One thing I love about our parents at work is the relationship they have with us Preschool teachers. They feel so very comfortable in telling parenting how it is. There is no pretense, no fakeness and no perfect, happy little families charade. it’s the same with my friends who are parents. They will come and tell me all about the battle they had last night/this morning over pulling hair/getting dressed/eating breakfast/listening to instructions/getting their bag ready/cleaning up spew/the weeing-on-the-carpet-competitions/finding their shoes…. And so on…
They talk about how hard it is to be a parent. How darn right difficult this parenting gig is. They will share the downright ridiculous battles and conversations they have with their kids over [mostly] the weirdest, unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) stuff.
They will discuss the absolute low points with complete and honest abandon. One friend joked to me today, “if you’re thinking about kids come and spend the weekend with us. You’ll soon be a firm believer of contraception.”
So I completely understand that no matter how hard this ‘getting pregnant’ stage of my life is, being a parent will be harder.
I feel keenly aware of what parenting is going to involve.
I feel more educated than the average childless person in the harsh realities of parenting. I also feel that having been a teacher of 1.5 to 2.5 year olds, 6 to 8 year olds and now teaching 3.5 to 5 year olds has somewhat prepared me for parenting.
I have no fairy tale notions of always knowing exactly what a crying baby needs or wants, no expectations of sleep filled nights or of keeping an immaculate, display model house. I have no assumptions of how great I will be at defusing a toddlers tantrum.
I think I have an understanding of what this parenting thing may involve. Of the price that I’m going to have to pay. The price of my emotions, patience, finances, sleep, sanity…
The list of expenditure is endless.
Knowing all this – I still want a shot at it.
Yes some days I desperately want this with every fibre of my being and it’s hard reminding myself to cherish the now. Other days I’m relishing in exactly that. To be honest the days where I feel so relieved at not having children and the freedom I have are few and far between. Often they are more of a fleeting thought than anything else. But I’m starting to consciously remind myself again and again to cherish now.
Yes, sometimes, for a moment I think not having children would be a good thing. I would have freedom to be spontaneous. And selfish. I could travel the world. I would have more money and nicer things. I could have a mess free house. My sleep will be uninterrupted. My make up would be safe and our books and walls will be scribble free….
But it is just a fleeting moment these thoughts. For really these things are tiny sacrifices for the joy and blessings that children are. I know I could stand to be a little less selfish and self indulgent. I could let go of a few things in my life, because its just stuff. I can’t take books or pretty things with me when I die. And things certainly won’t make the world a better place like a person can. Yes, I could stand to learn a few lessons from parenthood.
So I’ve been trying to cherish the now. To take a moment to enjoy coming home from work and having a random snugly nap with my husband – because if we had a baby right now that would not be happening! There would be dinner to organize and baths to be had.
I took a moment to enjoy the spontaneous decision to go out to lunch and a movie this past weekend. Again, something that would be far more difficult with a child.
I relish in being able to make dinner plans with friend without having to hunt down a babysitter first. If I want to sleep in on the weekend I can without being woken up by a crying baby, a wet bed or a hungry child.
Do I realize that having children doesn’t have to impact your social life? Yes. But I realize that sometimes it just is more difficult because there’s this little person who suddenly requires a bit more thought, attention and organizing before I rush out the door.
Do I realize that having a baby takes its toll on my body? Oh yes. I’ve heard enough horror stories to nearly put me off. Nearly. Do I really really fully comprehend what pregnancy requires of my body? Probably not, because I still want one. But I really truly have heard of some horrific stories. And if they can do it and survive then so can I!
I realize what I’m desperately longing for will be no picnic. But with eyes wide open its still my greatest desire.
I’m doing my best to enjoy the now,
While hoping for the future.