THE 6 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE YOU HAVE CHILDREN
It's no secret that parenting is a gift. A true gift. But it's also an adventure. Like the wild wild west. Filled with mountains of unseen dangerous terrain and also the most magnificent views you've ever laid eyes on. And every day that you navigate, you learn a new trade. Like survival tactics. And the actual size of your heart's capacity. A friend said to me recently she was thinking of getting pregnant. So I ordered another coffee and we started to talk. And here's what I came up with.
Motherhood is not instagram
It’s just not. Nope. Do not get pregnant or adopt if you think motherhood is how you see it photoshopped into a square. It’s not airbrushed, not filtered, not sponsored and not a fucking vacation.
Pregnancy and childbirth are equally beautiful and abominable
I loved being pregnant. Loved it. My good friend? Loathed it. Some people get naked and have photo shoots, others wear a muumuu for 9 months and complain daily. Some wear skinny jeans and high heels for 9 months, some throw up in their car for 9 months. To each her own. But truth be known, there are no rules and there should be no judgement. And for the record, any woman who carries for 9 months and delivers a baby or multiples out of her vagina, deserves zero judgement. Some of it ain't pretty. From pregnancy month 1 to 8 centimeters in labor. And until you've done it or seen it, you won't understand it. But one thing is for sure in pregnancy and childbirth. Equal parts glorious and unpleasant.
Sleep when you’re dead
David Foster, the famous Grammy winning producer (and my previous producer), told me while I was yawning in the studio at 2 am, to “wake up and sing, and sleep when you’re dead.” It was a good precursor to parenting. My best friend said last week she hasn’t slept in 11 years. That was when her son was born. I can’t say the same because currently and God willingly, all my children sleep 7-7 but let’s just say this: parenting sleep will not be the same sleep as when you were 20. Or 30. Or single. It will never ever be quite the same. Also, an hours sleep by yourself on a Southwest flight, is basically Christmas.
Puke is a rite of passage
Your babies/children will throw up on you. You can try with all your might to keep them sheltered from germs, ie: wash and sanitize their hands, keep your shoes out of the house, wash their blanky, their paci, their teddy and their toothbrush. You can also change them out of their "dirty" clothes after the grocery cart ride before they nap, and also breastfeed them till they are 3. They will still puke on you. And they may also shit their pants. Or shit the bed. Or all three. Don’t worry, it usually only lasts 12-24 hours, so you're good. And everyone lives.
Love and marriage + parenting is often unsexy and un-honeymoon-ish
I’m just putting it out there because I don’t want you to become frightened when the sex isn’t there everyday on the kitchen table anymore and you’ve only showered 3 times in a week. It’s called parenting. It’s exhausting. And it’s not that love isn’t prevalent anymore, it’s that sleep and or a nap is more important than passion. It’s when an informercial at 9pm becomes foreplay. But don’t you worry, this is all temporary and you do get your sexy back. To be honest, I was surprised by this stage but also pleasantly surprised by closet sex. (Parent tip: because the closet door has a lock and you can say you're organizing shoes.)
Babies become your heartbeat
If you’ve never felt your heart beat outside of your chest, you’re probably not a parent. Mine never did either. And then I gave birth to my daughter. The rhythm of your life and how the beat of your heart exists post the birth of motherhood, is a different drum. It's sound is created by the children. It exists almost entirely different than anything else you've experienced from head to toe. It's frightening. Riveting. Rapid. Intense. And it's nothing you can prepare for. No training ground for this marathon. No baby steps or manual. But when you do cut the cord and begin to understand the grand fury of knowing that nothing else you've ever seen is more important than the safety and well being of this tiny human, you will begin to understand why God made babies and why he made you so powerful. And how every day for the rest of your days, you will feel the blood pumping right outside your chest and experiencing that feeling, that intense monstrous love, will never grow old or fade till you're dust in the ground.
The only constant is change
Here's the thing. My mother often said this to me while growing up, but it wasn't until I had children that I became fully aware of the magnitude of this truth. The virgo in me really doesn't prefer too much change. I like things the way I like them and I like to be in control of when something needs changed. And perhaps you're type A and certain things need to go a certain way for you in every aspect of your life. Babies change that. Babies change everything. And just when you adjust to their schedule or they've adjusted to your perfect schedule, they grow and it changes. And luckily for women, we are creatures of habit and capable of adapting to every scenario. We mold into the mold and make it work for everybody. And by everybody what I mean is this: when that baby you're staring at decides to stop sleeping through the night (after you finally got her to sleep through the night) and you can't understand for the life of you why this child has changed her tune, and right then, in that dark little corner of her nursery where you'll rock all night long holding her and humming her back to sleep, you'll realize that every turn she takes will change. And despite your best efforts of trying desperately to keep everything in a perfect line, she'll wake you again, stare in your eyes and teach you, that aside from the fact that the only constant is change, the only thing more perfect than being chosen to be her mother, is absolutely 100% nothing.