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Unrealized Expectations of Parenthood

July 7, 2011
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These were never discussed in the parenting books – at least not beyond the first days of infancy. What I expected once, but have since learned, ain’t never going to happen.

Sleep.

You know you’re not going to get any when they’re babies, but there’s that always that thought that someday, someday, you’ll get uninterrupted sleep again.

Hot food.

“I need more milk!” “I want ketchup!” “I need a napkin!” “Sophie licked my spoon!” “

Time to eat it – or at least chew it. Or taste it.

When I do sit down to eat, I barely chew in the anticipation that at any second I will be forced to get up again.

Appreciation.

Someday, someone will notice all the dirty socks I pick up off the floor and the laundry I wash, and the spills I mop. Won’t they?

Free time.

You’ll never have any again. EVER. Get used to it.

Productivity.

My dear friend Bethany is realizing that life with a newborn is vassssstly different from life without. All that stuff you used to get done every day? You don’t. For us Type A’s, it’s like stepping off a speeding train.

Leisurely sex.

You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Boredom.

I don’t know what it’s like to have girls, but with boys, I am NEVER bored.

Silence.

What’s that? I can’t remember.

Privacy.

You may think that going potty alone is an inalienable right. It’s not. 

Individuality.

You are no longer just YOU nor will you ever be again. You are  parent, Sherpa, cook, maid, nurse, travel agent, cruise director, Human Resources manager, delivery person, chauffeur, and giver of exceptional, life-giving, wound-healing, hugs.  

Here’s the thing – all this is tongue in cheek because with parenthood we are giving up our right to ever again be selfish. That’s not to say I’m not still selfish at times, but I have no right to be. I signed that waiver the day they arrived. Colossians 3, in The Message, says it pretty nicely (I changed the word “servant” to “parent.” Although they are one and the same, really.)

[Parents], don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen [parent] who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad [parenting].

So what about you? What are YOUR unrealized expectations of parenthood?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2011 1:48 pm

    Amen to everything you wrote. I’m only 18 months into this parenting gig and it is easily the most challenging, humbling and glorious experience of my life all wrapped together. I’ve given up on ever going into the bathroom alone again and I’m in a panic because my in-laws are staying with us for ALL of next week and I’m terrified that I’m going to forget to shut the bathroom door when I go in. I’m so used to being here with just my toddler who I’m trying to potty train and my mind is never fully functional :). Thanks for the laugh today.

  2. Lisa permalink
    July 7, 2011 3:29 pm

    In the end, there are so many rewards that seem to trickle in just fast enough to keep you, as a mom, hooked on parenting. The end result of all your hard work is adult children who are so much fun! You can step back and have a normal conversation and there is such joy in their lives! Hang in there Adelle and all you other moms. It is the best job you can ever have!

  3. melody halfenger permalink
    July 7, 2011 3:57 pm

    ….and it has just begun! I still have no privacy in the bathroom. Heaven forbid I walk in on her without asking (there is a certain age where they become almost shy about it) but if there is something she needs and I am taking care of business–well let’s just say her business is always more important to her than my business.
    Thankfully sleeping and eating does get better with time. But boredom…NEVER!! I am a constant chauffeur of not only her but all her friends. I rarely get to watch what I want on TV, listen to the music I want, and have to try to schedule free time. Is that really considered FREE time if it is scheduled??
    Appreciation is improving but we are still working on that. I try to appreciate it when I get it.
    It’s only taken 16 years and I think we have made some great strides. I always think when she is a mother she will get it and I will just sit back and listen to her vent and comfort her but I will be smiling on the inside.
    For those of you parents that think infants, and young children are a challenge….just wait for the teens!! And yes I am smiling at you as I write this. : ))
    Melody

  4. Bethany permalink
    July 7, 2011 6:23 pm

    With a newborn, we keep getting told that it gets easier and it gets harder, so I guess both are true! You described the lack of productivity well, now I just have to be okay with that. The Scripture was very appropriate, both encouraging and challenging at the same time. Thanks for your words!

  5. Cindy permalink
    July 7, 2011 7:14 pm

    Adelle, my youngest is 27. I’m waaay past the things you mentioned, but one thing I didn’t expect was that it’s sometimes harder to have the kids grown and out of the house. I don’t know if it’s a control factor or what. I mean, when they were little, I KNEW where they were and who they were with. Now, my faith has to kick into gear in a little different way. I think I had to have faith when they were young, but it’s different now. I could be prone to what I’d liken to a panic attack just thinking about what they face in terms of life and struggles and influences and…, but I have to have faith in God’s love for them. I have to. Some of my younger friends comment that it must be easier now. Well, in some ways it is, but in some ways it isn’t. The baby/toddler/youngster/teen times seems like it can go on forever when you’re in the middle of it. I look at life now and wonder how in the world I ended up with 20-somethings. Yikes! And, I loved it then, and I love it now. The best part is that I’m their mom, but we’ve also transitioned into a friendship kind of stage. It just gets better and better. Don’t blink. It goes so fast!

  6. July 8, 2011 3:49 pm

    Ditto! What I guess I didn’t expect was how much I would have to change and adapt my parenting style to keep up with my little ball of fire. I figured you just decided how it was going to be and that was that. But just when you think you’ve got it figured out they throw you a wicked curve ball and it’s a whole new game. As a result, I feel I’ve learned exactly what I’m capable of, and then some. Fifteen years in to this ride they call parenthood and she’s still keeping me on my toes!

  7. July 12, 2011 12:49 pm

    After 15 years of parenting, it finally dawned on me why I’m constipated all the time—I either have no time to go or as soon as I get in there, some little person will have to go. Today I decided to take time to go to the bathroom and when I returned, the couch pillows were on the floor, a photo knocked off the wall, and a bunch of laughing, wrestling kids were intertwined on the pillows having a great time. So I’m at a cross roads…. clean house or time in the bathroom. Hhhmmmmm

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