10 Things About Parenthood All Moms Want Their Child-Free Friends To Know
Parenthood can make even the most normal of us, well, weird. We don't mean to be that way, but it just happens as a byproduct of hormones and stress and exhaustion and an endless list of obligations and staring at the cute faces we're now responsible for. There's a lot of things that you never truly understand until you become a parent; things that no amount of research or reading can prepare you for; things about parenthood that all moms want their friends to know when, well, we do learn those things and are staring back at the perplexed faces of our dear acquaintances.
Inevitably, having a baby affects our social life. Bringing a child into the world can dramatically alter relationships, but we need to keep our friendships strong post-baby. We want to paint an accurate picture for our friends; a picture that is honest about parenthood and everything that it entails, so that the changes we've experienced are somewhat understandable. We love our kids and this new phase of life, but that doesn't mean that we've left the old one, and our friendships, behind. There are things that don't change after you have kids, and though our sanity is occasionally fleeting, we're still us; a different version, I'll admit, and one that's covered in crackers and possibly urine, but us nonetheless.
So, for the sake of every new mom's friendships and her want (and need) to preserve them, here are a few truth bombs about parenthood, because there really are a few important things every mother needs her friends to know. I mean, who better to be honest with about motherhood, than the people who knew you before you entered into it?
Parenthood Is Exhausting
We are so, so, so incredibly tired, like, all the time. Not getting any sleep in college was fun, but now that we've got kids, we consider sleep more valuable than money. We'd love to meet up and hang out, but it's so hard for us to even keep our eyes open. The notion of going to bed before happy hour even begins sounds so damn amazing. We're sorry and we miss those cocktail specials, but it just does.
Parenthood Is Also Amazing
We're exhausted, yes, but for a pretty amazing reason. We love our kids, and think that they're the best thing that's ever happened to us. In fact, if you got to know them, we're positive you'd feel the same way, too. Being a parent is a tough gig, but witnessing a little human grow and learn and thrive is incredible, and knowing that we had anything to do with helping them achieve even the littlest of victories, makes us beam inside. And on the outside, come to think of it.
It Changes Us, Sort Of
It's impossible to become a parent and not change at all, but that doesn't mean that we're not still the same person at our core. We're still us; we still like to brunch and reminisce and watch trashy reality TV and worry and cry and panic and get emotional for no reason at all, and we still need time with our friends to keep us sane. Our pants might be a bit stretchier, and we might know a little more about breast pumps than we do about Game of Thrones right now (ha, just kidding I know everything about that amazing show), but we still need the escape that a good laugh with great friends can grant us.
We're Capable Of Thinking About Things Other Than Our Kids
Just because we have kids, doesn't mean that we've become mindless maternal zombies incapable of thinking of anything other than yoga pants and feeding schedules. We could easily talk about our kids all day, because they're awesome, but we won't spontaneously combust if the subject changes. In fact, for many of us, we absolutely have to talk about something other than our kids, and very much look forward to conversations that don't revolve around our decision to reproduce. We still care about what's going on in the outside world, and we still need to know all about Lemonade.
We Don't Always Like Being A Parent
The one thing every mother thinks but rarely says out loud is that sometimes we don't want to parent anymore. Sometimes we want to quit. Sometimes we want to wave the white flag and retreat to the nearest pub to bask in the boozy bliss of liquid freedom. Sometimes we miss not having to worry about anything other than finals or weekend plans or curtain panels, and more often than you'd expect, we miss the time in our lives when we weren't needed every hour of every day. This gig is hard and sometimes we feel like we're failing. Even if we look like we've got it completely together, we really don't.
Parenthood Can Be Isolating
We might have started a family, but sometimes we still feel alone. That's because parenthood can be isolating. Taking care of an all-consuming human every hour of every day, especially before they're able to talk or reciprocate our emotion, can sometimes feel like we're in our own little world completely unaware of what life is like outside of the four walls of our child's nursery. We get down and out sometimes, even though we know we should feel elated to have the opportunity to raise a family. That doesn't mean that love our children any less, but it does sort of feel like we're flying solo sometimes.
We Still Need Our Friends
We may have kids of our own now, but we'll never stop needing our friends. If anything, becoming a parent makes a person realize how much they truly need their friends in the first place. Becoming a parent is such an exciting phase for us, sure, but we want it to be exciting for our friends, too. We want our friends to be the designated aunts and uncles that our kids grow up to love just as much as we do, and we want our friends to be a part of every celebration and milestone. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the presence of our friends, and one of the greatest gifts our friends could ever give us is the willingness to have a presence in our kids' lives.
We're Not Entirely Sure What We're Doing
We might look like we're certain of what we're doing but, to be honest, we're still figuring it out. You should see the list of questions we've asked Google about our kids' poop or tantrums of soft spots or belly buttons. Seriously, it's embarrassing and we sometimes wonder how they let us leave the hospital with our babies because there are days when we don't have a clue what we're doing. We might not ever solve every mystery of parenthood, but we're trying our best, and we think that's a pretty good start.
We Love Our Friends, Family, And Free Time, But Our Kids Will Always Come First
We want to attend every birthday, wedding, and anniversary. We want to sing and dance and drink the night away with our friends and family, but if our kid is sick we're not leaving their side. We love our friends and family, and make every effort we can (often successfully) to be an active part of their lives, but our kids come first every time. That's a sacrifice we knew we were going to have to make before our babies were even born, and we'll never apologize for prioritizing their needs above all else.
Parenthood Is Worth Every Struggle, Even Though It Doesn't Always Feel Like It
Sometimes parenthood feels like losing a game; it's isolating and heartbreaking and it's almost always a constant struggle, but it's worth it. Seeing our kids reach their milestones; hearing their voice for the first time; watching them take their first steps; witnessing their constant infatuation and awe of their surroundings, is the reason we wake up every day. It's the fuel that keeps us going when we feel like our efforts have been completely exhausted.
Being a parent is an amazing thing; it's sticky and messy and really, really stressful, but every tantrum we combat, every late night and early morning we trek through, every explosive diaper we stomach and every tear we wipe away, is absolutely worth seeing the world through a child's eyes. It's one of the most beautiful and inspiring things, and we get to live it every day. It is not easy, but it is so so worth it.