Having kids is the biggest responsibility I’ve ever had. From worrying about their health in utero (and your effect on it) to having to feed, clothe, shelter, teach and nurture them until the day they move out (whenever that is), they take over your life. Don’t get me wrong, I have “a life” but it’s way different with kids. They always come first. I know your relationship with your spouse should come first, and it does in a way. You want to keep nurturing that relationship, because if you don’t, what do you have when the kids are gone? But your spouse can feed himself. You can leave him alone for a few days. But you can’t do that with a newborn baby, or even a 12 year old for that matter.
Besides being a surgeon (now THAT’S pressure), kids are pretty much the biggest responsibility ever. And it’s one I still don’t feel responsible enough for. My kids are often late for school, I sometimes let them watch movies while I nap on the couch, very often we eat frozen pizza or corn dogs for dinner, and I rarely read to my girls. What happend to me? I used to read to the boys ALL THE TIME! I guess I’m getting more and more lazy in my old age, after all I am 30 now. I vow to do better. There you have it, now I will.
I thought I pretty much understood what it would be like to be a parent. I had two sisters that were much younger than I was and I had changed my share of diapers. But what shocked me when I had my own kids was the 24 hour nature of the beast. Parenthood doesn’t go away when you want a shower, need to pee, or (perish the thought) have to defecate (yes, I went there), or even when you go to sleep or get a sitter and go out. It. Is. Constant. There are the nights when the baby is still really new and won’t sleep at night. At all. There are the nights when all 3 kids are throwing up, but not all at once. You actually go back to bed between barfs only to be jolted out of bed again every hour to clean up more vomit. There is the lack of showering because the baby just won’t be put down for 10 minutes. The 10 minutes straight of screaming and crying while you are in the bathroom, trying to hurry, while your 3 year old begs you to “take this off!” I still don’t know what she was talking about. Apparently brother took care of it…eventually. The hardest thing for me as a new parent was not being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted.
One of the hardest things for me now is when the kids fight with each other. It’s enormous pressure to have to figure out who was in the right and think of an appropriate consequence for the one(s) in the wrong. It’s mentally and emotionally draining and most of the time I refuse to do it at all. After probably 8 years of listening to them fight, I’ve started just telling the boys to figure it out on their own or they will BOTH be punished. When it’s obvious who’s causing the trouble or if it starts to affect me in any way, I intervene. Other than that, they can hash it out on their own.
And then there is the pink eye, the fevers, the owies, the boogers, the spit-up, the diarrhea, the doctors, the specialists, the hospitalizations, the co-pays, the friend drama, the soccer games and practices, the price of football and swimming lessons, the report cards, the hair-brushing (heaven help us), and that only scratches the surface.
One nice thing is that J-Dub is already 11 and J-Dog is 9. That is really starting to take the pressure off of me a little bit. Not only are they mostly capable of taking care of themselves, but they can take care of the girls a little bit. And the older they get, the easier it will be in that way. But I’m not looking forward to the trials of teenage life. That will bring a whole new set of responsibilites.
I may not be ready to for parenthood, but it’s here. I just hope I can keep my head above water long enough to get them through to be successful adults with good character and values who in turn pass that on to their children. No pressure.