What it’s Like to be a Parent

Before hubby and I decided it was time for us to expand our family of three (that’s including the dog….), I thought I had a pretty good idea what life would be like with a little mini me.

I figured it would be busy but that we would still maintain our “normal” lives. I knew there would be moments of extreme tiredness, tears, laughter, and loads of washing.

Even writing this now, I still can’t believe how naive I was.

When people tell you how a child changes your life, they’re not lying. They aren’t even trying to scare you. They are trying to prepare you. Honestly? I don’t think anyone can really prepare you for what parenthood has to offer.

A MAN’S VERSION

I love how men keep things simple. My husband was recently asked what it was like to be a parent. His answer?

The pregnancy sucks. The first few months are really hard. Then it’s really cool.

My answer is a tad different. If I was to write everything down you’d have a novel on your hands so I’ll spare you – here are my strongest feelings on the subject…

LOVE

You love your parents. You love your friends. You love your partner. But there really is no love like the love you feel for your baby.

The love I felt for my baby was overwhelming – and I swear it grows stronger every day. Even though I had grown this little baby for nine months, it wasn’t until I held her in my arms that I realised she was mine forever.

It’s that I’ll-throw-myself-in-front-of-a-bus-for-you sort of love. It’s all-consuming, and Casey makes my heart swell. I’m so proud that I have this precious little girl. It’s not just me either, my husband’s the same. I’ve often caught him watching other people as if to say “have you noticed how cute my baby is?” Yep. We have become “those” parents and we don’t even care.

Grandparents are the same. Even the manliest men will turn into pansies. My Dad is a shining example of this. He will turn Casey away from her Nana just to capture her full attention. It’s the most hilarious and beautiful thing to watch.

And then there’s the love for your partner. When Casey was born, my husband was amazing. I fell in love with him all over again. Our love was stronger, we were even closer than ever before, and I felt extremely lucky. I still do. I need to tell him that more often.

EXHAUSTION

Every baby is different, and people deal with sleep (or lack of) differently. The first few days hubby and I spent in the hospital were tough.

Really tough.

For about three days neither of us had more than a couple of hours sleep. Hubby describes this time as having a blow-out and not being able to sleep off a hangover. You run on empty. Your body continues to function in ways you cannot imagine.

Once we were home and in our own routine, things were much better. When friends said “sleep when your baby sleeps”, they were right.

In the early weeks, I would only have one nap a day. Looking back I probably should have napped more. Especially when you realise just how much a newborn sleeps – a lot. Before you know it, that changes.

From early on, Casey slept through the night. She started to wake around the four-month mark. It wasn’t too bad though – she mainly wanted her dummy. It was around the six-month mark where she started teething, that it started to get tough. Sometimes waking up five times a night. The worst part would be when she would stay awake for almost two hours. She didn’t need anything, she would just babble away in her cot, fighting sleep. Just slightly frustrating.

After months of interrupted sleep, the exhaustion kicked in.

When your hubby works and studies every spare minute, it’s not fair to expect him to look after Case during the night. So the exhaustion just gets worse. My memory starts to fail me, and I can’t remember what I ate for dinner the night before – that’s if I ate dinner at all. Which brings me to the next topic.

TOLERANCE

The one thing I (still) regret is that unfortunately when times are tough, my tolerance becomes really low. Especially when I am beyond exhausted. And the person that gets the brunt of it all? My poor husband.

Honestly, I figure that this is because I give my best part of myself to my baby throughout the day. I’m always smiling, laughing, and making her happy. Then when I start to dwindle off with exhaustion at the end of the day, I’m depleted. So when my poor husband walks in the door at 8:30pm (after a hard day of working and studying full-time), I have nothing else to give. And that’s rough. He doesn’t deserve it.

Luckily (and unfortunately), I realise I’m not the only new mother treating their other half this way. It’s a lot more common than you’d think.

SELFLESSNESS

Above all else, I’ve found that I’ve become (almost) selfless.

My family’s needs are above my own. Even when I’m exhausted, I’m still a Mum, a wife, and a cleaner. I may not have had dinner myself but I’ll still make my husband’s lunch, or do the washing, or clean the house… I find that there’s always something that needs to be done.

And I can happily justify spending $100 on baby clothes for Casey, when I would now struggle to spend that on myself. Most mother’s I know are happy to go without, just to give their child whatever they can.

FUN

Now I don’t want you to think that parenthood is doom and gloom. It’s actually the best thing in the world. It can just take a little bit of an adjustment ?

With my little girl almost eight months old, we have a lot of fun together. Every day she makes me laugh, and her smile literally melts my heart. I love to watch her personality grow, to see her cheekiness, and watch her skills develop.

Time with all three of us is so precious and we do things we wouldn’t have done as a couple. I feel like parenting pushes you to be a better ‘you’. Some days you have to paint on a brave face, even when you don’t want to, to make sure your little one is happy. And on those tough days, Casey always makes me smile.

Being a parent has changed my life, in the coolest way possible. I’ve said to my husband on many occasions that having Casey is the best decision we’ve ever made.

It’s honestly like having a best friend with you all the time – it really is the most amazing feeling in the world.

xxx

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kylie is a survivor. She’s endured events that no-one should have to experience. That’s why she wants to share her story; to help other women live beyond their pain so that they too can take control of their life, and live the life they deserve.

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