There is something that was never shared with me before I had children. It’s something my husband didn’t get the memo on, either. Maybe it’s something that people that have had children which are now grown have forgotten, and the message never got passed on. Maybe we’re just incapable of realizing the full scope of parenthood before we have children.
But one thing is for sure: there is one message that just didn’t get through to us. And it’s clear that it doesn’t get through to a lot of people that decide to have children.
When you (or your partner) get pregnant, you’re very likely to go through classes and discussions about how child birth will go, and what life will be like once you have the baby. You’re taught that it will be exhausting for the first few months (or even years), while the baby needs to be fed every few hours, and doesn’t sleep when you wish it would. You know that toddler-hood can be a bear, a child discovering and learning to assert his or her independence is difficult at best.
Still, the message is that having this baby is going to ultimately be wonderful and fun, and sunshine and daisies, aaaand I’m calling bull.
There’s something they leave out. Every time. Something SO basic, it really is one of those “No duh.” moments that happens in your mind when you think about the simplicity of it, and yet it seems to slip through the cracks of every thought you had prior to having children. Which is probably why it’s left out. But it shouldn’t be.
Let me tell you what it is:
When you have a child, your personal, selfish, likes-to-pick-up-and-go-out-with-your-friends life is officially put on hold.
No. Duh. Right?
I have to tell you, there is something that sparked this, although it’s definitely not the first time I’ve thought about it. I considered not including that situation in this blog because of the circumstances, but I think I need to let you know what that was in order to get my point across.
At the horribly tragic shooting that happened yesterday in a Colorado movie theatre, a woman and her fiancé had their 4 month old son and their 4 year old daughter with them… at a midnight showing… of Batman.
I feel for the couple that they had do endure such a horrific situation, but my sympathy can only go so far. (My sympathy for the children, however, is never-ending.)
WHY do you have your PRESCHOOLER and BABY at a highly age-inappropriate film at MIDNIGHT?!
Of all people, I certainly know how difficult it is to have children and still have some semblance of a life outside of that. I seriously get the need to go out and be an adult.
On top of that, I also know what it is to try to find help when you do have children. I gave birth to both of my boys three thousand miles away from any of my family. My husband was the only one there with me. And for the majority of the first two and a half years of my parenthood status, my family remained that far from me.
Since we moved last year, I am now only three hours away from family, and it is almost as if I might as well be three thousand miles away still. Nobody’s gonna drive three hours to watch my kids for a couple of hours while I go have my adult time. And they shouldn’t.
My point is, I know how difficult it is to find caregivers to watch your kids.
And do you know what I do when I can’t find someone to watch my kids? I don’t do that thing that I wanted to do. Simple as that. I give that up because the situation I might put my child into otherwise may be inappropriate.
That is called growing up. Taking responsibility for the fact that you are now a parent and responsible for another living and breathing human being that depends solely on you.
This is all just based on my own opinion – but when you add into it the fact that pediatricians advocate (and rightly so) a solid 10-12 hours of sleep per night for babies and toddlers, you KNOW these kids aren’t getting the sleep that they need.
I’m not just talking about this one incident, either. When LT and I were in Disney last year on our vacation, we repeatedly saw small children out after ten – clearly tired, and sometimes very cranky. We see it at home all of the time when we get the chance to go out, too.
I get that there are special occasions, and Disney might be one of them, but then again, we found someone that could watch our boys for the week so that we could ENJOY our time staying up late and having fun as adults (trust me – it’s not enjoyable when you’ve got your cranky toddler to deal with when you’re out).
When did it become okay for adults with children to ignore the needs of their child so that they could live their own lives as if they hadn’t had children in the first place?
I am still able to have some “me” time, but I have to find it, and schedule it, and it doesn’t come as often as I’d like. But do you know what? That’s okay, because I chose to have children and keep them. I’m doing the best I can for their own good, so that they can have every advantage in growing up that I can give them.
That means I have to give up the things I’d like to do sometimes. Some day, when the boys are old enough to look after themselves for a few hours, my husband and I can go and see a movie we want to see that may not be appropriate for the boys without worrying about a babysitter. But until then, it’s a babysitter or nothing. I can live with that.
Apparently, I’m among a seemingly shrinking population of parents, though.