Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Woes of Parenting: Myth or Fact?

I try not to read too many online articles on parenting as I've found that the bulk of them mostly moan about the endless woes of parenthood motherhood. I realize that women need an outlet to vent, but sometimes all the negativity can be frightening to those of us who haven't experienced having children yet. I suppose I'm a special case, as I actually have helped raise a child for the past several years while also spending much of my time working with children. From my experience with children, I don't fully understand all the stress and drama that I find on mommy blogs, but I also don't know what it's like to take care of a baby or how it feels to have a biological child. Will it really change everything? I thought I'd write down some of my biggest fears about becoming a parent and taking care of a baby. Maybe I'll look back at them and laugh at their ridiculousness or maybe I will cry at my pre-baby naivety. Are they myths? Are they reality? Here are some of the ones I both question and fear:

1. I'll never sleep again. This is by far by biggest concern. I love sleeping and don't feel like myself without a good 7-8 hours. I realize I'm not going to be getting nights of uninterrupted sleep for awhile and there will be days that I don't get enough sleep. But how long will it last? Some parents talk as if it goes on for years. YEARS. I can't wrap my head around that, nor do I want to try.
There's no turning back now!
About 34 weeks.

2. I'll never have sex again. I DO understand having kids cuts into a couple's alone time and having a baby around will further complicate things, but how long of a sex drought are we really talking? And how much of this is to really blame on having kids and how much of it is to blame on just being married?

3. I'll never stop worrying. Ming does enough worrying for the both of us. I also grew up around two insanely epic worriers--my mother and grandfather. They were afraid to let me go to the neighbor's house alone in case I was abducted or murdered on the way. These fears continued well into my teen years. I refuse to be that type of parent.

4. I'll fail to change clothes for days, perhaps weeks, at a time. I won't find time to shower. Quite frankly, this doesn't bother me that much. Since living in China, I find myself wearing clothes two or three days in a row (though locals may go up to a full week). Showering daily only happens in summer. But at least these are choices I've made, not been forced into by an infant or toddler that requires so much attention that I can't change my underwear or brush my teeth.

5. I'll constantly be covered in spit up, barf, pee, and/or poop. Are babies and small children really this disgusting? Mothers make it sound that not a moment passes by without a bodily fluid leaking out of their little bundle of joy.

6. I won't love my dog anymore. There are those who say that once the baby comes, any pets are completely neglected. They may even been seen as such an annoyance that they are given away. This makes me really, really sad. I know Fei Fei won't get as much attention once the little one arrives, but I hate to think I won't have a place left in my heart for that little ball of fur.

7. I'll finally understand love. Another one that makes me feel sad. Can it really be true that you only appreciate love once you've had a child? I've read comments by people who claim they didn't experience or understand love until the birth of their child. I believe there are different kinds of love, but I think I already have a pretty good grasp on what it is thanks to my many kind and loving friends and family members.
This is really happening! (about 28 weeks)

8. I'll feel guilty pretty much constantly. I have pangs of guilt over Ping from time to time, though they were much more frequent when I first became her step-mother. I guess I already have somewhat of a grasp on parental guilt. . . wondering if I'm doing the right thing or perhaps totally screwing up my child. But I have worked hard to try and overcome those feelings and become a more confident parent.

9. My time will never be my own. Mothering is a 24-hour job. Really? Never a break? Don't you have a husband, friend, or grandparent that can help you? Mothers who claim they are always on the clock annoy the crap out of me. You should find a way to delegate your parental responsibilities so you can have some time to yourself. Maybe I will feel different once I have a baby to take care of, but I hope I can eventually manage to schedule some "me" time, as well as some special time for Ming and myself.

I'm sure there are more I could add to the list, but I'll leave it at that. It won't be long until I'll be able to sort fact from fiction, or at least understand the reality of parenthood from my own perspective. There's no turning back now; William should arrive within a month.

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