Parenting is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! It can be a long, cold and lonely road at times…So many of our attempts to manage parenthood as new parents are, quite honestly, trial and error. Because we don’t get an instruction manual to take home with our newborns, many of us just try what seems natural and logical in taking care of our little ones. We can trust a good amount to our instincts, and hope that we will get the majority of it right. Furthermore, what works for one of our children, may not work for another and so it goes in every family.
But nobody ever warns us about the lack of sleep and what that does to our mental health or our disposition. How many parents do you know that would ever claim to get enough sleep in those beginning months of parenthood? I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “My friends who say they sleep like a baby, don’t have one!” We walk around in a fog and start to believe that things will never be “normal” again. Then when we have a minute, we contemplate that thought and come to the realization that there is definitely a “new normal” when you become a parent.
The new normal will consist of roller coaster emotions that take you from heart-bursting pride to total frustration in the same week. The new normal will have you experiencing unrestrained joy and brain bursting anger in the same day. The new normal will make you laugh hysterically and cry uncontrollably in the same hour. Then again, what is ever “normal”?
The scary fact these days is that we all take in too much from social media and TV that forms our perceptions of how parenting should go. There is so much information out there, so many opinions, so many places to go for advice. Then when things don’t go as smoothly as we thought they would, we struggle and bump up against what we see as insurmountable challenges. The reality is that every family will face it’s own challenges and be forced to navigate some rough waters. No one ever said it was going to be easy…especially since it started with something called labor!
So if parenting turns out to be tough, that’s okay…that is normal! At times, you can feel like you’re out in the cold, alone on a road to nowhere, with no end in sight to the dramas and feelings of being overwhelmed and outnumbered! Family dynamics are tricky, personalities are always interesting, different ages and stages call for changes in strategies, outside influences can derail our best efforts and circumstances within families will require a commitment to clear communication. Parenting may seem, at times, like it isn’t all it was cracked up to be~ but over the long haul, “in the grand scheme of things”, there is nothing that can compare to the amazing journey of parenthood. You learn so much about yourself, about your children, about life and about our Creator God. You will be drained and you will be filled on a regular basis, but you will never be the same!
What about parenthood was totally different than what you expected? What has happened exactly as you thought it would? What has been your highest high, or your lowest low? What would you change if you could do anything over again?
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