My husband and I were lying in bed, utterly exhausted at 9:05 p.m., after a typical day of hurried parenthood tasks: getting a baby fed, dressed and dropped at daycare, both of us arriving to work without spit-up stains on our business casual attire, remembering to feed the dog and taking out the frozen chicken to defrost for dinner!
He turned to me and asked, “why didn’t anyone tell us being a parent would be THIS hard?”
I responded, “you truly never appreciate or understand the sacrifices our parents made for us, until you do it as a parent.”
We are very fortunate to have a happy, vibrant and healthy 12-month-old daughter. A supportive family, an amazing group of friends, two successful careers, a Goldendoodle, our fur baby, a beautiful home and an active social life round out the list.
While we may look like we have it all, we are left wondering why so many parents don’t articulate how much hard work is involved in raising kids!
It must be one of those unspoken rules we don’t really talk about, but everyone understands.
It’s the perfect life on Instagram that everyone is portraying, but nobody is showing the stained clothes, tired, puffy eyes and temper tantrums behind the Lilly Pulitzer mommy and me dresses!
Along with parenthood being hard here are 3 things I wish someone had told us before we came home with our little one.
1. Use your village.
Accept that home-cooked meal or offer to babysit for a few hours. You can’t do it all and that’s OK.
2. Your relationship with your spouse will be challenged.
This is a new chapter of life and it will be hard on your marriage at first, but ultimately will make it stronger.
3. Embrace the chaos.
This too shall pass (all too quickly, when you look back). Go with the flow and don’t sweat the small stuff.
At my recent neighborhood book club, a mother of two teenaged daughters described the journey of parenthood as “relentless”, I thought this was insightful and real, and refreshing to hear it described this way!
While it’s the most rewarding job I’ve had in 15 years of working, it is also the hardest job I’ve had – with no days off! Of course, we read the parenting books and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” classic, but there are so many things you can’t be prepared for as a parent until you are experiencing them first hand.
Moving forward my husband and I plan to be open and honest with new parents who ask our advice/opinion of parenthood. For instance, something I’d wish I’d known was how often our baby would get sick in the first year, especially if enrolled at daycare. Our daughter started daycare on January 2nd, during one of the worst cold and flu seasons in a decade. We were all sicker this winter than ever before. Going back to work after three and half months of maternity leave and having a baby with RSV, chronic wheezing, hand foot and mouth disease, the stomach virus and a constant runny nose can certainly give you a run for your money! And leave you questioning if you made the right decision starting daycare so soon.
All in all, we wouldn’t change a thing, but why not change the conversation we are having around parenthood, be honest, and talk about how it’s HARD, but also super rewarding.
For expecting moms, I hope this won’t scare you, but rather provide a transparent and real view of parenthood.
It’s worth the sacrifice and the extra money you’ll spend on wine and coffee (and diapers too)!