The BS of Parenting

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Somewhere in the middle of the night, my dear husband tried to hand off our five month old. His efforts to settle our sweet offspring had failed. Being the loving wife I am, I growled, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” Then I got out of bed, went to the bathroom, and came out saying, “You’re poo pooing all of my plans!” What plans? Probably the plans to solve all the world’s problems. Thanks to Chad’s poo poo we’ll never know.

Naturally I have no recollection of this exchange.

You see, it’s been over six months since I last had a night of uninterrupted sleep. Solly may only be five months old but you know I wasn’t sleeping those last weeks of pregnancy. I was waking overnight to pee, blow my perpetually congested nose, attempt to find a comfortable position, get a snack, or simply sit owl-like on the couch, awake for no good reason. Third trimester glory right there.

Here’s the truth: the first twelve months of parenting are about survival. It’s a swirling vortex of sleeplessness, teething, diaper changes, laundry, growth spurts, developmental leaps, feedings, mood swings (both baby’s and parents’), and drool (hopefully just baby’s). You tackle one day at a time, doing whatever gets you to bedtime…or just the next chunk of sleep you can manage to snatch. It’s nothing but BS.

What? I meant Basic Survival. Natch.

36-funniest-and-hilarious-parenting-memes-4We’re in the trenches with Solly. It is no joke. He is adorable, sweet, and lovable. He is also challenging. This being our second, we were surprised how much of the BS stuff we forgot. It happens pretty quickly once the infant stage ends. This is a necessary phenomenon; if it all remained crystal clear, parents may not sign up to repeat it. While only children are totally fine, if every family just had one kid eventually the human race would die off.

There’s a bit of a problem with that forgetfulness, though. We can lose the grace new parents so desperately need. Luke 23:34 ought to be the theme verse for the BS of parenting. “Forgive them, for they (have a helpless infant at home and therefore are so exhausted they) know not what they do.” (That’s from the AAT, Amanda’s Amplified Translation.) It’s for this reason my husband and I have committed to the following maxim: for the first year of a baby’s life, parents get a free pass. Cranky? It’s probably just BS. Inflexible? BS. Irrational? Snippy? Fallen off the face of the earth? You got it…BS.

Admittedly my timing is little self-serving since we’re not quite halfway through the Solly year of BS. Partly I want to plead for understanding and empathy in case my hubby or I do or have done something that offends or makes no sense to you. I also write now because it’s fresh and real and for our future selves, I want to set a reminder to extend that same grace to future new parents, no matter how their particular brand of BS manifests.

Every kid is different so the BS of parenting may be unique for each family, but if we can all agree to assume the best of one another – especially new parents – it’ll make all shades of BS a lot easier to handle. Then all of humanity, new parents, veteran parents, and non-parents alike, can raise their voices together in a grateful chorus celebrating babies, parents, the continued existence of humanity, and the varied BS skills we employ!

Birthday

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I don’t blog here much anymore. I’m too busy keeping up Phin’s private blog, documenting all the fun happenings of his young life. Besides, sometimes my deepest contemplations these days involve poop. Or the little one’s drive to dive head first off of beds and couches. Or how, when my son is the one with the runny nose, I am the one covered in snot.

You don’t want to hear that stuff.

Today is Phin’s first birthday which of course means I’m all nostalgic. This morning I pulled up the pregnancy journal I kept where I wrote notes to him while he was “baking” and recorded his birth story. That was a tough couple of days’ labor working to get him here. Shoot, it was a tough week when we had to leave him in the NICU and then I wound up with a spinal headache and couldn’t hold myself upright unmedicated. Despite all that, we made it, thanks in no small part to the grace of God and the amazing team of people who surround us. We have a cheerful, friendly, healthy son who spreads joy everywhere he goes. Sweet Phineas is one year old. He’s not the only one celebrating a birthday, though. Continue reading

Questions You Should Never Ask, Part Two

Last time, we explored the reasons why questioning people’s singleness can be inappropriate and hurtful. In Part Two we’ll learn how questions about future children can be equally insensitive. Then…hold on to your britches, ’cause in Part Three of this blog miniseries I’ll share some alternatives so that you never find yourself unwittingly picking at your neighbor’s wounds.

Part Two: “When are you gonna have kids?” (variations include: “Are you pregnant [yet]?” and “Don’t you want a family of your own?”)

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courtesy Benjamin David Photography

Before our wedding, my husband and I had the birth control discussion. We needed to work out what, if anything, we were going to do. We considered lots of things as we weighed our options. I didn’t want anything that involved hormones because I dealt with some unenjoyable imbalances in the past. Plus, it took my parents nine years before they got pregnant with me – what if we experienced that kind of delay? We knew we wanted kids and we were both in our 30s; we didn’t want to wait too long. In the end, we decided to not do any birth control and see what happened.

What happened is I got pregnant the first week we were married. Surprise!

We were very excited, but we wanted to keep it to ourselves for a while. Being newlyweds it was a little bit challenging because as soon as you get married, people start asking about kids. Often, that wasn’t a problem because they’d just ask if we wanted to have them. That’s a normal question to ask of newly married couples and quite simple to answer honestly, even in my situation. What was challenging were the people who’d outright ask if I was pregnant yet, forcing me to lie to their face in order to protect our secret. Folks, I am a horrible liar. Continue reading

Dear Sprout,

I have many happy dreamings and one-way conversations with you these days. I talk to you about how fun our life is going to be together with your dad – how we will laugh and sing and play! I ask you how your workouts are going when you get especially rambunctious in there. I try to imagine what it will be like to hold you, knowing that you are half made up of me. I speak encouraging, life-giving words over you about the kind of person you’ll grow up to be.

Sometimes thoughts of the future invade and the responsibility of molding you into the amazing man God designed you to be feels a tad daunting. How will we do it? Looking at the world we live in, I see so many people who exist with a poverty mindset and an entitlement attitude, lacking identity and clawing for scraps. What a miserable way to view the world…and what a miserable world those people create for themselves. I want so much more for you.

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