Parenting is not optional. It’s expensive and exhausting and 3 out of 7 days each week you will want to turn in your resignation.
I regret to inform you I can no longer serve as caregiver of this child. I have decided to take another route.
Stick around. God gave you some eggs or some sperm that did what eggs and sperm were created to do and you’ve got a baby. You can quit a job but you can’t quit on a baby. I mean you can…but someone is going to have to pick up where you leave off and that makes you look like a real piece of crap. Are you okay with looking like a piece of crap. Have you ever just stood over and looked at a piece of crap? Not the cute emoji on your phone but the large pile in your front lawn…your neighbor’s black labrador crap…you mow and edge and plant some geraniums and walk out to find a mountain all fresh and covered in flies in your front yard…Yes. That crap.
I know it’s overwhelming but you are not alone. If your family isn’t in the picture, the world is full of other parents, singles and doubles, and it would be best to find you some good ones and link arms. Kids are needy. They need you more than you need anything. They get hungry before you clean up the mess from the last time they were hungry. There are diapers to buy and clothes constantly being outgrown. I know it’s expensive but God will provide. Ask any parent who has made it to the other side about the times they didn’t know how they were going to feed their babies and they will share with you how there was more than enough. His eye really is on the sparrow.
I sunbaked Paige at 3 days old. Yep. I brought her home with a mild case of jaundice and was instructed to place her in the sun wearing only a diaper. The UV rays would balance the high bilirubin levels that were causing her to look yellow. No problem Doc…I got this. Wearing only a diaper, I carefully placed her in her carseat and set her to face the afternoon sun. I had a storm door that faced west…in Texas…in July. Shall I continue? I shall.
Should I consider neonatal nursing?…It’s like I’m a natural at this…you know…I could start there then go on to be a pediatrician….Can you imagine the life we will have Paige Elizabeth if mommy becomes a doctor?!?! Paige? Paige!
Oh dear Lord…I cooked my baby. I removed her diaper to reveal a coppertone tan gone wrong. She was rock-lobstered. Less than 72 hours into this thing and I’m failing…already.
Motherhood is a learning curve.
I wish I could tell you this was the first and last faux pas of my parenting years. Hardly…everything from cutting bangs that made them look like I’d rescued them from a religious compound to dragging them through grocery stores kicking and screaming to forgetting to pick up needed supplies for a school project to putting mayonnaise on a mustard lover’s sandwich to getting called out on saying crap too much at a Back to School family meeting to subjecting them to the aftermath of a split family…I’ve done it. There is NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT PARENT.
There is such thing as an imperfect person willing to do anything to keep a child safe and confident of their unconditional love.
There will be things you get right and things you get so very wrong. Learn the lesson and keep moving.
Here. Have some grace.
It’s okay to get them a happy meal… because FOR TODAY you’re too tired to bake over priced pasture raised chicken and roast broccoli and sweet potatoes drizzled in coconut oil and sea salt. FOR TODAY it’s okay to send them a package of peanut butter crackers with a spotty banana and some artificially dyed cheese balls in their lunchbox…you will run by the store later and pick up some almond butter, sprouted bread, quinoa, hummus, organic apples and jicama…and don’t you forget the oxygenated water…they’re learning fractions on Thursday and we all know learning begins with proper hydration. My girls were often fed Sonic and McDonald’s and GMO’s from a tired mama bear and they are smart, kind and beautiful inside and out.
Listen to Gina.
You are the one they depend on for EVERYTHING… but honey…they also think you can do ANYTHING.
You are the MOST AMAZING PERSON THEY’VE EVER MET.
…until you’re not the most amazing person they’ve ever met. They grow up and they find new heroes and we pray it’s less Miley Cyrus and more Caitlin Crosby …they get over you and start feeding themselves and dressing themselves and you get booted.
Be the hero of their story for as long as they will let you.
Wear the cape and the crown and use those superpowers. The way you do what you do on 3 hours of sleep. Girl. The way you can make her laugh when all you wanna do is cry. Look at you. I saw you singing over her last night while she slept. It was storming outside as well as inside your soul but you sang anyway. Friday is coming and so is your paycheck. You want to give her everything…I know…but save it. Tuck that money away and give her a box. Her creative spirit will be soaring in a rocket ship to the moon in that simple box. You cannot spoil her with your love and you cannot hurt her with established boundaries. She craves your instruction. Your “no” met with a fussy face is the “yes” that will save her later. Put your phone away and read the book…and read it again..and again. She does not know it’s 2017. There is not modern convenience or advanced technology to impress her… there is only a thirst for knowing and the best teacher is you. You are the one. And you are the one who gets to celebrate when she reads her first words in the book you’ve read a million and seven times. You are the one. You are her first teacher. First preacher. First leader. First love.
Provide a safe environment for her to come home to when the world out there feels everything but safe. Be careful what you say…YOUR words are the most important words she hears…be careful what you listen to…she’s listening, too…be careful what you watch…she’s watching, too.
Please guard her heart and let her be little.
Paige recovered faster from her sunburn than I did from my feelings of inadequacy…her jaundice was gone and I moved on to my next hundred failed attempts at motherhood. I watched moms I admired and asked so many questions and learned and grew and over time became rather confident in my ability to raise a child…and then one day my phone rang and an uncertain little momma was asking me for advice! What?!
I pray one day your phone rings from someone watching how well you raise your child and asks you for advice. Lead the way…