The Magic of Being a Parent: A Practice in Savoring the Good Parts vs. Focusing on the Hard Ones

My husband and I recently visited friends of ours who are expecting their first child. They said that it was refreshing to be around parents who had positive things to say about the experience of having a baby and raising a child. 

Apparently, all of the people in their circle were telling them how terrible it was going to be, how they should be prepared to be miserable from now on, and how their lives would not be changed for the better. 

This made me realize that, while it is so important to tell the raw truth about having a baby and parenting, it is also important to share stories about the GOOD moments and the magic. 

So, in an effort to get some positive energy around parenthood out into the world, I am sharing five ways that becoming a parent has changed my life for the better.

1. I never knew I could become a morning person. But now, I surprise myself by how happy I am to see my son Henry’s sleepy little face at 2am, 4am, 6am… any time he wakes up and needs help from us. Some of the most beautiful moments our family has shared this year have happened in the glow of a night-light, when we are all exhausted, but so full of love and gratitude because we have this privilege of being a family.

2. The joy I feel is next level. I have worked in childcare for many years and have heard many giggles and belly laughs, but nothing compares to the joy that comes when I hear my son’s laugh and see his smile of six teeth with an indescribable shimmer in his eyes.

3. Being a Mom has made me realize that, prior to this chapter of my life, I was chasing worthiness and love in all the wrong places. Henry has taught me so many lessons about pure love that I am still processing to this day. It is simple. It is profound. It is transformative.

4. I can honestly say that the only place I really want to be is home with my husband and son. Nothing is better than the perfection of our simple moments at home together. I’ll take watching Henry discover how legos connect over a day of my “old (pre-baby) life” any day.

5. I feel at home in my own body for the first time in my life. Even though I still don’t recognize myself in the mirror sometimes because so much has changed, I am proud to have this body. After years of depriving and judging and comparing myself to everyone else in the room, and being told over and over again how it just wasn’t enough in some way or another. This body will forever be a soft place for my children to land. This body will always be a miracle that produced my most precious gift, and sustained him through a global pandemic. 

There has been a crack in my universe, and I am very happy to be standing on this side of it. 

If you have any new or soon-to-be parents in your life who might need to hear this, feel free to share this with them. And, if you want to add your own positive parenting moments, I’m sure they would love to hear your story, too. 

Being a parent is something not to be taken for granted, however, you become a parent. I think we should spend some time celebrating it. 

I can’t think of a better way to support new parents in their experience than by painting the full picture. That while they will be nearly blind with exhaustion, they will also experience awe in a way so profound they will struggle to articulate it. Being a parent is hard, yes. And it’s the best. 

It’s the best. 

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