These days, I’m more ribs than boobs.
My mom is concerned and so is my dad, followed by my husband, in that very order. But until my family and my colleagues pointed this out, I wasn’t even aware of the change.
I weaned my son exactly six months ago, and I’m still eating like a cow, but I haven’t regained my former medium-to-large frame. Instead, I’ve gone down two dress sizes, and these days, even I am beginning to think it’s not a good look.
Quite often it’s the visible alterations that make the drama, and there’s a good reason for all that fuss. If it shows up on the outside, something must have been festering long enough on the inside.
Parenthood for the involved parent is mostly suffering – physical and emotional suffering. We lose sleep, we lose hair, and we lose our sanity. We become angry, we yell, we hit, we feel guilty, and we feel useless. And things don’t get progressively better. They always get worse, which is why folks say if life isn’t harsh enough for you, go become a parent.
Of course, most of us deeply feel that our children are worth it all. There’s no greater gift than parenthood, despite the suffering. Although a girlfriend of mine rationally observed that had she had kids with another man, they could be just as cute as her current ones, I sure as hell wouldn’t change a thing. And most parents are genuinely happy to have more children. In almost all perspectives though, it is not ideal to raise our children in silos, and here are six big reasons why.
6 Reasons to Share in Others’ Parenting Journeys
- We forgive ourselves for our parenting sins
- We get high fives and fist bumps
- Our kids realize there are other terrors just like them
- We enjoy parenthood more
- Our kid(s) and our partners will enjoy us more
- We pick up useful perspectives and unimportant information
We forgive ourselves for our parenting sins
Whatever mistake we’ve made, at least one other parent has done it too and can share their story. If we asked any parent, “How many times a day do you lose it?,” (about 20 times, for me) one parent will say, “How about all the time?” Another will add on. These responses are pretty common because getting mad is a fact of parenthood. We may feel pretty lousy afterward for hitting the roof, but we’ll realize that that alone doesn’t cause permanent damage to our kids. Realizing this and coming to terms with our errors frees our minds to think up better ways to approach parenting problems.
We get high fives and fist bumps
Everyone likes a whoop! If we’re involved in a parent network, my husband and I could run away on a date night and have trusted peers babysit for us. Perhaps even have the kids over at theirs while I have an entire afternoon to rest and recuperate. We could get actual help and we may even get used to it.
Our kids realize there are other terrors just like them
Our kids will spend valuable time with other children. Through observation and peer pressure, they learn to share and take turns, which are important to help them gain empathy and the ability to see things from others’ perspectives. Sharing also teaches children about compromise and helps them learn that if they share what they have with others, this good deed will come back to them one day.
Have I noticed how difficult it is to teach my son how to share and how he is not the center of the universe? Yessir. How about letting other kids teach him to come to his senses and save me a few wrinkles?
We enjoy parenthood more
A lot of parent-handles I know on Twitter are on the site many times a day. They’d enjoy a laugh and enjoy contributing to sarcastic parenting humor. It’s clear that parents need to talk to other parents in order to stay afloat. There are some ridiculously funny parents out there who have a talent for squeezing in serious humor in one line or just a little over.
Take these, for example:
Our kid(s) and our partners will enjoy us more
People usually laugh because they’re happy, but laughter also has the power to make us happy. So spread happiness within the family, go on. But it’s tough to laugh when the frustration is up to our eyebrows. Thankfully, we have access to other parents. We can talk to them in our community or we can talk to them anonymously. Talking or laughing about our problems, fears or challenges helps us relax, to regroup our feelings, and to head out and be a better parent.
We pick up useful perspectives and unimportant information
Just the other day, I learned from a parent that the female Suriname toad carries hundreds of fertilized eggs in the skin of her back until they hatch – and then up to four months after they hatch. The young toads continue to develop in this enclosed environment and break out of their moms’ backs fully formed.
Baby-wearing and sleeping on your front? Good heavens and good riddance, but that is a mental image that’s evokes my trypophobia. (Mental note to self: I will wince less now about having to pick up my 28-pound toddler for any number of reasons.)
Parenthood is a trap for life. Once I’m used to longer naps, he tantrums 20 times a day. Once I’d taught him to control his emotions, he suddenly stopped wanting to feed himself. When I encouraged curiosity and willingness to learn, he almost sets the house on fire. I’m stuck with him… and he’s stuck with us as parents. So I’m going to take it easy on him… and on myself. Who knows? He may even spare me from his leftovers. I may not be able to do much about my emaciated appearance besides confirming that I do not have a disease – but I can tell anyone who asks that I’m not on any diet and revel in their envy.
One last useless and interesting fact that makes us feel better about our suffering:
RIP, spider moms. South African female spiders – mother spiders and their sister virgin spiders alike – produce a nourishing fluid that they use to feed the offspring until the point that they “dry out,” at which time the young will cannibalize these adult female spiders in order to live.
It’s almost like breastfeeding, except that we actually live, to suffer flat boobs.