Reflections in the Eye of the Parenting Storm

Dear friend,

Congratulations on your pending transition to parenthood. I’m pretty sure you are thrilled for this change in your life. I hope you will understand, as parent in the messy middle of this journey, if my reaction is sheer unadulterated joy for you.

Please understand that, having been in the eye of the storm for the past 7+ years, that parenthood is one of those things best appreciated in retrospect in the (rare) quiet moments of reflection in reviewing old photos and videos.

The fact of the matter is that most days, you’re operating in survival mode.

Your trying your best to execute your schedule against often uncooperative and irrational little people that must be coaxed, conjoled and rationalized with (notice I did not use the term reasoned with). Please expect the time needed for basic living (getting up and out the door, dinner, getting to bed) will expand 3–4x to take up a considerable more of the 24 hours you have each day.

At the same time your the demands, if you aspire to continue functioning as a productive member of society on your time, will not have changed.

Now publicly-facing you put on a brave face. You smile for the pictures and talk confidently about your ability to manage because society has foisted upon us these unrealistic expectations of the Instagram perfect parenting life. Just understand that’s not the reality.

Don’t get me wrong — I am truly happy for you — becoming a parent is life changing and magical and I’m genuinely excited for you. It’s just the ‘messy middle’ of parenting — the thought of the sleepless late nights and early mornings, the constant frustrations of dealing with meltdowns, coaxing kids into bed so you can get the 2–4 hours of work in that you missed because you had take care of the morning and nighttime routines; the drop-offs and pickups; the many nights spent nursing a glass of whisky to ‘take the edge’ off another long night in the trenches; the emotional labor of managing these little people with increasing independent streaks and obstinate personalities — it does become exhausting.

So congratulations — this is *a big deal* and one of changes in your life, in your (much rarer) quieter moments you’ll reflect on and appreciate.

And please know that if you ever need someone to talk to, to lean on in the challenging times when you mean feel like you are the stuck in this trench all by yourself, as a friend who just happens to be little further down the road because they started sooner —just know I’m here for you.