For example, before I became a parent, I had certain expectations on what I thought I'd be like as a parent. I said things like, "Oh, MY CHILD will do this, or be that way, or NEVER do that..." I said that until she arrived. Sometimes your hopes and dreams are correct, but sometimes I find yourself doing the very things I swore I'd never do.
My baby girl is only 12 weeks old and already there have been several instances that are very different than how I imagined it.
- I really wanted to have a natural childbirth. I realized before Brooke breathed her first breath that I needed to be open to change.
- I was planning to keep Brooke with me in the hospital and not send her to the nursery. I wanted to cherish this stage. I can catch up on sleep later. Well, the first night we kept her in our room...the second night I sent her to the nursery. It was one of the best decisions I made up to that point. I slept for 4 whole hours that night. I remember it very distinctly. It was a Saturday night, and they were the first 4 hours I slept since the last 4 hours I slept, and that was the previous Tuesday night. I can't remember sleeping at all until then. I figured getting much needed sleep would make me a better Mommy when we brought her home.
- I swore I'd NEVER let my infant sit in front of the TV for entertainment, just so I could have some "me-time" or to get things done. I can't remember how long that lasted...but it was maybe a week? I couldn't avoid it, Josh would be watching sports or something, and she would strain her neck trying to watch it. I can't help it, she loves her basketball, and she loves her Baby Einstein videos. I still try to limit the amount she watches, but I never thought I would have to tell a 1-month old baby, "OK, honey, that is enough television." I thought it would be at least until pre-school age.
- I tried to get off caffiene during pregnancy and the breastfeeding stage. I am actually having a cup right now while I write this. Without any feelings of guilt.
- I have been a nanny for the last 6 years and have sort of (but not quite) "raised" 10 other kids. I thought, "I am SO ready to be a parent", or "It's not really THAT hard, or time-consuming, or even tiring". Nope, wrong again. It's SO much different when it's your own child.
- You really can't imagine how much love you will have for your child. No matter how much you're thinking during labor, "This can't be worth it...this sucks...this baby is SO getting a spanking when he or she finally comes out" the second they do, you are CONSUMED with emotion and love that you will never be able to describe to them.
- You will eventually find yourself saying things that your own parents did that you would roll your eyes at and think to yourself, "I'll never say that"...things like, "Because I said so" or "Because I'm the Mommy" and think to yourself, "I get it now. I really am going to say that eventually to my own kids. Mom and Dad were right. Wow. I was not nice enough to them." And then you will find yourself fighting back tears thinking, "They love me as much as I love my baby. I had no idea." And then taking it even a step further and realizing that God loves all of us even more than that. Then you have this amazing worship experience. It's all very emotional, becoming a parent. But I love every minute of it.