Tag Archives: parenthood

Harder Than You Thought and Better Than You Can Imagine

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I was recently talking to a dear friend of mine about having children. Like me, she has a lot of fears and apprehensions. I’m not sure I did a very good job of easing those fears in our discussion, so I decided to write an open letter to her and anyone else who is on the fence about having kids. The reality is, not everyone should have children. However, I think there are a lot of people who would make great parents and are missing out on the experience because our society sheds a negative light on parenthood. It sounds cliche but trust me when I say, it’s worth it. 

Dear Friend,

I understand your fears about having children. I had a lot of fears about having kids and being a parent. I had fears about pregnancy. Would I be sick all the time? Would I be an insane emotional psycho bitch? What if I got stretch marks?  What if that lunch meat I couldn’t resist kills the baby?

I even more fears about delivery. Would I need an episiotomy? What if I felt it? What if I didn’t have the strength to push the baby out? My friend who is super athletic said delivery was the hardest work out of her life. I can’t even run for 5 minutes, how would I push a baby out? What if something goes wrong and the baby is sick or dies?

And then, of course, are the fears about being a parent. What if my kid is annoying? What if the baby cries all the time? I don’t think I could handle one that cries all the time. What if we don’t bond? What if he doesn’t like me? What will I do if he chokes?

The worries are endless.

I wish I could tell you that all of my worries were unwarranted and that everything was perfect. But the truth is, a lot of the things I worried about happened. Pregnancy sucked and I was sick for most of it. Delivery was brutal and I felt that damn episiotomy. My baby doesn’t cry all the time, but he doesn’t sleep much and sometimes that’s just as bad. I’m constantly second guessing my parenting decisions and I’m always worried that some freak accident will kill my son.

So, after all of that, why in the world would I encourage you to have children?

Here’s the thing. It’s easy to talk about the hard stuff. It’s easy to say “I’m so sick of being covered in spit up and poop!” But how do I put into words the love that I feel for my son even when I’m changing his diaper for the 12th time while he screams and wiggles? How do I describe the joy I feel every time he smiles at me? How do I communicate to you the fact that I, a task oriented and career driven woman, now feel that if I never accomplished anything else in life it would be okay because I made one amazing little human being? I can’t. And neither can most other parents. So we tend to keep that stuff to ourselves, and in doing so we paint a thwarted picture for you. I’m sorry. Just trust me when I say that parenting is much better than we make it out to be.

Not everyone should be parents. But you should. You and your husband will be amazing. And yes, it will be just as hard as you think it will be. But it will also be better than you could ever imagine.

Where Is My Nesting Hormone?

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Here’s the thing. I was under the impression that pregnancy came with a magical nesting hormone that motivated all women to start cleaning, organizing, decorating and even cooking. Seeing as I’ve never been one to enjoy any of those activities, I was really looking forward to the biological change that would suddenly transform me from a passive Pinterest user into one that actually did the projects she pinned.

And yet here I am at 30 weeks and I’ve got nothing. Over the long Memorial Day weekend I tried to muster up some nesting feelings and went into the babies room to start organizing. BORING! I lasted an hour. Yes, I did get some necessary cleaning and organizing done, but it felt the same way cleaning and organizing felt before I was pregnant. It felt like a chore. A chore I was happy to do because I knew it would prepare for the baby, but a chore nonetheless. There was nothing magical about it.

Meanwhile, Mr Alexander is in nesting overdrive. That man has knitted three hats and four stuffed animals for his son, painted the baby’s room by himself and he just finished making a pallet headboard for our bed. Next on his list is refinishing some shelves and creating some art for the babies room. And now that he has a Pinterest account, the good Lord only knows what other types of projects are going to pop up around the house within the next 10 weeks.

The real kicker in this whole scenario is that while I didn’t get the nesting hormone, I definitely got all the other crappy hormones that come with pregnancy. My lack of a nesting hormone (combined with the fact that I ruined the homemade granola I tried to make) triggered my emotional hormone last night and I was fighting back tears as I verbalized my frustrations to my husband. While hubs listened dutifully, he wasn’t really in the comforting mood and so I was forced to “self soothe.” (Yes, he actually uses that term with me when I’m upset over things he considers trivial…”B, you’re gonna have to self soothe with this one”). And the conclusion I came to was this: I don’t have to be a nesting mom. I’ve got other good mom traits. I can help with homework. I can give advice on friends. I can teach Aaron how not to be annoying on Instagram. I can cheer at sports tournaments and encourage him in musical endeavors. And I can take him a gazillion field trips. Seriously, I cannot wait until he is old enough to go places like the zoo and Discovery Science Center, and do activities like fish, camp and play with sidewalk chalk. Hopefully we will keep him so busy he won’t even notice that his room is lame. Unless of course this nesting hormone of daddy’s sticks around. In which case he’ll have an awesome room and awesome experiences. Which will pretty much make us awesome parents.

All that to say, if any of you mommas are feeling insecure about a certain aspect of motherhood, just take a moment to self soothe and think about all the good mom traits you have. Write them out, stick them on your mirror, dashboard, coffee pot or any place where you will see the list often and then daily remind yourself of your strengths. As for your weaknesses, either work on them or be content with letting your partner shine in those areas 🙂

P.S. I hope that the whole self soothing thing doesn’t make my husband come off as disinterested or uncaring. This is not true at all as he is one of the most caring people I know. But he knows me well enough by now to know when I’m genuinely upset and when I’m just temporarily upset. And he knows I usually work out the temporary upsets better on my own, hence the whole “self soothing” thing. It works for us 🙂

A Letter to Babies R Us

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Dear Babies R Us,

This is a formal complaint about your use of 1 ply toilet paper. You are a company that caters almost exclusively to mothers, a people group known for frequent urination and hemorrhoids. Your use of 1 ply is disappointing and painful. I appreciate you trying to keep costs down so that we can afford hundreds of unnecessary baby items, but honestly, I would gladly pay an extra 20 cents for every item if that meant a healthy supply of 2 ply in the restrooms. Just sayin’,

Sincerely,

Bri