Today we’re going to start out with some truths about me that you may or may not know:
- I’m a completely selfish person (ok…you probably know that already)
- I don’t really like kids
- I didn’t plan my pregnancy
- I was scared shitless when I found out I was pregnant
- I thought I would make the worst parent in the world (the jury is still out on this one)
- When someone has a new baby, I rarely ask “Oh- can I hold it?’
- I don’t smell new babies and get a sense of longing.
- I have never once regretted my decision to only have one child
But, as you all know, I have a child. I have a child who I love fiercely and would do anything for.
Pregnancy changed just about my whole game.
Pre pregnancy I had a time consuming, soul sucking job where I spent many hours at the office. And I spent many hours reading about things work related (not at work FYI) 430 am I was on the exercise bike in my bedroom, watching news to see what could affect the markets. I spent many evening talking to clients at hockey games and restaurants. I had a limited personal life, and when I did have a personal life it was indulgent (or my level of indulgent- no one is really calling me a hedonist). The thought of taking care of a child was not even in my sightline.
Boom. 36. Pregnant.
Obviously I had the baby…
But I made a conscious decision to really work at parenting. To work as hard at parenting as I had done at my job, because like it or not, parenting is a job. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself: “If I’m not around do I ever pay someone to watch my child?” And if you say “Oh- but that’s not parenting” to which I add- does that person feed them, discipline them, tell them to do their homework, tell them to go to bed? Cause guess what all those things are?
Overnight I had to go from self indulgent to outer indulging. I had to realize that I was taking on creating and raising another life form.
I remember the list of things I was not supposed to do while pregnant. I once ate brie and beat myself up for days….I decided my child was going to have issues because I craved creamy unpasteurized cheese. (FYI- this is what pregnancy books do to you- you consider getting a feeding tube so you can only ingest healthy things, and then wrap yourself in bubble wrap) Did I mention that I was 7 months pregnant on 9/11/01? Living in NYC? Yeah…good times…
And now? While clearly not even in the running for Mother of the year (Kelly and Ryan will not be surprising me at my door with a bouquet and spa day) I am reasonably proud of my parenting journey. I only mildly screwed up my daughter last night when she asked a question and I told her not to be ridiculous and stop overthinking (I know- I told someone else not to over think- really…who am I?)
I also know that Parenthood is not a rite but a privilege. A privilege. It is a privilege to be able to take care of a child, whether it is biological, adoptive or whatever way a child lands in your care. It is a privilege to be able to watch a child grow to maturity, to share their success as well as their failures, to laugh with them, to cry with them. It is a privilege to love someone more than you ever thought possible. Do not ever underestimate parenthood, or the power of being a parent.
Parenthood changes you. And you will never be the same again.