You Said It: What surprised you the most about becoming a parent?
on April 08, 2008
What surprised you the most about becoming a parent?
Probably how much I would enjoy it. I just love spending time with her. It’s harder work than when I was working, but it’s more fun and more rewarding.
How quickly you totally fall in love with your kid. I had never changed a diaper until
the day he was born and I picked that up no problem. I guess his completely non-pattern sleeping pattern surprised me. He tends to sleep from 6:00 to 10:00 in the
morning, so we just sleep in.
What surprised me was all the demands that having a child has made on my life. The need to be indispensable – always being there in the morning, noon and night. It’s being on call 24/7. It’s a neverending job.
I was shocked at how much love I have for my child, and how when I held him, it made me cry. He was just this little bundle of joy and so dependent on me, and he was waiting for me to help him to grow up to be a good little boy. And I used to just rock him and I’d cry because it is so overwhelming. I think what really changed was that I had my son when I was 42, so we were older, and it just brought the whole family together. It wasn’t just the two of us anymore, it was a family and he became the additional person in our life. Really, I was surprised at how young it made me feel.
The non-sleep. I know everybody says you’re not going to get a lot of sleep. My son doesn’t sleep for more than two hours at a time, and still, even at six months, he still doesn’t sleep well. So, I was surprised at how exhausted you really are. Until you actually live through it, you don’t understand. People say, “Sleep when your baby sleeps,” which is next to impossible because when he sleeps for only two hours at a time, you use that time to eat, have a shower, all that stuff. You hear it, but until you actually go for months at a time with only sleeping for two hours at a time…It was tough at the beginning to get him to eat. I mean, that is a natural thing, to want to eat. He lost a lot of weight when he was first born, a lot more than he was supposed to. I was like, “Eat! What is wrong with you? Here’s the milk; I don’t understand.” So, I worried about that a lot. I had a log of when he was eating, how often he was eating—I just never expected to have to do that, because eating is such a natural thing.