Why being a parent is the hardest and best thing you'll ever do
There is pretty much nothing that’s not life changing about becoming a parent. Before your little one arrives, you might not be able to imagine how hard parenting can be - or how wonderful.
Then, when you have a baby, your whole world tilts and the views you hold on almost everything starts to shift. While so much changes practically (Will I ever nip anywhere again? What is sleep? Where has my brain gone?)
...the emotional transformation is bigger still.
People tell you different things about motherhood.
That it is sleepless nights.
That it is obsessing over naps and growth and teething and milk feeds.
That it is endless love and a bond so strong it can never be broken.
And it is. It is all of these things but more besides.
Our stories are like a million others, told a thousand times. Yet there is nobody just like you, and nobody quite like your little one.
It’s discovering new depths to yourself: new emotions, new strengths, a new steeliness. It’s fighting back tears because you’re so exhausted you just want to give up, while knowing you never will.
It’s the end of an old life and the start of a new one. It’s feeling like you’ll never be spontaneous again (although you will) and letting the unfamiliar weight of responsibility settle over you, sometimes too heavily.
It’s closing eyes, and cautious, finger-crossing relief.
Piles of washing. The unswept floor. All of the advice.
It’s driving your baby to sleep because, this week, it’s the only way he will settle. It’s parking up to grab just a few quiet stolen moments to yourself.
It’s longing for a break then feeling as though an arm is missing whenever you’re apart.
It’s realising that everything that’s come before has brought you to this point. That you’ve been led here and, together, you both belong.
It’s the creation of something beautiful... that also means losing a part of yourself. It’s realising some things have to give, and that you’re no longer the centre of your own world.
It’s the beginning of new friendships. Of connecting over tiredness, proud moments and the contents of nappies.
It’s teething and tummy aches, dream-piercing cries. It’s worry, it’s laughter.
It’s knowing there is nowhere else you’d rather be.
It’s the knowledge - finally - of what you can do. Of your resilience and strength.
And it’s a whole new universe of self-doubt. Can I do this? Am I good enough?
(Yes… and most definitely.)
It’s hazy, crazy days, that both speed by and drag. How is it the afternoon already? How can I handle another 4 hours without a break?
It’s heart bursting moments of happiness. It’s fun. It’s fascinating, it’s a little bit boring.
It’s holding a hand, stroking a forehead. It’s pulling silly faces and wiping away a tear.
It’s being swept up and set alight by a single moment. A smile just for you as you pick food off the floor once again. A hearty belly laugh salvaging a tough, tiring day.
It’s singing the same songs. It’s hair grabbing and pinching. It’s an impatient sigh as you silently beg your baby to fall asleep.
It’s your hearts beating together, awake, at 2 am and 4, and again at 6.
It’s fear… love… bliss… darkness... light... everything... always.
And the hardest and best thing you'll ever do.
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