Monday, November 8, 2010

Lies Parents Tell Parents to Be... A Sin of Omission

I was recently thinking about all the lies parents tell soon to be parents, or adults who might be even considering being parents, or new parents. Some are lies. Most are sins of omission, things we don't share until you are a part of the club. Then we will talk about it at length, over dinner.

Things like the lack of sleep. We talk about it and try to prepare pregnant mommies for the lack of sleep when the baby is a newborn but I don't remember anyone telling me that it would be months of middle of the night feedings, followed by years of bad dreams, middle of the night coughing fits, and morning kids who like to wake up with the sun. It feels like they are taking turns through the years. One finally outgrows the bad dreams and then another gets sick. I am exhausted.

Beyond the exhaustion, there is the saying "it never gets any easier." I heard this a lot when my kids were babies from women with older kids. These same women would tell the exhausted, overwhelmed and brain fuzzy me that I should enjoy every moment because it goes by in the blink of an eye. I was so thankful when I heard someone say, "the days last forever but the years fly by" because it made sense and I no longer wondered why all those women were romanticizing the hardest days of my life. I look at Little One now who is turning 4 next week and am amazed that he is so big. That he is no longer my baby. For me though, it has gotten so, so much easier. My kids are still full of challenges which feel bigger and way more out of my control which is hard, but they are also so much easier. They get themselves dressed, go to the bathroom alone, feed themselves and can play for long periods of time without me having to worry about choking or electrocution. There are school conferences and crazy sports schedules along with 7 year old tantrums and meanness. They keep changing on me. But each day they each become more capable, more independent and more responsible for their own lives which is the point of parenting I think.

My favorite sin of omission is the one that keeps parents to be from ever knowing the horrors they will endure at the hands of their children. The deep panic you feel when you can't see your child in the store. The pain in your heart when your child is the victim of someone being mean. Or the deepest, darkest secret of them all, the fact that you will eventually willingly catch vomit in your hands to keep it off the carpet.

We don't tell parents to be most of the hard parts of having kids. I don't know if that is because we don't want to scare them off or because we forget those parts, the ugly, hard parts when we hold the hand of our little one as we walk across the street or get a big toothless smile when they walk in the door from school. I think parenting is a lot like childbirth, the moment the baby is born we forget the pain.

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