Glass-Half-Full Parents

Let me apologize in advance for a longer-than-usual post. I didn’t write yesterday, so let’s just say that I combined two posts into one, shall we? 😉

Let me start from the beginning, when my history with Nate began. (Because after all, history is said to repeat itself). When Nate and I were just dating, several married couples pushed us to ‘tie the knot already and to experience the joys of married life’. The minute we got engaged, however, these same couples seemingly changed their outlook on things and immediately warned us that the honeymoon stage wouldn’t last long. They’d shake their heads with a confidence that I often took as marital wisdom and would say, “Just wait. Real life will begin soon, and suddenly those quirks you thought were cute are going to annoy the living daylights out of you. Just wait until he starts to leave dirty socks all over the house.”

Which brings up a side note: why is it that when people try to scare you from marriage, they always bring up dirty socks? It’s like no one can think of a more horrific example than dirty socks lying around the house.

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Anyway, I felt as though these couples had tricked us somehow. One minute they were trying to convince us that we had to get married as soon as we could book the church… and the next minute they may as well have been handing us business cards for local marriage counselors. I even tried to defend my upcoming marriage once, insisting that I didn’t think marriage was going to be easy… but I sure thought it was going to be worth it. The older woman gave me a knowing smile, then shook her head – almost sympathetically – before saying, “You’re young. You’ll see. Life isn’t going to be the same anymore.”

Then, as with everyone else, she’d end with a half-hearted, “But it will be worth it.”

She might as well have been telling me about her favorite fiber supplement.

Now I’ve been married over five years, which still makes me a marriage newby compared to the veterans who have more than 20 years under their belt. That being said, I can say that life with Nate has only gotten better. Sure, we’ve hit some rough patches, and life certainly isn’t easy sometimes. But the longer we stay committed to each other, the better we know each other. And the more we experience together, the stronger our love grows. I couldn’t be happier, even if sometimes a pair of socks doesn’t quite make it into the hamper.

In fact, we’re about to set out on our biggest adventure yet: parenthood.

And so it begins again… Now that I’m pregnant, many of the couples who had frequently tried to convince me and Nate to ‘start a family already, because it is the most precious thing you will ever do… and your eggs are dying so there’s no time like the present’ have changed their tune. I’m almost of the belief that they tried to convince us to have kids, just because they thought they’d receive some sort of twisted satisfaction in spreading their exhaustion to us. 😉

After all, if they can’t sleep through the night or enjoy a date-night every weekend, then neither should we.

They may as well have went from singing the praises of parenthood to wringing their hands in devilish glee, all while madly laughing with their heads thrown back.

“It’s all over now!” they say. “You’re about to lose your identity… your name… your life. Say goodbye to sleep. To your body. To your mind!”

Mwhahahahaha!!!!!

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Oh, and my favorite…
“Don’t worry, it will only get worse from here,” all while they’re laughing at my apparent cluelessness or lack of experience.

A part of me understands where they are coming from, because I realize how I must look. Here I am, me and my tiny baby bump, acting all giddy with excitement; while they look on and think about how naïve I am.

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They’ve been up too many hours, spit on one too many times, and chased into the bathroom for solitude once too often. Sometimes, I think my giddiness must make them angry. And while they still assure me that being a parent is worth it, they also don’t hesitate to make it very clear that my life is about to end.

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And again, I get it. I’ve yet to wake up all hours of the night, due to a little one crying for milk… again. I can leave my house, whenever I want, without worrying about a babysitter or if I forgot to put on pants that morning. Sometimes, I even have the house to myself. And let’s face it, I am pretty clueless when it comes to babies. I can’t remember the last time I changed a diaper, and I still think that breast-pumps resemble futuristic communication devices.

Oh, I’m so glad these parents can’t watch me and Nate trying to figure out our baby registry. They would have way too much fun.

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I suppose there’s a very good chance that one day, while I’m sitting in a dark nursery in the middle of the night to feed a crying infant, I may wonder why I so naively wished this upon myself (at least wished it upon myself so quickly). I may wonder why I longed for the long, sleepless nights and the never-ending days. But I also know that, as I snuggle my little one close, I will feel a love that I never have before. And it really will be worth it.

Sometimes people will try to make you feel naïve just because you’re young. They may try to convince you that just because you haven’t ‘arrived’ yet, there is absolutely no way that you are prepared for what’s ahead. And because you haven’t experienced what they have already, they’ve somehow earned the right to laugh at your excitement and giggle at your inexperience (even if they aren’t intentionally trying to make you feel undermined). But in reality, haven’t we all started from the very beginning, only to learn as we go? Haven’t we all been molded by our life experiences, whether it’s parenthood or even just learning to be a better person?

We’re all works in progress, no matter what our age. We’ve all learned from our past experiences. And in the end, it’s our choice whether we’re going to belittle those coming after us, or whether we’re going to encourage them in the journey they are now on.

I’m not naïve. I know that parenthood is going to be the craziest, most-difficult adventure that I have ever faced. But I hope that I’m one of those glass-half-full parents who focuses more on the good they’ve experienced and learned. (Because trust me, those parents are out there. I’m blessed to have met some of them, and they have no idea how their words of encouragement and positivity have meant).

And I also truly hope that one day, after I’ve been a parent long enough to look back on the journey of bringing a baby into this world, I will smile at an expecting mother and will say, “It is going to be hard… But you’ve got this. And you will never experience an adventure more amazing!”

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22 thoughts on “Glass-Half-Full Parents”

  1. What a sweet and true post…I call these people the “just you waiters”. You think marriage is fun? Well, just you wait…you think your baby is sweet, well just you wait until they are 2…

    You are wise to not buy into that. I am convinced that some people live in constant negativity, never happy with where they are. Motherhood is going to be hard…and WONDERFUL! And your attitude toward it, in the moments of difficulty, is half the battle in my opinion. I know my share of older, negative mothers, but I choose to ignore them and listen to the encouragement and excitement of older, positive, excited mothers who choose to be “glass-half-full” parents. 🙂

    1. The “just you waiters”… LOVE it!! 🙂 And it’s so true! Attitude and outlook are everything, whether it’s in regards to parenting or just life in general. And at the end of the day, it’s up to us whether we’re going to buy into the negativity… or if we’re going to surround ourselves with positive people who – although honest in telling us that the future journey will be hard – encourage us to embrace the adventure ahead. 🙂

  2. I love this post!!

    My personal favorite quote is (during college), “these are the best years of your life…better enjoy them!” Um. Excuse me? Studying past midnight for chemistry exams? The best years of my life? No thank you!

    People like to give their two cents on everything. I’m glad to hear that you and Nate are maintaining a totally positive attitude! Yes, there will be “tough moments” of parenting, I’m sure. But there will also be amazing moments. Like watching the baby take its first steps. Hearing them say “I love you.” Letting Auntie Sarah take him/her to the aquarium for the day (yes, I already have this planned…haha!!)

    You and Nate are going to make TERRIFIC parents!!

    1. Awwww, I remember people telling me that college would be the best years of my life too. And, sure, they were great. But they certainly weren’t the best! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to not have to cram for exams anymore. Ha, ha. College was a LOT of work!
      Thank you SO much for the kind words and encouragement!
      Oh, and I hope that Auntie Sarah lets her friend Nicolie come to the aquarium with her, because I know she happens to be dying for an excuse to go! 😉

  3. You will be fabulous parents! Don’t listen to those naysayers. You can do whatever you set your mind to (and rock it out!). My daughter became at mother a 19-years-old. I am convinced motherhood is for the young. You are going to have so much fun. 🙂

    1. Thank you SO much, Angelia! Your daughter must have been so very happy to have you in her life for support, when she became a mom so young!! I know that I have a great family behind me as well that I can call on if I’m feeling like I need HELP! 🙂 There are a lot of naysayers out there, so thank goodness for family… and for people who say, “You can do it!!” 🙂

  4. It is funny that dirty socks are the symbol of all that is bad in a marriage. Haha! Nate’s “The end is near,” picture cracked me up!!

    And on to the serious stuff. You and Nate will be great parents – in the easy times and the hard. Some people treat marriage and having kids and even going to college (I liked Sarah’s comment above – so true) like they are martyrs for ‘surviving’ it. Umm, whatever. My friend, you’ve got just the right attitude!

    1. Ha, ha. Nate is SUCH a good sport, whenever I ask him to pose for a pic. 🙂
      And thank you SO much for those kind words of encouragement. I’m so blessed to have ‘met’ such amazing bloggy friends such as yourself. 🙂

  5. First of all, the “End is Near” Nate picture is hilarious! That one made me laugh! But moving on to the heart of this post…

    I hear you. I mean, not with the kid thing yet personally. But I remember through the four years we dated when everyone would push us to “hurry up and get engaged already.” We enjoy taking our time and soaking in each phase of life. And like you said, as soon as we got married and we were all lovey dovey people were so fatalistic to us. “Oh you’re happy now? Well wait until the newly wed phase ends!” In fact with all the doom and gloom stories we heard from people before we got married, marriage has been much easier and smoother than I even expected, haha! Christopher always says that it’s because we communicate well and tackle problems head on. I’m hoping it’ll be the same way with parenthood. I like so much of what you wrote about all of life being a learning process as you enter each phase. I’m thankful for friends like you who are the glass-half-full type to encourage us when we too become parents. 🙂

    For what it’s worth, I think you and Nate will definitely be the type to keep things in perspective as you grow your family. You know stuff like “Yes, it’s a long night, but look at this awesome person we created.” 🙂

    1. You are SO right! I remember people telling me that marriage was going to get worse the longer we had been together, because the ‘honeymoon’ stage would be over. But I found that it got easier and even more sweet. I mean, I love Nate even more now than I did when we got married!
      And I agree with Christopher in that communication really is key. 🙂 I think that too many couples do go to bed angry or hold hurt feelings inside, instead of talking about it together. I mean, that is easier, in the long run. But honest communication is definitely how a marriage will thrive and grow!!
      Thank you so much, my friend, for always being so encouraging and supportive!!! 🙂

  6. What an awesome post you have here about marriage! I don’t think you’re naive or that you’ll have any true regrets about making the choices that you did. And as much work as they are, who isn’t thrilled to have kids!?!? 🙂

    I’m glad you stopped by my blog, because it brought me to yours. I poked around a bit and I’ll be back!

    1. I’m so glad you came to ‘visit’!! 🙂 And I agree! Kids may be a lot of work, but who isn’t thrilled about it, in the end. They’re a LOT of fun too!!! 🙂

  7. My understanding as a non-parents is that kids don’t necessarily make things easier or make you happier and that they may cause stress but they also bring new meaning to your life. One of the most important ways to feel fulfilled in life is to have a meaning, a purpose.

    1. You bring up an excellent point… There are definitely people who think that having a kid will fill some kind of void or bring them true happiness. I don’t really believe that. Maybe that’s the case for some people though… Honestly, Nate and I were happy with just the two of us… but are beyond excited now that we’re expecting a baby. But I think that we’ll enjoy being parents more just because we had purpose and meaning to our life even before kids. Kids are going to turn everything upside down, for sure; and I think it helps to know who you are before they arrive. Ha, ha. But I also believe (at least I’ve been told) that you don’t truly know what selfless love is until you’ve had a child. I’m kind of excited (and maybe scared?) to experience that. 🙂 It will be an adventure, that’s for sure!!

      1. Not knowing what selfless love is until you have a child is so true. At least for me. I see what some parents do for their children and I couldn’t even think of putting someone so far above myself…but then again, I don’t have kids.

        I think it is so great that you guys already have a meaningful life to begin with. Many people truly don’t.

  8. This post, Nicole… this post… A+++++ You totally nailed it. And it makes me want to hug you a million times!

    People are constantly prompting John to propose and it really bothers him but it doesn’t bother me at all. I just take it as a compliment that they like us together.

    No matter what, (I learned this from The Four Agreements), people’s comments are usually about them, not you. If they have something snarky and negative to say to you, it’s because they’re not currently satisfied (or maybe exhausted or frustrated or… you get the idea). Forget those fools, because I’m echoing what everyone else has said here which is that you and Nate are going to be truly incredible parents. Baby B is so fortunate! You’ll work hard, you’ll work together, and you’ll find joy.

    Lots of love to you guys ❤

  9. While I can’t relate to the baby comments from people (yet), I CAN relate to what people said to you before you were engaged, and then before you were married. It always makes me happy to see that you and Nate are still happy and so in love with each other–dirty socks or not!

    This post is simply amazing, Nicole. You are SO wise. Way beyond your years. And much more mature than people who give “advice” and comments that are rude to you 🙂

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