So many people have that goal in life to become a parent. We want to raise children that will carry on our legacy and our name. We know the things we did, the horror stories our parents told us, the way we acted, and the choices we made, and yet we still strive to raise these tiny humans. We know it won’t be easy, but we don’t actually know how hard it will be.
Being a parent is difficult in so many ways. As a parent we need to monitor the words that come out of our own mouths as well as the mouths of our children at all times. We need to change our reactions to situations from what they have been to what they should be. As a parent you fall so far in love with these tiny humans that it’s hard to see anything unfortunate happening to them and not get involved. It’s hard to realize that you are not raising them for you, you are raising them for them. You are raising a person who should be independent, self sufficient, and adding goodness to the world. Sometimes as a parent it’s difficult to realize and accept that we were strategically assigned to specific humans, as were our parents. This means not everyone was raised like us, and therefore not everyone will raise their children like us, and we need to accept that. It also means that our children may not turn out exactly like us and we need to accept that as well.
Something even harder about being a parent is being a healthy parent. When you are raising these small human beings your life becomes a cycle of events and feelings revolving around them. We get so focused as parents and caught up in the chaos of diapers, groceries, sports, doctors, high school drama, prom, etc. that we lose site of our own well being. We think that we are doing right by our children by leaving no time for ourselves. But what type of role models does that make us? We are teaching our children to do the same and basically showing them that when they get older they no longer have to take care of themselves and it’s ok to be tired, cranky, overweight, underweight, sick, or unhealthy just because your busy. I don’t want to teach my kids this. I love them too much. As parents what good are we to these very children we revolve around if we are constantly run down, not fully present in the moment with them, too out of shape to play with them, too underweight and weak to be their superhero, and so on. It is so important for us to say no every once in a while and make sure that we are being the best version of a parent that they need in that moment, and that they need to be when they are someday the parent in that moment with their own children.
Now, we know it’s tough being a parent in general, but is it harder to be a mom or a dad? I have never been a dad so I can’t speak for them, but I can voice my thoughts as a mom and as dad’s partner.
Being a mom is SO hard. We go through 9 months of sheer chaos! We puke, we cry for no reason, we feel weak, we get fat, we cry for no reason, we eat messed up stuff, we panic about what’s to come, we cry for no reason, and we listen to the world push their views on us while we cry for no reason. From there we attempt to get a watermelon size human out of our body through a hole that is 1cm in diameter, that’s the size of a Cheerio if your wondering. We do this while people judge us because we ask for some type of pain reliever during the process. I mean wouldn’t you want a pain reliever if your thigh was tying to come out your nostril? After that we go through 2 months of stiches healing where we pee, while not sleeping at all, and trying to adjust to the fact that two of our body parts are continually filling up with fluids that need to be released by either a human sucking it out so hard that it’s a non stop titty twister or by an actual machine much like what is hooked up to a cow to get milk out. If that is all too much and we decide to use formula instead, people judge us. Outside of all of these things we have to plan around it. If we wants kids and a new job we have to choose one or the other. You can’t look for a new job while trying to get pregnant because you risk not having any leave, or PTO, or not being hired because your pregnant. If we do have leave at our work we then have to figure out how we are supposed to pay off the hospital bill and support this new addition to the family while we are not getting paid for 2-3 months (in many cases). There are so many little pieces that we don’t think about when it comes to having kids and as a mom there are so many extra pieces that others don’t always understand.
Just because being a mom is hard doesn’t make it any easier to be a dad. As a dad you first have to live with someone who starts reorganizing the house and wanting to do expensive projects to make it perfect for a human who has no idea what it looks like, can’t see clearly for many months, can’t move, and will have no recollection of what the house looks like for many years, and you have to pretend that this is logical. You get yelled at for things that you’ve always done that never mattered before. You spend nine months wondering why this person you love so much is crying, what you did, and how you can fix it. After nine months you watch someone you love go through excruciating physical pain and stand there knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do about it but take the blame and apologize when your told “this is all your fault!”. As a dad if you and your significant other aren’t married (which you certainly don’t have to be) you have to sign paperwork and show ID to a notary just so your name can be on your own child’s birth certificate. People look at you like you’ve done something wrong, or like your a screw up who is just going to leave anyways all because you have no ring. (FYI a ring is not a chain or a shock collar, it doesn’t stop you from leaving or doing something stupid, LOVE DOES!) When your a dad you are expected to come back to work the day after your kid is born. You don’t get time off to be with this brand new member of your family. It’s like you didn’t stay up all night, or your not needed there to help out. So after watching someone you love go through an emotional roller coaster, followed by mass physical pain, followed by a sheer miracle, and then give you the best gift ever, you are expected to say “ok bye” and then be able to focus at work that day. If you have ever watched someone you love get hurt, get sick, or get sad and there was nothing you could do but stand there and feel awful because there was nothing that you could do; if you can imagine watching a puppy get hit by a car and suffer knowing that you can literally only stand there and stare at it hoping and willing that it’s pain goes away, then you should understand that it’s not easy to be a dad either. They just handle it differently. Being a dad means your expected to pick up the slack for income that’s not coming in for 2-3 months. And whether your a mom or a dad all of this is only during the beginning stages when this whole parenting life change is brand new and you have to just figure it out. We didn’t even touch on the teenage years and the fact that mom has to figure out how to feed a teenage boy and his entire hockey team, and dad has to figure out how to scare off a teenage girl’s poor choices in boyfriends with his gun while avoiding jail time.
If your not a parent, you will not truly understand how difficult it can be at times, nor will you ever understand the real reward. Much like those of us who are not Olympic Gold Medalists, we don’t know the struggles or the feeling of earning that medal around your neck. If you are a mom, then you will never fully understand what it feels like to be a dad and vice versa. There are good ones and there are bad ones, just like there are eggs. Some eggs are delicious, and every once in a while you get a bad one, but that doesn’t mean that all eggs are bad. Without any eggs we wouldn’t have cute baby chicks, chicken, breakfast, most baked goods, Easter egg hunts, egg wars at Easter (if you don’t know what that is you are missing out) egg carton craft projects, and so much more. So don’t judge a parent by their parents, their gender, their job, their marital status, someone else who looks like them, their hairstyle, their clothes, etc. It’s hard and we are all different people after the same goal. And that my friends is what all of this has to do with the price of eggs 😉