too excited" all the time. And while I will, 99% of the time, bow to the knowledge of the parents that have gone before me, I just can't do it with this. I will fight to keep my joy. I will fight to love this baby's bottom even after I've wiped it 100 times. I will fight to think these cloth diapers are cute even after I've had to clean them up after explosions. I will fight to love my daughter even when she doesn't love the clothes I put on her. And when I'm having a bad day I will do my best to remember that it's just a day, it's just a down that comes with all the ups, and that I am so so blessed to have this little one in my life at all. And I hope that on the days when I'm feeling discouraged and weak and when I just need a nap, that the older, wiser, parents that have gone before me will be more quick to hand me some encouragement than discouragement.