Beans & Rice for the Soul

teaching, learning and living around the world

On parenthood

After 6 months of this whole parenting thing, I’m emerging from the fog to write.

Like most big challenges in my life- 95% of the time I enjoy it, I try hard to get better at it, I feel all the feels… and then 5% of the time it makes my brain want to explode and I have a little melt down.

A few highlights.

I have pretty strong facial expressions and I love that my son has them too.  Anga is a happy, easy going person and I love that our boy has that same relaxed vibe.

Top 4 things I cried bigly about during my maternity leave:

  • accidentally knocking over a case full of empty plastic water bottles. So many tears.
  • realizing 2 minutes into a stroller walk that there was still way too much snow/ice on the sidewalks to get beyond our block.  Lots of tears.
  • watching the friday night lights episode when Julie leaves for college and realizing I only get 18 years with this kid as a kid. Sob sob sob.
  • the fact that (after watching all 5 seasons of friday night lights in like… 3 days) I was just watching a bunch of netflix trash that I didn’t even want to watch. Oh the crying.

My advice to spouses of criers?  Just give them a good hug and pat their back like a little baby.  That’s all I needed.

Surprises?

When I’m out on my own, I continue to be surprised by the people (and the seemingly high number of people) whose first thought is that my kid is with a babysitter as opposed to my husband.

The week we started daycare, all experienced parents asked “How’d he do?” immediately followed by “How’d YOU do?” But I wish instead they had said “A vicious daycare super-virus will immediately plague your entire family, so invest immediately in a snot sucker.”

He did great by the way, at his first day at daycare.  And I did too.  Made it all the way to the car and half way to the office before I had a small panic attack. “What if they don’t remember his naaaaaame?! How will they figure it out if he’s just a baby and can’t TALK?!!! Maybe I should’ve put a name tag on him!”

I think I might be the most surprised by how unchanged I feel. I still like my long hair, and doing it up fancy sometimes.  I still like the same clothes. I still have to talk myself into going running. I still like the same food, the same people, same work…

Being a parent makes my life feel way more intense than it did before.  I think what I miss most about pre-baby life was having long stretches of time to concentrate on a single thing.  Like writing a blog post.  Can you imagine? I used to spend entire Saturdays just… writing.  And now the maximum I can go without a baby related interruption is 4 hours.  Pretty wild.

Another element that adds intensity is the sheer number of new, shared decisions.  It’s easy to see how having a kid can either intensely strengthen or tear apart a couple! All of those shared decisions require good communication, a willingness to compromise, and a commitment to keeping the vibe right.  It’s like the stress of wedding planning x 1,000,000,000,000,000… because it’s not an event, it’s a human; it’s not the color of the napkins, it’s the fit of the car seat.

You know that expression labor of love?

I love my son and all, but the baby chores are not a labor of love for me.  I will say loud and clear that I do not like pumping, I do not like putting bottles in the dishwasher, unloading the dishwasher, doing additional laundry, deep cleaning the floors because there are splashes of spit up in every room… those things do not bring me joy.  At the same time- none of these baby chores are particularly difficult…  it’s more just like lots of little mundane tasks on repeat.  Not that deep.

Overall, Anga and I continue to be devoted to each other, and we love love love our son.  The number of times each day that we say “I just love him so much!” and “He’s just so CUUUUUUUTE!” is utterly absurd.

In the end, I’m still me.
Anga is still Anga.
The interruptions and shared decisions can be intense.
The chores are not that deep.
And we love being parents together.

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2 comments on “On parenthood

  1. GWGA
    August 2, 2017

    You and Anga are great parents! All that sounds pretty typical. The joy of experiencing the world through a child’s eyes is just the very best joy! It takes so little to excite them and is so easy to love them, despite the work involved! Love all of you and look forward to so many fun times with Mandela!!

  2. bevwalls
    August 9, 2017

    Sara, I’m glad that you are back to posting your insightful pieces. You, Anga, and Mandela are a lovely, happy family, and I know that you will have incredible things to share with your readers.
    Do have any suggestions for 2 mid-60-year-olders who are willing to spend some time giving back to world, possibly the names of worthwhile and stable agencies or organizations? Mitch and I are currently in Wales, after spending time in the Azores, England, and Scotland. We would love to find a place to do some work for a couple of months, and we have the ability to fund our time wherever we go. I was a teacher of English, reading, and writing, and also love teaching art and crafts. Mitch was a great manager, woodworker, archivist, and exhibit organizer. Surely, someone could find a place to use our skills. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for international volunteer programs.
    Wishing you the best in you motherhood, marriage, and work.

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2017 by in Uncategorized.
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