Procreating and entering parenthood comes with an abundant amount of difficult moments. From figuring out how to incorporate a new human being into my life to how to navigate my marriage, becoming a parent has made me a different person. I’ve heard myself say things that my mother’s said to me, and that I promised I would never say. I’ve experienced sides of me that I never knew existed, positive and negative. With being able to reflect and understand
all some of this—and with an additional child—I take note of whatever piece of conscious knowledge and experience I gain, to help me and to share with other parents.
Now, I know unsolicited advice is annoying. Believe me, I try and not do it, but if we’re all being honest, it’s hard. Sometimes, I find it inevitable to give advice when I feel “experienced” in whatever I’m in conversation about. Because of this, I try and stay conscious of what kind of advice I give. Here are a couple of pieces of advice I find myself giving to new parents and parents-to-be (and occasionally myself, still):
Don’t take anything your partner says to you in the middle of the night personally. Try to keep in mind that you are both exhausted (to say the least) and irritated from being woken up for the #th time that night. So…
Communicate. Talk about your feelings. Holding grudges or avoiding communicating your feelings to your partner will only prolong the situation and make your life harder. How? Well, wouldn’t you rather have a happy, willing, and helping partner by your side? Not talking about how your partner leaving the room to sleep on the couch while the baby was crying, for example, made you feel may cause a hostile environment. (I’m not alluding to a violent type of hostile. More like a really good game of the silent treatment.)
It may also be a very confusing situation for your partner. Why? Chances are, they don’t even remember leaving the room to sleep on the couch. I kid you not. The first time I decided to speak to Josh about how his mid-night actions had aggravated me, I learned that he had not done it on purpose. What I had thought to be an insult to my mothering abilities was a simple response to Little Nugget’s ceaseless crying.
My theory is, certain actions are simply responses to what is happening in the environment. Especially when in deep sleep. Plus, mothers are wired differently than partners. I’m no scientist, but I know this is fact. If it weren’t, a baby’s cry wouldn’t cause a letdown.
Laugh together. Eventually, I was able to just take it as it came without taking it to heart. These moments just gave Josh and I a reason to laugh together. Now, if and when it does happen, it’s less of a serious conversation and more of a “I can’t believe you actually said/did that!” Laughing together at something that wasn’t done towards you makes it easier to move forward, parent, and just be.
Staying aware of these pieces of advice and experience is like having a compass; it helps me navigate through the many emotions
parenting life brings. With conscious practice, I am able to better acknowledge that Josh and I are both trying our best, and am cognizant of the fact that we do so during our best and worst times.
I do my best to remember why we find ourselves in these learning situations in the first place…because we loved each other then, and because we love each other now.
Cheers to experience, growth, and advice!