Before having kids, I thought this gig would be easy. I know! I can’t believe how delusional pre-kid me was, but I honestly was so very delusional. I look back on pre-kid and want to laugh in my own face.
I knew I would have challenges, but I didn’t know how hard they would be. I thought I’d get through each challenge (sleepless nights, potty training, temper tantrums, so on and so forth) with patience and ease.
I thought I’d show them or teach them something once, and that would be it. They’d catch on, and everyone would hold hands and dance around together in a circle of utter happiness.
I foolishly thought life would be easy after the first year, that my baby would sleep through the night and be potty trained no later than 3. I didn’t envision the amount of chaos that ensues when my two boys play together, the destructive, intense nature of them combined. I didn’t think their messes and loudness would bother me, because I would be that mom that let their kids enjoy being kids and wouldn’t sweat about the small things or get twisted over messes.
I assumed the hard days wouldn’t be, well…hard. It’s difficult to envision how hard a situation will be on us until it’s upon us. So many times, I’ve thought this will be hard about a situation, and then when I’m going through it, it is hard…so hard, harder than I could have imagined.
When Archer was waking up every hour for the first 2 years of his life, it was hard. So damn hard. It was harder than I ever anticipated it would be. Each day that passed, I was honestly shocked I came through and didn’t completely lose my mind. I came close, many times, but I didn’t actually go off the deep end. A few (okay, a thousand) mommy tantrums, tears and yelling included, was the worst I got. Back then, I felt so guilty for “losing it” like that, but now…I give past-me huge props for keeping it that together on that little sleep.
But then…that hard time passes, and it becomes difficult to recall just how hard it was when it was happening. I know, in my head, that it was harder than I thought it would be, but the depth is lost in my memories.
I want to cry when my friends of newborns tell me how little sleep they are getting, because I remember that. I can’t recall the exact feeling, because the depth of it is lost…but I know it was terrible and it felt impossible. I also know that one day, it won’t be that hard for them. It isn’t for me, anymore…at least not in the sleep department. Things are starting to level out. I still want to fast forward that for them, but then…you fast forward through all the new stages, and they do make up for the lack of sleep. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard, though…terribly so.
Memory is a funny thing. To lessen the blow on ourselves, we can’t often recall the intensity of emotions in past situations. We can label them, difficult, exhausting, heartbreaking, exciting, incredible…but once the moment is gone, the intensity of those feelings are gone too. We never feel it the same way, you know? Or at least…I don’t.
I suppose, in a lot of ways, that’s a good thing.