Before Enzo was born we did what we could to prepare for his arrival. You could easily find everything an infant could possibly need or want and plan for every possible scenario you read online while frantically wondering if you would be a good parent to your baby. Books and online forums can tell you a lot about what you can maybe expect when your baby arrives, but since all babies are different this information can all be very hit or miss. There are, however, so many things a book can’t possibly prepare you for.
I knew I’d be tired, but didn’t realize that sleep would probably never be what it was before kids. I foolishly thought that one day they’d just start sleeping on their own and that would be that. Maybe it will… Enzo is only 3 after all, but for now a solid night’s rest is like a mirage in the desert. Sleep deprivation can cause loss of brain function and irritability and there are days when I feel like the worst mom ever because I have zero patience and get angry with my kids for… well, probably just being kids. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have one child crying and whining (probably because they are tired or hungry and you misjudged just how much) and the other is screaming and throwing a tantrum, all while you’re trying to get them food or something else of equal importance. I’m definitely guilty of yelling at my kids at these moments, and not losing my temper is something I have to work on. I never could have prepared myself for how drained I’d feel at times and when you’re a parent – you’re always a parent. That doesn’t stop when you feel sick mentally or physically. It can be hard to always be calm, cool and collected.
I could go on about some of the negative things books don’t prepare you for, like how it’s not just getting peed on during diaper changes you have to watch out for or just how hurt you’ll feel the first time you’re “Mommy-shamed” for something ridiculous, but I won’t. Instead I’ll tell you about the great things no one can truly prepare you for like the swelling in your heart that happens when your kids light up when you enter a room and they smile just for you, or when your significant other cradles your newborn or soothes a fussy baby/toddler. How your preschooler might tantrum and is difficult to a point where you just want to throw your hands up in the air, but then they give you a huge hug and tell you you’re their best friend. You’ll gladly put off pretty much anything for a good snuggle and even after a bad day you’ll ask for time to stand still while you watch your quickly growing babe sleep.
I may still be uncertain about who I am and what I want at times, but I do know that my kids are making me a better person. They’ve altered my priorities and goals somewhat, and sometimes make attaining certain things more difficult, but we could all use a challenge now and then, right? Though it might feel like they challenge me every day, they are challenging me to be the best parent/mom/person I can be, and I do greatly appreciate that.