Updated: Mar 1
No one prepares you to become a parent. They don't come with an instruction manual. You simply do your best. Suddenly you realize that your entire reason for being becomes to serve this child. The things that seemed important, no longer matter because you have this little human and everything you do, have and become is somehow linked to this person.
You are no longer taking the long way through life. No longer stopping to smell the roses because you don't have that kind of time. You can't go back to school, or take the bottom level job and work your way to the top. You have responsibilities now and those things no longer seem as necessary to you as a secure job does. You can no longer afford those risks.
From the moment you conceive you are already being prepared for the task ahead. Don't eat this, or drink that because everything will in one way or another effect that baby. Your body that you once thought represented you is now being hijacked by this little human growing inside of you. That is who you are now. Not that hot woman with her own dreams and agenda. You’re being prepared to be someone’s mom. Still seems surreal but you already can see how you’re changing as well. You are getting a crash course for those 9 months at realizing exactly what unconditional love truly is.
You realize that you are now being trusted to keep an actual human being ALIVE!!! With no training!!! This little human is growing inside your body. Repeat that. A REAL person is growing inside of you! This human out of the millions of people, chose you for the job! By the time this little person arrives, you are too shit scared to think about the reality of this job and what you now have ahead. Maybe thats the blessing, that you don't get time to think because this is the hardest job you will ever have and you will never have the life you left behind again.
You are the center of this humans world. You literally are needed for his basic survival. He cannot walk, talk, feed nor fend or defend himself. He cannot dress, or bath or make it to the bathroom. You must keep this person alive, not just for a day or two but for the next two decades Wow! Thats heavy! But it is true.
You are the sole person or persons if you’re lucky enough to have a partner with you, and you will not only have to literally keep this baby alive but also mold its very existence; it’s soul. What you worship, most likely they will too. Watch sports, or have strong political views, are you a vegan? it all gets absorbed into this little human as his identity takes shape over the years.
If you are affectionate, odds are they will be too. If you are not emotional or good at telling or showing your emotions; odds are they could be distant or not able to show affection easily. Thats some heavy shit!
What goes in, comes out in one form or another. If your relationship is unhealthy or abusive, they will grow to think giving or receiving this treatment is normal. We literally form all the good and bad and hope that as they grow they can find a way to fix the stuff we screwed up.
I am not saying we are going to do it all wrong. We are human too. Just don’t beat yourself up when you do. We all make mistakes or think there is time to do better, be better or spend more quality time shaping them at a later date but life is hard and relentless and waits for no-one. We too are a product of our environment; good and bad. We can only try to be better than our parents were; fulfill where ours lacked and over the generations, they will continue to be better than the one before.
It amazes me that there are so many people who for whatever reason cannot have children the traditional way but sadly they’re many. Then there are so many babies and children who are without parents that simply need love and someone to want them and willing to take on the job of raising them. You would think this would be an easy fix right? No!
In this country you need to show that you are mentally of sound mind to be a parent, go through psych evals and counseling. You need to give financials to prove you can afford to take on the responsibility of raising a human, not to mention how much it can cost to do all they require and be compliant. Pass medical physicals and drug tests because if you take drugs, you cant be trusted with this responsibility, or if you have any unforeseen health conditions. Heck I know of people who were denied adoption simply because they were overweight! They felt that being overweight was unhealthy and no baby should be put in the care of one that may have health issues in the future?! What?
Oh and you better be married and have a few years under your belt of marital bliss because they don't feel a single parent is capable of being both a good parent and still be financially able to manage the job of parenting all alone. Nor do they want the child to be raised in an environment where he may miss out on not having either mom or dad to contribute to his upbringing. Logically this all makes sense right? Yet, anyone that can conceive the traditional way, these important issues are simply overlooked.
No one cares if you're fat, an addict, single, poor or rich. If you own a home or even homeless. There are few resources that are offered to prepare one to truly be a parent. To truly sacrifice owns self for another little human. No one knows or cares if you have a clue how to do it or do it well. Not unless you screw up of course. Because then they care. Crazy that the state can decide you are not doing a good job and take your human away from you. Oddly, they will then make you attend a series of parenting classes, drug testing, psych evals and more just to prove you are worthy to be trusted with this job again. I am confused but it is reality.
We must attend school at least 13 years of our life. 13 years to learn English? Or mathematics. So many things that you probably wont ever need to know in your lifetime yet there is no training for the things you really should.
How to have a good credit score, balance a checkbook or manage your money, how to stretch a dollar when your check barely seems to pay the bills.
I am getting off the point. The main point here is that everyone, including our own government can see the seriousness and importance of parenthood but it is the most unappreciated, overlooked and thankless job in the world.
In business telling your job that you have children is like you admit to devil worship. They see this as a smear because you may need extra time off to care for them, or you're looked at as somehow wrong for having a job at all. Like whats wrong with you? Why do you want a job when you have children? Thats where you belong.
But that job doesn't pay the bills and when you say okay help me I can't pay those bills, they once again look down upon you because, what kind of parent are you that cant afford to pay your bills? It is a lose-lose, thankless profession but its now the focal point of your life for the rest of your life.
Don't get me wrong, that little human still slowly grows. Life doesn't wait or go on pause during this either. You will face breakups and heartaches, stress, and pain but part of this parenting job involves you never letting your little humans see that.
You cry in the shower where you can let it all out. You cry in your car listening to the radio in traffic, but never in front of them if you can help it. But we all eventually fail at this too, in some form or another.
They need to see you as superhuman and superheroes don't cry. You're not allowed to ignore them when you're sick either. No! Throwing up all night, running a fever? but junior still needs a bottle and a new diaper change regardless. Those days of your feelings being so darn important are kind of over. No one cares you're hurting or scared or that you are worried on how to pay bills, that is life, that is this adulthood thing you longed to have for yourself. The thing you swore your parents didn’t know how to manage.
Over the years you somehow lost yourself. That person with wide eyes, excited to enter the world. All those dreams you paused or left unfulfilled hoping you’ll return to them one day.
Maybe you wanted to backpack through Europe, or travel and see God's canvas of beautiful wonders. But those wants have been gone for some time now.
You invested those years into sculpting Juniors dreams. Maybe in a sport so you got him hitting lessons, pitching lessons, anything to make him the best he can be. Taught him to play an instrument, get involved in church. Years of sculpting and hard work to help him succeed and have a life better than you had so you can feel like you did okay at this, that you did something right. Because you swore you wont make the mistakes your parents did right? No, not you. Not your child. Your child is going to be your best friend. You are going to be the best parent ever. You would never be like your screwed up parents. You know better.
But...We all fail at some point. The kids saw things they shouldn't have, or you said or did things you wish you could take back. It's normal, you are normal. Maybe you did the opposite and overcompensated, or spoiled them. Same result, you failed too. Its okay.
Unless you are born with millions in the bank and no need to worry over the normal stresses life will throw at you, then you probably failed, and even if you had those things, you still will fail because life is not easy all the time for anyone. Life will find a way to grab your attention. Bad relationships, illness you name it. Maybe its a financial need. You have to work right? You need to be a good parent and provide. Junior will understand why I am not there or missed his games. No matter what we do we somehow fail them. We only pray that once they become adults that we did a good enough job that they are good people and can go out and do just a bit better than we did.
Suddenly your 18 year sentence is up, Junior is off to college or his own place and you are left with this void where you and your life once lived. Too old to start fresh too young to give up. An older face in the mirror with a body that no longer has the energy to backpack to the park no less Europe. You sit with this extra time now and try to figure out who you are again. That person has been gone so long. What makes her happy, what does she enjoy? Your identity has only been this humans parent. Who the hell knows what even makes you happy anymore but you know all Juniors hopes and dreams. You know that you did the best you could to give him more opportunities than you had and you know you’re tired.
This is where it all has brought you. Tired, old and unenthusiastic. Your entire world was that human that now barely remembers to call you. The person they know will be there whenever they need her but on the day to day, they barely know you‘re alive.
Thousands you spent on themed birthday parties, yet you're lucky he remembers to send you a card on yours. It's not that they mean to be cruel. We raised them to be independent, to have a great life, a better life and they are out there living in it. We showed them we could handle all of life stresses and barely shed a tear. They never saw your sleepless nights, tossing and turning. They didnt know all the pain you've felt over the years or the losses you have endured because it was and always has been about them. You were just the one that provided and facilitated their needs. You didn't want them to see you as weak or vulnerable, as human...and now they don't.
You are just the one they visit at holidays for some nice gifts and a home cooked meal or the one they come visit when they need your love and guidance but as far as your needs? Well to them they really never existed.
They are not cold or unloving. They are just adults now with their own life the life you sacrificed to provide for them. They love you and probably even appreciate a few things now that they are on their own and starting to realize the cost of life both financial and emotional. You just aren't the center of their universe anymore.
No training, and no help to do the hardest job in the world and even when you are the most successful at it, no one is really thankful.....yet.
Its just you and your memories, and some regrets for that person you once where. Wishing you could go back and change things, make things better for yourself, for the kids. In hibf sight we all know our shortcomings, but you can never go back to change them.
Maybe you have friends, and if you're lucky you might even still have one or both your parents. They care. Because parents never stop caring. Even after you had long moved out, had a family of your own; their job never truly ended it just promoted to something new.
They still worried if you are happy. If life is treating you well. they still toss and turn at night. They still hurt and cry. The only two people in the world who you now realize have always loved you more than they loved themselves. Your parents with all their faults, all the mistakes along the way that you swore you would never forgive for all the wrongs you once believed they had made. All the things you wish they could have done or would have done, all their shortcomings, all the ways you felt they let you down or failed you.
Its in that moment that you realize they didn't fail you, they did the best they could and gave you everything they had including themselves. For they may have kept you alive all those years but in doing so they sacrificed their own life and sacrificed so much every passing year.
You realize how they must have struggled all those years when times where tough. How much they suffered losing loved ones along the way. All the stress they must have endured just to keep it together. You realize how much pain they felt when you broke their heart, and yes we all have probably done this, unintentionally or not.
Years weren't easy but they never missed a birthday. We weren't wealthy but mom made every Christmas magical. All those notes from Santa and more gifts than we deserved. We had our own little traditions that she tried to make special. We didn't go on many vacations but we never went without a thing.
It dawns on you how she must have cried in the shower to keep her pain from you. How those rides home in traffic let her have a place to break down in private. How many times she probably just wiped her tears and forced a smile on her face when you came in the room, How many times you broke her heart yet she never stopped loving you. All their shortcomings don't seem to matter anymore. Your parents were only human just like you are right now, flaws and all, just now you’ll know how much mom gave up to give you that life without an instruction manual or much help along the way and that she unconditionally loved you.
Its in that very moment that life has come full circle and you realize she was only human too.