For almost a week, I’ve had something on my mind after hearing a few remarks made by a couple with older children. Their conversation has been floating through my mind and I just need to get this out there. Here’s how part of the conversation went:
I was sitting with my back to the line at Chipotle, Everett sitting to my side and Dustyn sitting across from me, and we were enjoying a quick lunch out. The couple leans up against the half wall behind me, peers over, and sees our calm baby girl. The wife, in a very bitter tone says, “Those were the days when things were easy. Think anyone is going to tell them things are going to get more difficult?” (Come on, did she really expect me not to hear what she was saying?) The husband replied with something sarcastic and snarky, much like, “If they only knew what they’ll be going through when their baby is our kids’ age.” What’s really stood out to me, though, was the woman’s remark.
Written out, it doesn’t seem that her comment was very offensive, but I suppose I just haven’t been able to stop thinking about it because no one takes on parenthood and thinks it will be easy. No one expects a baby that sleeps through the night from the get-go. No one knows exactly what to expect when sleep schedules change or when your baby is fussy for no apparent reason. In fact, if I go back a little farther, the whole process of getting pregnant wasn’t easy. (I know it’s easier for some than others, but that just wasn’t all what I personally expected.)
And I guess that’s my point: each stage of life is completely different for everyone. And my second point: nothing can be taken at face value; things may have seemed calm with Everett on the outside, but man, we were out and about for a reason. I needed a break and some fresh air.
I would say our first three to four months felt relatively simple for us. No major complications. But the day that woman made the remark, I’d probably woken up a few times that night. Everett probably had at least an hour long stretch where she wasn’t sleeping, but was instead playing in her crib or crying, while I sat there not knowing why we were going through such a drastic sleeping change and how to get her back on schedule. I am in a mommy group on Facebook and the first few weeks of parenthood were pure hell for some. Roles have reversed. My good sleeper is now practicing her push-up and crawling form in the middle of the night in her crib.
It exhausts me to think about how often things are compared. How there’s this mindset for some that just have to do it better / suffer more / be first / always be right / have things worse than you. I wish instead we could cheer one another on and say, “Hey — you know what? You’re doing a great job.” Or, “Today might be hard, but it’ll get better.” Don’t trump what difficulties I’m suffering through with yours. Don’t one up my child’s triumphs with your baby’s successes.
Parenting is BIG and SCARY and it really does take a village.
There’s a huge, huge difference between having a conversation with a friend who needs advice and wants to know what’s worked for you and being made to feel like you’re doing something wrong when you’re simply just trying to get something off your chest. There are a million ways to do things. Probably more. Not one of them is perfect or fool-proof because no child is predictable or formulaic. And throughout this whole parenting journey, there will be highs and lows. Those lows frighten and scare me; I have no idea what lies ahead and God help me when we reach the teenage years.
But hopefully I’ll have some people on my side who are saying, “You’re doin’ good, Momma. You’re doin’ good.”
Because every post deserves a photo, here’s my sweet little lady. <3