Your Kid Will Break You

Your kid will break you.

You might laugh when reading that, but if you’re a parent, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I were unashamedly *not* kid people. We weren’t interested in kids. We didn’t fawn over kids or want to hold kids or babysit kids. We weren’t playful people. To us, kids were just loud and messy, and we were quiet, organized neat freaks who always had something going on. Samuel and I did what we wanted when we wanted. We went where we wanted when we wanted. And most importantly we slept when we wanted (you never realize how important sleep is until you have a newborn.) But despite loving our freedom and independence, we couldn’t escape the innate drive to have a baby (or in Samuel’s words: “an heir to our legacy.” You can roll your eyes like I did.)

Before Isla, we were clueless about everything related to kids, but we thought we had nine months to master our kid rearing skills, and by the time Isla was born, we were going to ace parenting.  We thought we were tough. We thought our organizational skills, our fitness skills, our brains, and the stack of parenting books by the bed would prepare us to be the best parents this planet had ever seen. After all, we were mastering adult life, how could we not master being parents? We had our life together. We drank organic milk. I cooked organic meals. My closet was color coordinated. I organized my pantry and fridge almost weekly. We did crossfit. We hiked. I ran. Samuel was a software engineer. I’d written three books. We knew our way around the world, so surely we could figure a tiny little baby out. How hard could it be to raise a human? All of the other parents of the manic children simply didn’t have their lives together. After all, they weren’t us.

You can stop laughing now.

Just wipe the tears out of your eyes and keep reading.

Isla is nearly 6  months old, and I chuckle at how naive Samuel and I were before we held that little bundle of joy in the hospital. Shockingly to us, Isla didn’t care one bit about all of our skills. She didn’t care about our schedules. And now that she can crawl, she really doesn’t care about my organizational or cleaning skills.

My house has lost most sense of organization and instead is filled with toys, books, and baby paraphernalia. The bathroom hasn’t had a deep scrubbing in weeks. Clothes are in the dryer…from yesterday, and I’m pretty sure there is breastmilk seeping into my sheets. It’s a miracle if I get to finish a workout between her wanting to join me or the running list of things that I need to finish in my mind. I haven’t had three consecutive nights of great sleep in months. I used to write books, and now it’s a miracle if I manage to get half a chapter of reading in at night before I fall asleep.

Your kid will break you.

But what I would have priorly considered a nightmare, I now enjoy.

There are a few things you don’t realize about parenting until you actually become a parent:

– Absolutely nothing can prepare you to be a parent.

– You can’t make your babies do everything you want them to do, even with the best and most determined intentions.

– You can’t predict the personality that’s going to saunter into your life. In my mind, my daughter was going to sit pretty in the corner and smile at mommy as I furiously typed. And while I’m sure there are babies that may do that for their mommies, Isla is not that child.

Isla is an intense child, full of energy, already with a burgeoning thirst for adventure. The child has got range and determination. She’s a concentration of my and my husband’s best and worst qualities. Only God can predict what it will be like in our home when she’s a teenager.

Before Isla, my house was spotless. Now…not so much. Before Isla, Samuel and I were both germ freaks, and now we just roll our eyes when she tries to eat our shoes. Seven months ago, we didn’t wear shoes in our house, vacuumed daily, and wouldn’t dream of eating anything that touched the floor. Now, our daughter licks the floor for fun.

Your kid will break you.

Before Isla, Samuel and I lived by a routine. We did the exact same thing  almost every day. We were scheduled and rigid with it. We had our set free time, and no one messed with it. We had our set time for our hobbies, and again, no one messed with it. We assumed that Isla would be on a schedule from day one. Nope. I fought her for months to go on a schedule. She still refuses to be on a schedule no matter what I try. The child enjoys spontaneity. Which means mommy now enjoys spontaneity.

Your kid will break you.

Babies don’t care what you did in life before they arrived. They just see you as mommy or daddy. You are their food supplier, safety advisor, giant cuddle machine. They don’t care what you used your skills for BC (before children.) Isla doesn’t care that I want to write another book or that daddy has a list of projects he needs to finish within a matter of weeks. She wants us to play in her princess tent with her. She doesn’t care that we don’t want to start our day at 5:20am. She doesn’t care that we want another hour of sleep. Samuel and I used to complain if we had to catch a flight earlier than 9am, now we celebrate if we get to stay in bed until 7am.

Your kid will break you.

Little Babies want to eat at the most inconvenient times, especially when you’ve just sat down to a hot plate of food or when you just poured that hot cup of coffee. Your little baby doesn’t care if you really need to pee, she just wants to be held. So what if your back and arm are aching, she wants to cuddle with you and only you.

Your kid will break you.
If you’re not a parent, you almost have to ask yourself why any sane person would ever become a parent? Why would anyone have a baby or adopt a child? Why put yourself through so much only to be spit up on, pooped on, peed on, and cried on? Why give up your freedom and independence? Why would you put yourself through the insane and draining roller coaster of raising a child?  I used to ask myself this question all the time. And I never got the answer until I held my baby.
When I held Isla, I changed as an individual. Everything within me shifted, and my former self was broken. She broke my heart into millions of pieces. My husband was so overcome with emotion when she was born, he couldn’t speak. The version of us before Isla wouldn’t have the ability or patience to understand or raise a child. The couple who held Isla on October 7, 2016 allowed ourselves to be broken by the love that radiated from that little soul. Now, we couldn’t imagine our life without her. Our life before Isla seems so dull.
Whether you have a baby or adopt a baby, once you hold that baby you claim as yours, your entire world changes. Love blooms forth from the heart and shatters everything you knew about love. Until you hold that child you claim as your own, you can’t fully grasp or understand the power love can have over your life. I didn’t. Samuel didn’t.
But you must be broken in order to grow. You must be broken in order to endure the honorable task of raising up a child. You can’t successfully raise a child unless you allow that child to break your former selfish life. Your kid will break you. Your kid needs to break you.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Nothing worth gaining is free. Raising a child isn’t something to be taken on lightly. It isn’t something to add to your bucket list. It is one of the greatest and hardest challenges you will ever face as an individual. But if you’re willing to be broken, you will be amazed at the joy a child can bring. As you watch them grow, the joy that radiates from within puts you back together to a more beautiful being than you ever were before they were born. They add a new dimension to your life and to yourself that you never would have experienced before they arrived. It’s fun putting the pieces back together in this new puzzle of life. I’m a nicer person because of Isla. I’m more giving, more patient, more understanding, more spontaneous than I ever was before. Watching the world through her eyes is enriching my life. Watching her discover new things and develop new skills is so much more rewarding than all the words I’ve ever put on paper.  I’m glad my kid broke me. I’m glad she daily forces me to grow.
During a thunderstorm this morning, I learned to lie still on the couch with my baby nestled up to my side. It was 7:30am, and instead of running around trying to pick up and get ready for the day, I simply listened. I listened to the thunder and the rain, and I realized I had no where I needed to be other than right here by my daughter’s side. She wanted me next to her. The old me would have been rushing down a to-do list, but the mommy version of me just listened to the rain while my daughter drifted to sleep.
Growing sometimes involve simply slowing down.
Being broken causes you to pause.
Tomorrow is another day…
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