One thing I struggle with greatly as a semi-new parent is that there is no going back to the way life used to be.
Even if I protect three or four hours of time to go to the gym, shop online or call my mom, there is always the feeling of having to return to the constant task of parenting. There’s no decompressing when walking in the door of the house at the end of the day – remember coming home, sitting down to sort mail or have a snack? Now, I’m greeted instantly by my daughter and it’s go time: “sticker”, “sit”, “diaper”, “drink”. Commands and demands that I cannot ignore, though I do try to teach her patience and that mommy is sometimes busy with other things.
While my daughter makes demands, I can try to make demands but have to concede if it’s clear I won’t win. I demand a kiss from her, but she ignores me like she’s on another planet, unable to hear. I tell her we will change into her pjs and she runs wide eyed, smiling through the house, naked with glee. Sometimes I laugh. Other times I want to cry at being so disregarded and treated like I don’t matter. I know that she is a child, but sometimes reason escapes me.
I often have the mindset of, “when she just starts napping regularly I’ll do this” or, “when she starts talking I’ll be able to do that.” But there is always another life changing point in Bug’s life that in turn, changes our lives as her parents.
Bug is now 22 months old. I think I’ve finally come to terms with the reality that things are not going to be as they used to be. I’ve stopped reminiscing so much about high school, college and young adulthood days of parties, traveling and adventure. Sure, being a parent is an adventure – but I am the the travel agent and my client is daughter. My purpose is to set forth a path on which she can explore — to prepare this child for the world and then set her free to do great things in the world.
I realize I’ve written about this idea in the past, but I have since continued to struggled with living it. Because to accept that life has truly changed means that I am closing the door on the part of my life where it was just me, or just me and my husband. This is a new part of my life and I need to embrace it and make decisions based on not just my desires and needs, but my daughter’s. It’s a shift to being more selfless and it is not easy. And even at the 22 month mark, I struggle with living this way. But I want to, because I think that if I can make that shift most fully, I will be content in being present in the time and place that I am in.