You know what’s crazy?
Parenthood has been about 20% what I expected, and 80% (mostly delightfully) not what I expected at all.
I guess my problem has always been that I tend to pay much more attention to all the negative hype around something rather than the positive. That was definitely true of marriage–for a long time (at least until my early twenties), I had little desire to get married because I believed all the negative stats found in the news, the depressing (and much publicized) marriages of many celebrities, and the offhand comments made by the general populace that often made marriage sound like a whole lot of work and a whole lot of putting-up-with-everything and a whole lot of not-rewarding.
Thank goodness I found that that has not been my experience of marriage.
The same thing went with having kids–although there seemed to be a slightly more positive spin on things when compared to the whole marriage situation, I still found myself sucked into all the negative comments (usually made by a parent in the throes of exasperation trying to wrestle a two-year-old) like, “You’ll never have a good night’s sleep again!” or “My kids are just making me want to tear out my hear and run off to Bermuda” or “Parenthood is the most unappreciated job on the planet.”
Now, don’t get me wrong–I am no expert on parenting any child other than Raven, and I am positive that the future will have me wanting to say some of those very comments myself on occasion.
But I will say this–for someone who was SO AFRAID of becoming a parent, I have absolutely shocked myself at how much I seemed to, well, embrace it. Before we had Raven, I was determined that we were not going to raise ourselves no sissypants kid who was attached at the hip all the time to her parents–I wanted a fully independent child who could make her own dentist’s appointments by 17 (heck, even 15!) and not want to hide behind my legs every time we encountered a new situation.
Trust me, I had fully planned on moving Raven to her own crib (in our other bedroom) the very second she started “sleeping through the night” (more or less). To me, that meant she would be out of our room by about 2 or 3 months in, no later.
At first, the reasons why we didn’t move her were logistic–we didn’t have a crib mattress that fit the crib we’d bought (nor did we have the money to buy one until our hospital bills were all paid off), and so in our room she stayed.
Then after about four months, the reasons become more complicated and were no longer money-based, and I found myself making excuses like, “She doesn’t even wake us up at night!” And, “This way, my paranoid-parent self doesn’t even have to get out of bed to check that she’s still breathing!”
Basically, it became pretty apparent that I was going to have trouble “cutting the cord” on this particular issue, so to speak. I tried to give myself deadlines (“By 5 months, we will definitely have ordered the mattress”), which came and went with no change.
It was only when I thought that the current sleeping situation was starting to get a little dangerous because she’s pretty close to being able to sit up herself from a lying-down position that made me finally just grit my teeth and do it.
So today, my baby girl was put down for her very first nap in her very own bed in her very own room.
And while I didn’t cry, I had one of those weird, inexplicable Mom Moments (that every other mom will intrinsically understand) where I wanted to cry even though I knew I was being just plain silly.
After all, who cries over a child getting older?
(Every mother apparently, that’s who.)
I am starting to get a glimpse that the future only holds constant moments when my heart breaks over and over again over the realization of what I can’t have back.
Motherhood is the craziest.
For the other parents out there–when did you move your child to sleep in his/her own room?