With the news that we would be adding another child to our family this Winter, I have been thinking a lot about having kids and being a parent. Too quickly, I was flooded with memories of my first pregnancy...giving birth...and the days and weeks and months that followed as a mother.
Of a child.
Some people enter into the world of Parenthood with grace, beauty and finesse. They find joy in every cry, laugh and diaper. Sleepless nights affect them not. Somehow, they immediately know what to do, and have answers to every question. They make parenting look easy, seamless and carefree.
I was not one of those people.
I struggled through the first year of my daughter's life, aimlessly wandering through the World of Parenthood, clutching "What To Expect The First Year" by my side. Every curve had me anxious, and no streets looked familiar. Until I had Little Chica, I had not changed a diaper in years. Possibly a decade. I knew nothing about medical issues. Feeding issues. Sleeping issues. Then there was crying. My baby cried. Plenty. And I had no. Idea. Why.
I found myself thrust into an unfamiliar place of being a stay-at-home mom, having first worked in the "real world" for more than 3 years. Suddenly, I was stuck at home with a small little bean of a person who was completely dependent on me. And I had no idea what I was doing. What was I supposed to DO all day? What do I do with a newborn. ALL. DAY. LONG? What were my friends doing? My friends, with their unencumbered lives, free of the responsibility of a child? Friends who went to work, and talked with ADULTS all day, then stopped by Happy Hour on the way home? Friends who, on a whim, could go shopping or away for the weekend? Friends who...were now living a very different life than me?
Even though I had read plenty of books, I was not prepared for my crazy hormones. Or the (seemingly) incessant crying. Or the sleepless nights. Or the blow-out diapers. Or the general feeling of WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?
Yes. I was one of those parents. I make other parents look REAL good.
Luckily, over the course of Little Chica's first year, I learned. I had to. It's how new parents survive. That and coffee. And enjoying wine with dinner. As often as possible. I learned why she cried. And how to fix it. I learned how to balance my life as a stay-at-home mom while being a 20-something adult who had friends and wanted to have fun. I made friends with other moms. I learned how to BE with my daughter all day long and how to spend my time.
My child changed too. Not long after birth, she smiled. And then laughed. And then reached for toys. And then slept ALL NIGHT LONG. And cried less. And laughed more. And ate real food. Which really helped curb blowout diapers. And rolled over. Crawled. Walked. Talked. Somehow, in 24 months, she became a person.
And I became a mom.
But as I think ahead to the arrival of #2, I am plagued with fear of doing it all over again. I have been racking my brain, trying to remember what to do and how to do it. I wince at the thought of all night crying fits. Of blow-out diapers. Of no sleep. Of the general feeling of panic, fear and hopelessness that settled into my bones from time to time when I first became a parent.
And now, I also have a toddler to deal with.
Then a thought that occurred to me as I was freaking out: "I bet I'm not the only one who struggled (and continues to struggle) with parenthood."
Suddenly, comfort found me, and the world was right again. I am not alone. Having other mom friends has taught me that. We are always asking each other questions and comforting each other that we (and our children) are totally normal. I know there are more of you out there who stumble, who fear, who rejoice, who are victorious, who question, who answer on this Journey With Kids.
So, I figured, why not be stumbling together?
Weekly, I'll post a parenting topic. I'll write my thoughts/experience/questions/advice. And then I want YOU to chime in. And we can all read and learn and find community. Together.
::I like together::
When #2 comes, I'd like to think these little dialouges will be a great resource and comfort for me. And I hope more than ANYTHING that it will help some of YOU out there get some answers and not feel so alone! So whether you are the polished empty-nester, the busy bee with school-aged kids, the baffled new mom, or the Mom-to-Be, LEAVE COMMENTS! Give your sage advice! Ask lots of questions! Share some ideas!
We'll all be the better for it :)
Check back next Wednesday for topic #1...