When my husband and I decided to start planning a family I visualized how perfect it was going to be.
I observed other parents and based off these generalized observations I knew what kind of parent I would be and was sure I would have the perfect child-rearing experience. I can, in all honesty, say my expectations were very naïve and my views on parenting were through rose-coloured glasses. I like to tell my mom, who has raised three very strong-willed children, I was the perfect mother… until I actually became one.
I had great expectations for a baby that slept well and cried very little, for a child who adapted to change and rolled with the punches and for myself to be a mother who was always calm and never became frustrated. I think back before my son was born and I remember my mom casually mentioning that things have a way of working out differently than you plan. Pfft, not my plans, I have thought this through, I have played out different parenting scenarios in my mind and all of them had logical and pleasant conclusions.
As my due date grew closer I started to realize I didn’t quite understand what my husband and I were getting ourselves into. My son made his determined, strong willed spirit apparent before he was even born, he arrived two weeks late and has changed my views on parenting forever.
My family laughs at the wide array of things I said I would never do as a parent, many of which I have now embraced wholeheartedly. There are things about being a parent no one warns you about. When I mentioned to friends and family we were thinking about starting a family everyone shared the wonderful and enriching aspects of being a parent, nobody told me there would be intensely stressful moments as well. My son is only 17 months old and I have seen things, weird, scary, unexpected things.
I joke with my friends who have children that we should all band together and write a book titled What No One Tells You To Expect When Expecting. There have been a few instances where having prior knowledge could have been helpful. I was not aware there would be instances where I would be required to function on less than 30 minutes of sleep a night. Or that it is possible for a one year old to develop the stomach flu, in the car, with an hour of drive time still ahead of you. Or that you will spend a good portion of your day wondering what that odd smell is and praying it’s just gas. I have also learned, even if you aren’t looking directly at your child it is always appropriate to say “don’t put that in your mouth.”
If I have learned anything over the past year and a half it’s that I have to be the one to roll with the punches and adapt to change. Life is crazy, messy, sometimes pretty gross and wonderful all at the same time. There is a lot more crying than I anticipated, sometimes from him, sometimes from me and sometimes collectively but so far this has been a pretty interesting and perfectly imperfect adventure. Our days are filled with a laughter I didn’t know was possible and there is nothing more rewarding than watching my son grow and experience things for the first time. I love watching my son’s eyes light up over something as simple as bird landing on our deck.
I have discovered that parenthood is more of a wild ride than a well planned out cruise and I’m loving every minute of it.
Christina Komives is a new parent, an employee of Black Press and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.