I am betting at some point in time, we have all had our parents say to us “You will never know what it’s like to be a parent until you become one yourself!”. And in all our teenage angsty pimply glory we have responded with “Pppffffftttt! WhatEVER!”.
But ooooohhhhh how right they were. Because NOTHING can prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster that is parenthood. A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y nothing! It is one hell of a ride. You know that feeling before you get on a rollercoaster, that nervous, excited anticipation of what is to come? Yeh that – plus a shitload more!
On so many occasions I have been rendered speechless by the full impact of emotions that I feel at any given moment as a parent – it is hard to put into words the overwhelming rush of emotions that I experience as a Mum. But I shall try my best, perhaps it will be easier to write than to say out loud.
Here are just a few emotions that have taken on new meaning for me since I have become a Mama of two:
Wow! I never knew I could love so unconditionally and that it could be so all consuming. I feel like my heart is over flowing with the love I feel for my children. I feel like my heart will just splatter all over the damn place because it’s so freaking full! That may sound as if I hadn’t experienced love prior to having children – which is far from true. I have experienced love as a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend; but nothing can prepare you for the love you will have for your children. Or the love that is reciprocated by your children. It will literally consume you and make your heart ache – which brings me to my next point…
The first time you witness your baby in pain, sick or hurt, the heartbreak will knock you on your arse. It will hit you like a train. It will wind you. There is nothing more heartbreaking than having to watch your baby suffer knowing there is nothing you can do to take the hurt/sickness/pain away. You will think back to the time you went through a break up in the past and laugh at what a dumbarse you were for wasting all those tears on that SOB, because that heartbreak has nothing on ‘parent heartbreak’!
The day you have your children will be the happiest day/s of your life! And after that you will experience happiness on a whole different level. And your perception of happiness and what makes you happy will change instantly. You will find that the things that you thought made you happy prior to having children will not matter as much, if at all. You will find true happiness in the simplest of things, and your life will be richer for it.
Oh the sadness! Oh the HURT! Remember when prior to having children NOTHING could touch your heart – you worked so hard to protect yourself that you could rebuff the most painful of things and come out on top with barely a scratch?! Then as soon as your first baby comes along those walls of self preservation came crashing down, because there is no room for those when your heart has swollen to hutungus proportions thanks to all the love thats crammed in there now! So that means that when something happens to that beautiful baby of yours – the sadness and the hurt harpoons your heart and that shit knocks you to your knees! Even the smallest thing like someone not saying ‘Hi’ back to your friendly toddler (when in reality your kid is so friendly he says hello to freaking everyone and he hasn’t even noticed that 1 person out of 1000 hasn’t returned his friendly greeting) will make you so sad and hurt so much that you will want to wrap your heart and your baby in bubble wrap so you can protect yourselves from all the meanies out there.
And the crying! Don’t even get me started on the CRYING! There was a time that I was so composed that not even the saddest movie ever could make me shed a tear. Now I will ball my eyes out about every freaking little thing. Go to serve myself some milk on my cereal – there is no milk left. How can I have cereal without milk?! Now I can’t have breakfast! FML! Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! (To put things into perspective – most days by the time I get to eat my breakfast it’s almost dinner time so I am usually a tad delirious by then – hence the hysterics!) And movies – I dread watching a movie, because I know at some point I WILL cry. Think animated kids films are safe? Think again. That part when Wreck It Ralph is trying to save Vanellope and is potentially hurtling to his death and he chants, “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be then me.” OH EM GEE! Gets me every single time! And that is not normal considering my son can watch that movie 50 million times in one day. Or that part in Big Hero 6 when Baymax sacrifices himself to save Hiro – I was balling my eyes out! Not Baymax – he’s so fluffy!
Despite being a blubbering mess half the time, as soon as you lay eyes on your child there is nothing you wouldn’t do to protect that baby of yours. You would give your life for that child. You are instantly a lioness/lion and anything that dares to mess with your cub will be shredded into tiny pieces. You will take on the world if you have to in order to ensure your baby is safe, happy and healthy. You will surprise yourself with your inner strength. You will be able to handle anything life throws at you in order to stay strong for your family, to be the pillar that holds everything together.
Anxiety as a parent is on a whole other level. As morbid as it sounds, as a parent there are times when you can’t help but start thinking ‘What if something happens to my baby?’ At first this train of thought may be something as little as your child getting a nasty bout of cold or flu, or maybe they fall over and hurt themselves. Then the next thing you know you are imagining the absolute worst, and you are hyperventilating and looking around frantically for a paper bag to breathe into! I can’t even bring myself to write about the worst case scenario in case I bring on a panic attack!
Then there is the anxiety you feel when your stupid brain decides it wants to keep you awake at 3am in the morning with thoughts of ‘What if something happens to me? What about the kids?’. So you wake your husband up frantically with “We need to organise our Wills ASAP!” and then spend the next 4 hours lying in bed wide eyed, mentally listing each point that needs to be included in your Will to ensure your children are well looked after if you die, a document which looks like it is going to be 1,500 pages long.
At some point you hit a certain age where you loose that child like excitement you felt on special occasions or when good things happened in life. Like counting down the days until Christmas because you looked forward to giving and receiving gifts and the huge feast that awaited, and basking in the Christmas Spirit. The day you realise you have lost that excitement is a sad day indeed.
But then you have children, and you see everything through your children’s eyes, and once again the magic of all those special moments comes flooding back, and you realise you are just as excited (if not more excited!) to experience these moments with your family, and it is truly wonderful to have that back again.
So that is just a taste of why my parents were right when they told me I would never know what being a parent was like until I became one myself. They also told me they hoped I had a child just like me – I am hoping they were soooo wrong about that one!
Phew – just writing this post has taken me on a crazy ride of emotions – I need to sleep it off! Let’s hope it isn’t one of those nights where I add another 500 pages to my Will and Testament! 😉