I don’t know how you do it

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(photo by Danielle Guenther)

Raising a family is not a cake walk. Whether you have one, two, or twenty. The first child changes your life forever. It was like jumping into the deep end of the pool for the first time without ever trying the shallow end. It was an awakening.

Oh the sleep deprivation was unforgiving. For every right thing we think we did, we made double the mistakes. We slowly learned to throw away any preconceptions we had of parenthood during that first year. We cared too much about every minute detail. It was a happy time but the first year of our first child was really about learning and just simply surviving the learning curve.

For our second child, we let go one by one of every hang up we had the first time around.Whether it was about having only organic food, environmentally friendly baby products, using pacifiers, sleeping schedules, co-sleeping, whatever it was that we thought was important but really were just choices.

We spaced out our kids about 3 years apart from each other. While we’re waiting for our 3rd son to be born, I already feel outnumbered. Our pre-born child has his own needs, mainly preparing mommy and baby for the big birthday party. My wife and baby have been to many appointments from the midwife, massage therapist, chiropractor, family doctor, along with regular visits to the lab for testing. Life never stops for you to just prepare for the baby especially when you already have one or more. There’s still marriage, work, school, and social & volunteer activities. In short – the rest of our life.

This past week, I’ve heard the comment a few times from our circle, “I don’t know how you guys do it”. It being raising a family in these modern times. Truth be told, we have it pretty good.  Boiling it down, we have every need. It’s our wants that screw us up most of the time.  Right now, I just want to watch Downton Abbey in peace and quiet.

A good friend of mine posted her Facebook status as “how does anyone have more than 1 kid?”. She has a son and recently just gone back to work from maternity leave. Big routine change. Since posting, she’s received a number of beautiful and humorous comments from her fellow parent friends. Some have 1, 2, 3, 4 or more children who offered their thoughts.

Ask for help, forgive yourself, be present, be joyful, pick your battles, were some of the kind words.  Have them 12 years apart, have a drink, get friendly with caffeine, get an ipad were some of the humorous sentiments. What I saw was a celebration of parenthood and its personal calling in each individual person who responded back with hopes of reassuring a good friend and themselves. No one pretended to be a hero or a martyr. They just offered their simple truths.

Everyone is simply making room.

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