It’s been a quick yet long three months in casa de Gagnon. Eva has taken over our entire lives and household. As well as she should. It has been difficult, if you have read my other blog posts or my Facebook posts I’ve been very honest about how difficult being a parent is. The internets is wonderful to feel you have a place to vent those frustrations and have a place where other moms say, “Go have a glass of wine in a closet and cry a little. We got you, boo. We got you.” But with all the venting and word vomit in hopes of regaining some sanity I feel I need to also focus on the positive things about parenting.
I feel like there are days where people could ask me, “Why IS having kids so great? Why do it?” And I honest to gawd would need a minute to think of reasons. I’d be lying if I were to say when I get to drive to grocery store by myself I don’t imagine for a second that I don’t have a kid. It’s just me before baby. Carefree and can do anything. I can go grocery shopping. I could go to the beach. I could go to France! Then I buy my groceries and remember that I have to go home and be a mom again. So what are the positives? What are the reasons to do this?
Here are a few from my mind hole:
1.) Unconditional love: This is coming from both sides. I love Eva unconditionally, no question. I know and understand why I do. Eva unconditionally loves me, while she may not understand why, I know she does. Tim and I were talking about how it was surprising the amount of bottomless love we have for her. I said, “I have no doubt you and I will be 95 in rocking chairs someday, but there is still that small fear that you and I could stop loving each other one day. I will never stop loving her and that’s crazy.” To give yourself over to another being this much is amazing and a true example of how far the human condition can go.
2.) My body doesn’t matter: I have been doing really well with my no negative body talk pledge to Eva. The nice thing is that right now Eva doesn’t care about what my body looks like. She rests her feet on my belly because it comfortable. She snuggles into my neck because she needs the comfort. She doesn’t pinch my rolls or ask where my calf definition is. She doesn’t care, she just wants me.
3.) Seeing her grow: It. Is. So. Cool. You brought home this little blob that did nothing but nurse, poop, and sleep. You gingerly touched her head and carefully picked her up. Now we play, we horse around, we let her physically experiment with her body, and I grab a leg and lift her up to change diapers. The day that she stared at her Oball and you could see the thought process of, “How do I get that in my hands?” and the she reaches out and grabs it, that is one I will remember for a long time. At three months old she already gets looks of pride on her face when she figures out something new and I’m there cheering her on.
4.) Loving Tim more: Tim and I are a gross couple. I get that. We are very lovey dovey and knew from the beginning that this was it. But having Eva with him has brought another level of love to our relationship. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that she’s part him, part me, we’ve been through baby hell together, or the fact that we can equally love someone else together, but I love him more. Watching Eva sleep on Tim is one of my favorite activities. I don’t think that will ever stop.
5.) Automatic bonds: When I first went to breastfeeding support group I didn’t really know what to expect. I kept envisioning a Mean Girls situation a la high school. I was still going to be the weird kid that didn’t really fit in anywhere, I was the new kid on the block, and I had the least amount of experience. Kellymom can only help you out so much. I couldn’t have been more wrong. These women were so accepting because if anything, we’re all moms. We’ve all been there. Judgments get tossed out the window because we all go through boot camp the same way. You go into survival mode and you survive it. No matter how differently you survived it, you all did it. That’s a common ground to commiserate on not judge on.
6.) Strangers are super nice: I get doors held open for me. I get genuine smiles. Compliment on top of compliment on my baby. I get to see a good side of humanity. I mean I also get strangers telling me their life story about raising their kids, but hey it helps pass the time in line at Dukin Donuts. I was told the other day that Eva was a Gerber baby. If that’s not winning parenting, I don’t know what measure is. Especially right now in our world, it’s wonderful to see a tough looking leather jacket wearing gruff old man melt when my baby smiles at him. It makes your heart feel good.
7.) You feel like you can do anything: There is no bigger test of your human strength than getting a brand new human through the first few weeks of their life. They know nothing. You know nothing. You laugh for no reason. You cry for every reason. But you get through it. After those experiences, you feel like you can tackle anything. I swear to god, put moms in a room with the leaders of ISIS and things will get resolved. I’m sorry dude, I’ve been pooped on, puked on, peed on, spit up on, smacked in the face, hair ripped from my head, a constant scream in my ear, and had 2 hours of sleep and it’s only 10 am. You don’t scare me. Maybe they just need a good juice box and a listening mom ear.
8.) You have new respect for your parents: When you become an adult you get to a point where you think you and your parents are on the same level. You both adult. You’ve both lived a good number of years. You can consider them friends. Then you have a baby and realize they did this 30 years ago and you can’t help but have a new found respect. There was no internet then. There were no public spaces to yell, “This is so hard. Am I alone here?” There was not the support for post partum there is now, and even now isn’t super great. They did it all more isolated and they survived. You survived. We may have chewed on a few more lead filled window sills, but hey, my immunity system is on fleek. Overall, you look at them in a new light and appreciate so much more what they’ve done for you. At least for me I feel this. I get not everyone had great childhoods like I did, I hope to have that for Eva.
9.) You are a mama bear and love it: I have always been protective of family and friends. You don’t mess with them because I will take you down. If you hurt one of them you have offended me and it’s very difficult to come back from that. With Eva, that protection is a whole new level. I am a mama bear to her and I. Love. It. I feel like I’m always ready to go. It’s a primal instinct. I know where all exits are. I see where all strangers are. I have a kid leash ready to buy in my Amazon cart. I am ready to go. I feel sorry for her first love. I had talks with my sister’s boyfriends and my friends’ boyfriends about what would happen if they hurt these people I love. I can only imagine what I will be with her’s. That person won’t fear Tim. Tim will laugh and say, “You have to worry about Mrs. Gagnon. I’m a kitten in comparison.” I. Love. It.
10.) The best is yet to come: Hey, I cherish these moments. I watch her while she sleeps. I already miss the fact that she fit in one arm full instead of two. I know these moments are fleeting and I’m already 80 years old wondering where it all went. But I also know that amazing moments are ahead of me. First word, first crawl, first steps, first day of school, first heart break, first dance, first game, and a million other firsts. I get to relish in these moments with an amazing partner. I get to send pictures to very proud grandparents. I get to gush to my sister. I get to brag to friends. I already miss the moments that have come and gone, but I look forward to the moments yet to be.
There you have it. 10 positive points of parenting. I could list a lot more but this is a blog not a manifesto. That will be for when my babies leave me and I have nothing else to do. What are some positive parenting moments for you? What are some positive life moments? Just take a second and think of something positive! We all need that some days, not just parents.