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Expert, schmexpert.

July 3, 2008

Okay, so this is kind of going in the parenting zone, but it’s my blog, so neener-neener-neener…

I get Parents magazine, I have since our first was born.  I usually enjoy it.  However, there was an article in this month’s Parents that really, really got to me.  It was “What Your Doctor, Babysitter, Preschool Teacher (And All The Other Pros In Your Life) Really Want You To Know — but wouldn’t dare tell you to your face!”

One of their commentators was just classified as a “parenting expert,” and he/she had this to say:

Becoming a parent is like contracting a debilitating disease.  Imagine a disease where you couldn’t sleep, you couldn’t have sex, you couldn’t travel, you had aches and pains all the time.  Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids.  In fact, the more you love them, the harder it is.  Nobody tells you what the pull of loving your kids will do to the rest of your life — including your relationship with your spouse.  Even if you had a relatively healthy sex life before kids, after the second kid it’s just kind of done.  There’s not always as much love to go around.

WHAT THE FRENCH, TOAST?!

Okay, Johnson & Johnson is 110% correct with their slogan, “Having a baby changes everything,” but to call parenthood a debilitating disease?  Seriously?!  My mom told me that when I had my second, the love in my heart wasn’t going to be split between the two kids, my heart would just grow to make room for more.  THERE’S PLENTY OF LOVE TO GO AROUND!  Even for, believe it or not, The Husband!  That’s right, folks, I can love The Husband and two children all at the same time!

And even with two kids, my sex life is FAR from “done,” thank you VERY much!  I think that area has done nothing but improve — after all, practice makes perfect.

That just irritated me.  For anybody reading who is not yet a parent or is soon to be a parent — it’s NOT a disease!  You will still have some control over your life!  The love you have for your spouse, it was a decision in the first place and you just keep making it on a daily basis.  Even when she hasn’t moved from the couch in two days because the baby’s hit a growth spurt and is eating all the time.  Even when he hasn’t changed a poopy diaper in three weeks.  Even when you’ve both been awake for what seems like a week (or maybe it has been) and you don’t ever think you’ll sleep again.  This too shall pass. 

One day that little baby is going to turn into a young man or woman with a life of his or her own.  If you give up on having enough love for your spouse right after the kid is born, that will be debilitating.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    July 3, 2008 12:41 am

    I completely agree. It always bothers me when people talk about becoming parents like it was something that *happened to them*. What non-parents don’t understand is that a person has an unimaginable wealth of love to spread around to whomever needs it. The love that is given to children is not taken from the love bank used for your spouse. If becoming a parent is a disease then I hope a cure is never found.

  2. soundsliketomatoes permalink
    July 3, 2008 9:09 am

    The sad thing is, I don’t think that people are really prepared for what parenting and marriage is. Starting with marriage. I blame the church, in general, for not helping young people understand the conflicts and growth that will take place. Add to that parenting where the problems, if they were there before, will only compound. We really should mentor young ladies in the goods and the bads involved. How much easier my experiences would have been if I had had someone to help me!

  3. Kristin permalink
    July 3, 2008 10:40 am

    🙂 I do agree, but at the same time, I understand where the guy is coming from! It DID take LOTS of adjustments for me, and especially for DH and my relationship. I think, though, instead of referring to it as a disease (which might scare people off from this wonder of parenting), maybe offer some solutions to these obstacles that a lot of couples do face, kwim?

  4. July 3, 2008 2:09 pm

    I totally agree that parents-to-be need to be given more HOPE than FEAR when it comes to their future with children! Businesses spend money sending their employees to training, some careers require continuing ed for employees — why do any of us ever think that marriages and parenting don’t necessitate the same?! There are books, there are courses, there are seminars, there are DVDs! NO EXCUSES!

    Being married and being a parent threw me for a loop, especially the second child — that was a much more challenging adjustment. But I’m still standing. By the grace of God, yes, but see? I knew what *I* needed (God) and utilized! It doesn’t have to get the best of me!!!

  5. Sonya permalink
    July 3, 2008 9:31 pm

    That’s just CRAZY! A debilitating disease!? You know what’s annoyed me likely more than anything the past almost 8 months of my pregnancy – people telling me how it’s just going to complete change life as I know it (duh) and just spouting off the ‘negative’ aspects. So, I do what they do – they’re giving me what’s on their mind so I give them what’s on MY mind…like how in my first marriage, I went through three hellish years of infertility yet every ache and pain and whatever else is to come once Sophie arrives, I WELCOME it with open arms because honestly, I wasn’t sure this would ever happen to me. Where has common sense gone? It’s like people have this thing (mouth) and don’t know when to shut it if they can’t say something sensible. If parenthood is a “disease”, it’s one I will quickly contract. I can’t wait for what’s to come – the good AND the bad. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now 😉

    And, I agree with “soundsliketomatoes” – the church, I feel, failed me during my first marriage. Throwing scripture at me isn’t going to do me much good if there is no example or action behind it. At that point, they’re just words. And judging one or beating them over the head with a Bible (I got that, too) can potentially turn people away. Fortunately, it didn’t for me but I’m a lot more wary of Christians than I used to be – definitely not as trusting at first as I used to be. What’s that saying about walking a mile in my shoes?

  6. Carrie permalink
    July 4, 2008 10:39 am

    I just read that article and thought the same thing! I think in the beginning (during the colicky-screaming phase) maybe once my mind MIGHT have slipped toward those thoughts but almost NEVER do I feel that way and it kind of offends me that they say that.

    Kudos for speaking up!

  7. July 8, 2008 5:04 pm

    First let me say that you, ‘sounds like tomatoes,’ and Sonya are RIGHT on!

    When I found out I was pregnant, I KNEW my life would change! I was terrified of it because I didnt think I would be a good mom (because I know my flaws better than anyone) And EVERYONE around me (minus my hubby) kept telling me that my sex life would become non-existent with a baby in the house, that if we had ANY problems before baby that now they would be only worse. All the while congratulating me on the new baby!!!

    But then Stephen came, and wow! My love for him is completely different than the love for my hubby. My heart feels on a regular basis as though it will burst from being so full of love for him and for Brett, and then they will do or say something.. and wham… there is some more!

    As for the sex… oh yeah, that has suffered… but NOT because of baby (for me it’s health related). Dont get me wrong.. it is AMAZING and gets better and better, but just happens less often… Oh wow.. TMI! But for anyone reading this who hasn’t had kids yet, you should know! (your sex life with your spouse is what YOU make it!!!)

    And the problems.. of course they are compounded. You are no longer thinking about just the two of you, you are thinking about the three of you, the four of you! But that isnt crippling! It is often exciting and challenging!

    sigh.. I always read magazines and books about child-bearing, and parenting with a grain of salt. They often make it sound as though EVERY parent will go through this cookie-cutter life, and forget about the human factor.

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