Toddlers aren’t the only human beings with shifting emotions with tendencies to go from ecstatic to sorrowful mood in a matter of minutes. Us moms (and all parents, to be quite frank – dear dads, we’re in this together!) do it, too.
There are many things about parenting that make us question our sanity, but the stuff we do or feel when everything is pointing to the opposite thing are the ones tickling my imagination.
Since I became a mom, I’ve been experiencing those very same stages. I knew I was normal – so many parents before me have been through it, before sharing their parenting wisdom. I didn’t quite realize a human can tear into two in such a way, though, unable to differ between happiness and sadness, or to choose between what’s reasonable and what feels good at the moment.
These are the top three paradoxical states I’ve caught myself in. Let me know about your own in the comments!
- Moms are tired human beings. Yet, moms stay up every night – even when they don’t have to.
Every night, when my son falls asleep at 8 PM, I look at him and wish – more than anything – to be able to get the amount of sleep time he gets. In theory, there’s nothing stopping me from doing it, but I rarely ever go to bed early, mainly for two reasons:
- I wake up at 2 AM, lost and confused, unable to get a grip of reality and choose what to do with myself
- One night of sleep is good, but I know I’ll be tired tomorrow anyway; I can’t simply sleep for 12 hours every night and expect my blog/books/business to magically flourish
So I leave the bedroom, make a cup (or a pint, depending how exhausting the day was) of coffee, and I get to work. Most of the time, I catch myself crawling into bed around 2 AM, being comforted by the fact that I will still have 6 solid hours of sleep. (It’s never full 6 hours – at some point during the night, my son wakes up and ask for his seventh bottle of milk. Well, not literally – but he’s still a night eater, so I get up from time to time.)
If I’m not working, I love finding other ways to rest – the ones that require me to stay awake. I’ve realized that I don’t get much satisfaction from sleeping as much as I do from entertainment that gets my awake mind away from problems, and into a world of imagination – a movie, book, game, or a good conversation.
- Moms love their kids more than life itself. Yet, children’s bedtime can’t get there fast enough.
No matter how easy, fun, and relaxing day my son and I have – there’s always that bit of relief once he’s down for a nap, or bedtime. I try my best to be excited, present, and fun when he’s awake, but I’m not always up for it. None of us are. Speaking in a hyped voice and running from one place you’ve been a billion times to yet another quite familiar one is exhausting. When my son goes to bed, I am relieved – for I can relax my face without feeling like a disappointment to my son.
Yet, after a while, I start missing him. I sneak into the bedroom, peer through the crib bars, and wonder: “When’s he getting up? I wanna play!” It’s one of the most confusing feelings I’ve ever experienced. How can you love every second of your time with someone, yet be happy when they give you a break?
- Moms love their kids growing up. But, we’re in constant search for that “stop” button on their backs.
“Wait until he/she starts rolling/talking/walking!” People tell you all the time, and you subconsciously put yourself into the waiting mindset. You cherish every milestone, share it with all your friends and family (who may or may not be interested), give your little one tons of kisses, and immediately begin waiting for another one. We’re all guilty of this – it’s only natural to want our little ones to flourish!
It’s all happening too fast, isn’t it, though? The day we brought my son home from the hospital feels like yesterday. I still remember my husband and I sitting on the bed (well, he was sitting, I was awkwardly standing), staring into that little bundle in his crib, and wondering: “What on earth are we supposed to do now?”
And over the next few months, it all somehow clicked into place. We fell in love with that wonderful boy, and realized how quickly the time flies by. Now I finally understand why people choose to have more than one child – the time with your first one goes by in a flash!
What are your greatest parenting paradoxes and mixed feelings? Let me know in the comments – I can’t wait to hear all about it!