For those of you whom have children or have been around them enough, saying that parenting is hard is a gross understatement. You’re constantly juggling expectations, be it societal or familial, educational, or the ones you’ve put on yourself. You aren’t ever really sure if what you are doing is the best and there is more trial and error than anything else.
I truly believe that you’re never fully ready to be a parent. You can have three children and have to parent them all differently because they aren’t the same and what works for one may not work for the others. I had my daughter at 19 years old (pregnant at 18) and I knew nothing about being a parent. I had never been around children as my siblings and cousins were all substantially older than me. The day that I found out I was pregnant, things changed, I changed. My focus immediately went to this little person growing inside of me that needed me. The bud of the mother’s instinct, I guess. I was still terrified though and had no idea what to expect.
I didn’t sleep during my labour or after she was born for two or three days. I would just stare at her. I couldn’t believe this little person was mine and that she had grown inside me and I was able to finally hold her in my arms. I cried over those first few days a lot. I cried over the pain of child birth and the beauty that made it worth every second. I cried knowing that women all over the world willingly and joyfully go through the physical pain every day and the strength that it shows. I cried and thanked my mother for having me because I understood what it means to be a mother even though I was still just a kid, brand new to motherhood, and scared to death. I cried because I knew that I would be a single mom, I just didn’t know when.
One of the hardest parts about being a new parent, for me, was the little things you take for granted that you can’t just do anymore. Everything has to be scheduled and it’s all done around your child’s watch. Sleep was something I missed a lot. Showering. Eating hot food. Who am I kidding? I would have been happy with a lukewarm meal. But while I wasn’t prepared for the little things that I take for granted to change, I also wasn’t prepared for the new little things that would brighten my day. The look on her face after she would yawn or when I would be singing something that, to her, was ridiculous (I still get that look, increasingly more as of late). Her laugh, which was and still is a full belly laugh full of happiness. The way in which she would watch me expectantly before I hid from her while playing “Peek-A-Boo”, her eyes full of excitement and smiling that big toothless grin.
The love that you feel for these little people that you have created is intense and terrifying. You know nothing for sure except that as long as they are okay, you are okay. It’s hard as the years go on and you have to act upset when you sometimes want to laugh because you know that for their growth there are lessons they need to learn and it is part of your role to help them learn these lessons.
Sometimes you get upset with them only to realize later that it wasn’t them you were upset with at all but some outside source and these little people who want nothing more than to love you, be with you, and make you proud of them got the brunt end of the shit stick that was your day/morning/argument/whatever. It’s important to me that my daughter know that I am human. I make mistakes and I am far from perfect. I think it’s essential as a parent to apologize to your children and speak openly about what is happening in your life that may be upsetting you. I don’t mean go into great details, but don’t shut them out. Your child can tell when you’re hurting or upset, and letting them into your personal life will help them let you into theirs. And they have a personal life the moment they start going to day care or school.
Maybe it’s the years that she and I spent just the two of us that has forged the bond that we have. Maybe we were always meant to be together. I know that I need her just as much as she needs me and that my life is as bright as it is because she is in it. I know that I wouldn’t change one single thing about getting pregnant at a young age because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have this beautiful little girl that I get to raise and watch grow.
I don’t do everything right, I know that. But I am doing my best and sometimes that really isn’t going to be good enough and I know that too. There is no book that can tell you how to parent your child. If there was, there wouldn’t be literally thousands of parenting books that have been and are being sold as I type this. It’s like trying to write what the meaning of life is. It’s different for everyone. I’m not knocking parenting books at all, but unless you are trying to address a specific issue that you are struggling with, a book isn’t going to help you much. At the end of the day, I want my daughter to be happy. She seems quite happy and well adjusted so I know that I am doing something right. Exactly what that is…. I don’t know.
I could write for days about this but I will cut it for now. Lol. I’m not proofreading so hopefully it’s laid out alright.