Sunday, 12 November 2017

What it's like having children....

A friend of mine recently asked me what it's like to be a parent. Does it change you?
She doesn't plan on having kids, so it wasn't a question to prepare her. It was just geniune curiosity, which meant I could be brutally honest and it wouldn't matter.
Half of my mind wanted to reply with "Being a parent is messed up."
Because it is.
Loving somebody more than yourself, loving them more than anything else in the world, is a seriously strong emotion to feel. It is literally like watching your heart walk around outside your body. Your extremely fragile, delicate heart, that manages to sense danger and gravitate towards it.
In the case of my daughters, that's certainly what it feels like to me. 

From the second they entered the world, I knew I would do absolutely anything to protect them. Every decision I have made since they were born has been made while thinking of them first.
And that's messed up. 
For a start, it goes against survival. If both my daughters needed a kidney, I, without any hesitation whatsoever, would give both of mine up.

It's difficult to comprehend if you've never felt something like that before.
It's even harder to explain.
Loving your children is a very different kind of love than the love you feel for your partner.
It is entirely all-consuming.

The other half of me wanted to tell her it was the most wonderful thing in the world.
Because, to me, it is.

My kids bring me more happiness than anything else. Simply by existing, they make me grateful. I am grateful for every sleepless night, for every tantrum, for every skinned knee. Because it means that they're here with me. They're growing and learning, and I am so lucky that I get to watch that.

But sometimes it's fecking hard.
That brutal honesty?
It allowed me to tell her that it is, really, really fecking hard.
And it is. That isn't a lie.
Having kids IS fecking hard. Emphasis on the fecking, because if ever there was a need for expletives, it's when you're describing parenting.
You've made this life (lives in my case) and suddenly every decision you make has this ridiculous weight behind it, and that is absolutely petrifying.
I have made pretty much every mistake imaginable, and cursed myself into the ground several times over.

I'm not even including in the whole pregnancy malarkey. That was a totally different barrel of expletives, entirely in a league of its own.
Pregnancy failed pretty much every expectation of it that I had.
There was no glow, unless of course by glow, you mean the sheen of sweat covering me from head to toe while I repeatedly vomited bile into the toilet, for absolutely no other reason than my body hated being pregnant.

So, in general, parenting isn't a walk in the park. Parenting or pregnancy.

But would I change it?
Would I swap places with my childless friend?

Not a chance.
Does parenting change you?
Yes without a doubt.
As a parent, you will scrutinise yourself from every possible angle, in every possible way imaginable, and you will rebuild who you are a thousand times over.
But I am a better person because of my children.
They have helped make me who I am today, and as they grow, so will I, one parenting mistake at a time.

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