How fun is it to have children?
10 Inconvenient Truths About Living With Children (Nobody Dare To Tell)
Having children is known to be super cute, because you see them everywhere, and besides, at some point you were one yourself.
The ideas of what life is like with children are covered with a cotton candy-like layer and colored with an Instagram filter.
Beyond the cute baby outfits, the perfect staging and the infinite expressions of love, how much you let yourself go in your own child (aka "you are the best thing that has ever happened to me"), there is a lot that is not really clearly communicated, although it is very challenging.
New parents stumble in there, confused and insecure, and in the worst case frustrated and devastated.
Then there is a big howl every couple of weeks ("I can't do all of this, it's too much for me"), then you are rebuilt ("somehow it goes on and on"), only to take up the same emotional rollercoaster ride in the foreseeable future.
It doesn't have to be like that!
If you knew that in advance, the horror would be only half as great, we would save ourselves any panic, and the world would not have to end every time something does not go according to our own ideas.
That's why I want to mention a few things today that may not be as pleasant or popular, but are true nonetheless.
And then I'll show you how you can deal with them so that you don't spontaneously give your brood to the next passer-by, or sink into the sea of tears at the edge of the bed at night, because "I imagined everything very differently." (Been there, done that).
And if you're already caught in an "everything is going wrong" frustration, I'll pull you out of there.
If necessary by the hair, I promise!
I know exactly what I'm talking about, because I have guaranteed the best time ever with my own children, and as much fun as you can have - despite the less than ideal conditions.
I wish for nothing more than that you can enjoy the same with your children!
I am year-on-year ahead of many of you, and I see things very relaxed and still clear - and I can definitely help you.
"It was an absolute dream child."
How nice - but by far not always the case.
Career, wedding with the dream man, row house, child - not every pregnancy comes about in this order and under these circumstances.
There are more unexpected, surprising, and unplanned pregnancies than you can imagine!
For many, a child does not fit into their own life plans at all, turns everything upside down, and the positive bar on the pregnancy test is a great drama.
Maybe the partner is unsuitable. Or long ago over all mountains.
Or a big career leap is imminent and a child would prevent everything.
Basically you are way too young or way too old.
You have no money, no time, and no desire - and this child is only one thing:
Let me tell you:
A child ALWAYS fits.
No matter how terribly bad the situation looks right now, how hopeless the circumstances are, how tight the budget is and how much everything is overwhelming at the moment - a child is a lot, but never a disaster.
A child is an unexpected opportunity, a new beginning, a leap into the (beautiful) unknown, a new path, a change - but never a catastrophe.
A CHILD IS AN ADVENTURE.
And as paradoxical as it may be in your current emotional state: there is always a reason to be happy!
You can really trust me:
you can do it.
For the first time in your life you cannot rely on your experiences (even if you already have 2 children - you don't know how it is with 3;)) - and that is very exciting on the one hand, and scary on the other.
I understand that very well!
I was pregnant when I was 19, with no education, no money - as mentioned: been there, done that.
Now you just have to believe me:
Anything that comes with a challenge, you will manage.
You will grow from it like nothing else in your life.
You will experience something completely new, beautiful and adventurous.
Yes, a lot will change.
Yes, it won't always be easy.
It will be different - differently beautiful, differently exciting, differently fulfilling.
Not worse, just different!
And you will be happy.
Don't quarrel with the situation "I would have been more careful ...", "I could only turn back time ...", "I wouldn't have had then ..." - forbid any such thoughts!
You need all your energy now to enjoy your pregnancy and to be happy about your child - we don't have time for “would, could, would”.
As understandable and comprehensible as it is: you are now concentrating with all your intensity on enjoying yourself, yes?
Look forward and enjoy.
Look forward and enjoy.
Look forward and enjoy.
You enjoy yourself, go out into the fresh air, eat healthy (you vomit a lot, it's not nice, but normal, and hormonally positive), sleep a lot and quit smoking.
You spoil yourself like never before!
And every weeping, regret, wishing, longing to return and comparing it with others (“How would my life be if the child weren't there?”) Is currently completely out of place, only robs you of quality and energy of life, and that's why you refuse.
You definitely have to REFUSE, because these thoughts and emotions will often come by without being asked: when you wake up, when you go to bed, when you meet former friends, when you see supposedly "happy couples" (if you are alone), for example. Just saying.
And to everyone who knows someone in their circle of friends who is unexpectedly pregnant:
that person ONLY needs extreme sympathy (even if they keep crying! Even then!), ONLY encouragement, ONLY practical support.
Every positive reinforcement is worth its weight in gold!
And standard for every love ambassador.
(And woe to me if I catch one of you frightening an expectant mommy or convincing her into doubts. Believe me, she's scared enough all by herself that she doesn't need your fears as well.)
A birth is without a doubt one of the most extreme emotional experiences in life - and very much occupied by wishes, dreams and fears.
You can really look forward to it (as a love ambassador I would simply not allow myself to do anything else).
Trust that your body will intuitively do everything right, that you will feel exactly what and who you need exactly when - and communicate that very clearly.
You, your body, your child: you are the most important thing in it all.
Not the man, not the clinic, not the opinion of the midwife ("what does she think now when I moan loudly?") - she is there for you, and not you for her.
There are many great doctors and midwives out there who not only have a job, but have found their calling - when you find someone like that, you should really be grateful.
However, there are also others (as always and everywhere with humans): overtired, overworked, overtired, frustrated or simply unsympathetic obstetricians - and these cannot always be chosen.
If you run into someone like that (AND IT CAN HAPPEN): don't panic.
You stay calm, don't worry and don't get emotionally involved - you stay with your child and with you.
That now takes all your concentration and strength.
You trust everything will be fine.
„And what if everything doesn't go well?“
Then you can do it too.
People don't like to talk about that, but:
there are always complications, unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes even real human errors.
So if you weren't allowed to experience your “dream birth”, THEN EVERYTHING IS GOOD.
Make up with it, and don't give this experience so much importance - just leave it behind.
As much as I wish you your "subdued light, bathtub, classical music, dream partner and favorite midwife by your side" - a birth - that is not the rule: AND THAT'S NOT BAD.
The less romantic you imagine it, the more relaxed you will experience everything.
Do not read Internet reports from women who have had traumatic experiences, do not googel ‘too much, and do not linger in forums - it is better to sleep during the time, read a funny book or cuddle with the child (if already in the world;)).
Whatever you do - don't quarrel with "I gave birth very differently ..." - OK, too bad, but over.
That might read a bit harsh and unemotional, but the truth is, I love you and don't want you to indulge in something that you can't change anyway.
What use are your many emotions when they pull you down?
No matter who is "to blame" - no matter what went wrong - it's over.
I know that some of them may be mad at me now because, thanks to their victim role in the face of the traumatic birth experience, they get so much encouragement and attention - but I accept that.
Because if you leave this romanticism behind you (and it looks a little different for everyone), then there is freedom on the other side.
With no classical music, a bathtub and maybe with an emergency caesarean section or a suction cup - but none of that is so important.
"But Joanna, I recently read an article that said that the birth experience is crucial for the mother-child bond?"
AS IF YOU COULD CHOOSE IT OR CHANGE IT AFTERWARDS!
I'll tell you something:
You will still have years in which you can collect experiences that are important for the mother-child bond.
So relax, don't believe any nonsense, don't worry too much, and get enough sleep.
Helps everyone involved more than any postnatal regret.
Birth is a bit like your own wedding - any expectation that it will be "the most beautiful day of my life" is stressful homemade.
It CAN be beautiful, no question about it.
But if it gets so semi, then you are still married afterwards - it doesn't matter how it was in the end!
And after the birth, you will definitely have your baby afterwards.
There are so many more wonderful days to come!
And one more small detail about which nobody informed me about the first child (!):
you don't fit into your old jeans straight away after giving birth.
I was amazed at the time;)!
All pregnant women know that breastfeeding is the best thing.
Ah, this intimate and tender mother-child idyll!
Breastfeeding may be considered the most romantic thing ever - but it's usually just exhausting and painful at first.
The milk leak is a major physical change and breastfeeding has to be learned first.
This is sometimes unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and sometimes very (!) Painful - it's more the rule, so nobody needs to be frightened or have sleepless nights because of it.
The breasts become huge and sometimes even disproportionate to the rest of the body (I looked like a Barbie and felt completely stupid), there are uncomfortable feelings of tension, and for certain cup sizes there are no sexy lace, but stale, creepy nursing bras ( then you are not only overtired, but also ugly. Thanks for nothing.)
If you can't put the child on regularly or in time, or if you are under emotional stress (and who doesn't do it with a newborn?), The milk builds up and that can really hurt - the nipples hurt like hell at the beginning and often bleed.
This happens very, very often, and that's why it's important to get as much support and encouragement in matters of breastfeeding as possible!
How do I get rid of a blocked breast, what to do with sore nipples, how often do I put on, and for how long - with all the exciting new things that come your way, this knowledge is worth its weight in gold!
And something else unpopular:
At first you will feel like a dairy cow at times.
Baby changing, breastfeeding, carrying, sleeping, diapering, breastfeeding, carrying, sleeping - that's all you can do.
This is not bad at all, quite normal, and even important for you, your body, and the child.
So don't be frustrated or bored about it, and for God's sake don't get a remorse because "I should really enjoy it, but I feel like a source of food."
That changes again.
Hold on a little longer, it will be nice :).
By the way, it is called weekly BED, and not weekly CLEANING UP, weekly CLEANING, weekly SHOPPING or weekly COMPANIES or even weekly INSTAGRAMS.
You stay in bed, no makeup and sleeplessly, and you're not frustrated that nothing else is going, right?
You organize help for everything else.
This condition will pass and the child will not "hang on your chest / leg for life."
Not being able to sleep is the worst thing - I hated it and never got used to it.
At the beginning there is a 90% probability that you will be on the “Overnight” team - the children who sleep through the night are more of an exception.
So no panic, no stress, no insecure: "What does the child have now ...".
There is no avoiding the fact that newborns and babies have to be breastfed and carried at night - and you can do that too.
Sometimes they won't even stop crying even though you are wearing them: don't panic right away and put yourself under pressure "What am I doing wrong?"
You may be doing something wrong (which is usually not bad at all), but you are doing a lot right, and your calm helps the child most of all.
You can do it.
You're doing very well.
And you are not a bad mother if you just hate the child profoundly from time to time because it wakes up every hour and you are physically exhausted - that too is normal and will happen again a few times.
Sometimes you have to re-make the bed in the middle of the night, shower the child and calm down while you wonder whether you can actually die of fatigue?
But you'll manage all of this without freaking out and without breaking down: you just do one thing at a time and don't panic.
You. manage. the.
Tomorrow morning at the latest you will love your child again infinitely, because they beam at you toothless and with the cutest poker face pretends to know nothing about the previous night.
Babies have perfected this performance and it works. each. times.
I guarantee you:
At some point these phases become fewer, shorter, and suddenly they are teenagers and sleep until 3 p.m. if you don't wake them up beforehand.
They make their beds all by themselves - and sometimes even yours if you don't have the time.
5. Difficult, unexpected circumstances.
Not pretty, but still true:
not every child is born into the perfect situation - and not every situation stays perfect.
Say goodbye to the idea that everything will always go according to plan - it will save you so much frustration and tears!
Whatever the challenges: illness, separation from your partner, financial difficulties, unexpected unfortunate circumstances - you will master all of these and are able to cope with everything.
No matter how big and initially insurmountable the actual challenge may seem - you will tackle it.
The best thing to do today is to part with the fallacy that all external circumstances have to be right so that you can finally be happy.
Deep truth, but SO IMPORTANT!
Say goodbye to your romantic "just like this: (please insert your dream image here, consisting of dream partner, desired number / gender of children / dream house / number of vacations / trips abroad per year) I'm happy" - picture!
You can allow yourself to be happy NOW - ALTHOUGH not everything looks like a picture book.
You can NOW be boisterous, happy, silly, fulfilled and relaxed - ALTHOUGH that is still bad, and in this area a lot could still change, and how is that supposed to be with that topic at all.
Don't wait for it, decide to celebrate your life NOW and HERE!
With or without a partner, with a healthy child or one who needs special support, with or without money - do not wait for the appropriate circumstance, appropriate feeling or any other permission:
enjoy every second and be happy!
"But Joanna, I wish my child the best childhood!"
Oh how well I can understand that!
I'll tell you a secret now:
What applies to you applies to your child.
Not all external circumstances have to be perfect for childhood to be happy - that is sometimes even a hindrance;).
Above all, children need parents who love it (only one parent if necessary - much better than a fake relationship for the sake of the children) - but otherwise they need very little.
All the material stuff is not important at all, you don't have to have traveled half the world by the age of 9 and hoard the latest technical shit in your child's room.
If so: great. If not: not bad.
The child cares a lot less than you think.
If YOU don't make the child feel like something is missing, they won't have a problem at all!
Believe me, you can really own very little, but not allow a lack of energy and poverty thinking - and then everyone is satisfied and nobody is depressed because of it.
A circumstance comes and goes - and if your children learn to be happy regardless, then it's for the best!
„But Joanna, it's easy for you to talk - your life is perfect! If you only knew about my circumstances!“
As if you would believe me more if I were alone, broke, sick and at the end of everything!
This is not a “who's got the worst problems” competition here.
I'm just telling you that you can make a decision at any time: for joie de vivre.
Love is always greater than any circumstance, the strongest has the say, Love over Fear, Upper stands out.
So you are not an exception and not a special case where it is "particularly difficult".
I stand by it - and I have really experienced times when I had almost nothing - with 3 children.
I'm not saying that it was beautiful - I'm just saying that it didn't harm anyone, on the contrary!
Children are a UN-END-LICHE time waster - frankly admitting that doesn't sound attractive.
But it's still true!
Everything takes about twice as long as initially planned, and three times as long as you thought when you didn't have children.
Every excursion is like an expedition in the Himalayas and you also have to constantly observe arbitrary sleeping and feeding times.
And that is just the beginning!
If you've been effective before, you'll be able to do about 1/4 of it with kids - WITH A LOT OF EFFORT.
There will be days, weeks and months in which you will have the feeling that you have "achieved" absolutely nothing, except of course waking the child, dressing the child, feeding the child, taking care of the child, putting the child to bed.
In any order, but NOTHING otherwise.
Nevertheless, you will fall into bed dead tired in the evening, but you will not have a visible "sense of achievement" as you used to with a project.
AND THAT'S NOT BAD AND COMPLETELY NORMAL.
So don't be frustrated about it - it's good for you to just be so happy, even if you haven't “achieved” anything;).
I give you some advice:
don't do anything else great to start with.
Nothing at all!
Don't make big plans, don't start a business, and don't plan to “write a successful mom blog” - just forget about it!
There are certainly children who sleep a lot - then drink - and then sleep again, but that is not the rule.
Relax completely, put away the ambition, slow down, and allow yourself to live to the child's rhythm:
this time will change again (promise!), you will have more freedom (I swear!), and you will not miss anything because of the child (I guarantee that!).
Take your time.
You don't have to have “achieved” something at the end of the day - of the month - of the year with young children.
The most important thing is that mom is relaxed and easy-going - you've achieved enough with that.
Everything else will happen in due time, and this will be exactly the right time for you and your child, by the way.
Don't put any pressure on yourself.
Everything relaxed, everything slow - felt too slow for you and just right for everyone involved.
I can assure you of one thing:
one day you will wake up, your children are 2 heads taller than you, and with the best will in the world you will not be able to understand HOW QUICKLY THEY GROW UP.
Muahahaaaaa, honestly true.
Therefore: enjoy every second in which you “did nothing”.
Except, of course, to read the stupid bear book for the 164th time - added up, you've probably only read the stupid bear book for 2 years of your life.
Because as unspectacular and boring as that may sound:
you have invested your time in someone - and that is more valuable than any other project or career step.
Congratulations on this!
And that's exactly what this parent-child thing is about;).
In Part II. I'll write some uncomfortable truths about parenting in general.
And about other mothers and other children.
About guilty conscience and promoting children.
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