Six months ago my husband left town for the first time after I gave birth to our second child. My Mom went back home 4 hours away and it was just me. With both kids. By myself. Alone. I wasn’t ready. You’re never really ready for this kind of stuff.
And by stuff I mean parenting. There ain’t one book or blog post that can prepare you for parenting. Parenting is like jumping into a pool of icy water on a hot day. It’s shocking and scary. It’s jarring and confuses your senses but after awhile, it starts to feel good. Everything starts to flow and before long, you’re swimming. You don’t even realize that you’re swimming. It’s hard to find that line between when you were first thrown into that pool and when you started swimming but you do it.
Don’t hate me when I say this but I kinda want to punch people who lie to us new parents and say things like, “It gets sooooo much easier when they get older.”.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! This couldn’t be further from the truth. Put a parent of a 2-year old and a parent of a 17-year old in a room together and I guarantee you they’ll both gripe about something their kid did. Raising kids is HARD. The challenges change but they certainly don’t get easier. You know what does happen, though? You get better? Yes, sleep-deprived, shocked you made it to the next day person that is you gets better.
I finally realized this just a few hours ago. As a working mom who has to juggle two kids on her own due to her husband’s traveling work schedule, I’m often left doing more than I should most days. Maybe I’m a sucker for punishment, but I really like testing my boundaries, challenging myself and doing things that scare me. I know I sound crazy, y’all but I feel like doing this keeps me prepared for everything parenthood has to offer me.
So while many moms side-eye me when I do nutty things like road trip with 2 small children on my own, I take a deep breath and dive in. Such was the case a few hours ago when we had breakfast. The last time I took my minions out to eat, it was a disaster. I couldn’t comfortably nurse the baby. When I tried, the 3-year old was irritated that I couldn’t cut her food. Every time I managed to put something in my mouth, a kid fussed at me. People stared at me and instead of offering help, they eyed me and made me want to throw peas at them. It was a mess and I was so burned from the experience, that I figured I wouldn’t be eating out again without the kids for a loooooong time.
But really? Why not? So I’m just going to miss out on experiences because my kids are too small? Or because they’re at challenging ages? Or because some jerk rolled their eyes at me? NOPE.
So we went to brunch and guess what? Everything went so smoothly. I juggled both kids – feeding eggs to one and cutting up a waffle for the other. We laughed, we sent silly pictures on Snapchat to Daddy and we had a really good time. People stopped by and marveled at how cute my babies were and I left a great tip to the waitress who was so patient with our messy table.
I was proud of everyone. I was proud of myself and the courage I had for doing this again. I was proud of my babies and I’m so glad to have reached a point in my parenting life where I realize that I’ll just get better with time. I’ll be more patient, more understanding and more carefree.
Here I am raising kids but they’re also helping raise me a bit, too.
Hang in there, new moms. It will not get easier. But trust that you GOT THIS. Know that you were made to do this parenting stuff and even when you want to rip that hair of yours out, you’ll make it to the next day. Even if you only got 2 hours of sleep, you’ll make it.