More than once, I have found myself shaking my head as I ask myself, Is this what I signed up for? And then I realize that, as a parent, whether I knew it or not at the time, this is exactly what I signed up for.
A friend of mine recently posted an Instagram story featuring some of the lies she has told her kids to make her life as a parent a little bit easier and a lot more entertaining. When I saw her post, it inspired me to do a little digging to see what kinds of stories other parents are telling their kids to help them get through the day with a chuckle or two. When I originally posted the question, I thought I was going to get a huge variety of crazy answers, but what I found instead was kind of fascinating. Imagine my surprise when, over the course of a couple of days, I started to realize that we are all lying to our kids about the same things.
I have to imagine that one of the greatest struggles of maternity leave has got to be finding the will and strength to leave the house. Actually, I don't have to imagine, because I know this to be true. When I was on mat leave the first time around, the seduction of Netflix, combined with both my fear of Mommy and Me groups, hatred of cold weather and just general laziness found my new baby and I spending the better part many winter weeks hanging out around the house.
This is neither a letter of celebration, nor regret. This is simply an acknowledgement of your presence; a simple note to say that, yeah, I see you, in all of your loose-skinned glory. I accept that you're here. I know that I spent 9 months cultivating you, eating cheeseburgers when I should have had a salad, taking naps when I should have done a workout. But I was hungry. And I was tired. It's not that I hate you; I just haven't learned how to love you yet.
I started to think of this unfair expectation that moms put on themselves in the context of our children. Would we ever belittle the accomplishment of one of our kids if they hadn't achieved it in the "typical" way? Would we ever tell them that there was only one "appropriate" or "acceptable" method to reach one of their goals and that, if they received any outside assistance in attaining that goal, it wouldn't count and they should be ashamed of themselves?
I've been on maternity leave #2 for the past two months. Of the last eight weeks, approximately six were spent with different family and friends coming to help out with our new baby, or coming to stay to help us celebrate the holidays. Once the excitement of Christmas was over, my husband returned to work [...]
In preparation for my second C-Section, I scoured the Internet for encouragement and advice on how to head into the operation with confidence. I soon found that a lot of the information out there is filled with doom and gloom, and was feeling even less excited about heading into the procedure than I had been [...]
It seems like whenever people ask you about your pregnancy, the first question is, "How are you feeling?" and the second is something along the lines of, "Everyone's healthy?" Whenever people would ask me the second question during my last pregnancy, I could feel myself preparing myself to lie as I would smile and answer, "Yep!"