**trigger warning. This post is about parenting after IF/ RPL. Please skip it if you are not in a place where this type of post would speak to you or make you feel good. I don’t usually write about these topics but want to share with other readers in my similar situation*****
I just went into a wormhole of the internet following a blog post about parenting after IF. It eventually led to me a post that was in response to an article/ study in the New York Times about parents that love their kids but hate parenting. It was basically talking about how the stress, mundane days, lack of gratitude and grind made parents a lot less ‘happy’ overall than those who don’t have kids.
I can totally understand the monotony and stress of parenting as a Stay at Home Mom with a crazy active toddler and increasing debt from our pursuit of another one and trying to make money through online businesses. It’s not like tantrums, sleep training, the same routine over and over is glamorous. But I totally cannot relate to not liking parenting. It got me thinking about why.
I certainly know people who adore their kids but don’t seem to enjoy parenting a whole bunch. Meaning they long for days of sleeping in, going out whenever they want and not having to cater to demanding young kids and all their needs. They seem constantly exhausted and just waiting for the next reprieve or vacation or break from parenting.
My husband and I have not been on a vacation in years. We rarely have a babysitter unless it is a big event and our lives move around the needs of our son. He is active and a little bit of a tough (but crazy lovable) toddler but we don’t wish for breaks often. If we could go on vacation we would want to bring him. We are both super social and enjoy and love our friends but almost always choose family time when given a choice between the two.
So why do we feel differently? I think a big part of it is the Infertility. For a long time we wondered if we would ever get to be parents. We tried so hard to have this privilege which puts it all into perspective. The middle of the night baby cries gave me the first instinct of relief and joy that I even have a baby that it muted the groan of tiredness that followed. Working through a toddler meltdown feels like a luxury compared to navigating my own post IVF cycle failure meltdown. It just changes your perspective and makes the mundane more like a gift. Doesn’t mean you love it all but it does mean you appreciate so much of it which leads to enjoyment.
This article also talks about parents not enjoying the moment but looking back on it with nostalgia and fulfillment. For example, they hate the monotony of toddler years but after they pass talk and think about them fondly and wistfully. I get that. Its easy to do.
But I remember so clearly one day when my son was two weeks old and I took him to the back room to nurse. I heard loud and fun laughter coming from the main room and felt hurried to have him finish so I could join the group. In that moment I caught myself. I saw so clearly how life is too often just hurrying yourself to get to the next moment, milestone and activity. I looked down at my miracle and stroked his cheek, closed my eyes and soaked up the moment. I have done this over and over and over these past 3 years. Not always. I slip up plenty often. But I have so many moments of soaking it up that when people say ‘can you believe he is 3 already!?’ I simply think happily that yes I can. That I feel like I have a good three years of memories and joy.
So I suppose this rambling post is meant to be a few things. One- get you thinking about how you can live in the moment and not just create memories. Two- remind you that IF/ RPL may have changed us but it also gave us the gift of perspective and Three- get you thinking about how to enjoy being a parent, not just love your kids.