I blame my husband.
As we settle into bed each night, I snuggle against the warmth of his back. It is in this moment of pure solace, that my mind rests – often for the first time all day.
A few nights ago, just before slumber, a realization startled me. We are raising two children that will become two adults. We are raising humans.
To be frank, this is the side of parenting that no one wants to discuss. It is far easier to exist in a state of denial or ignorance than to accept that we are actively shaping the malleable future with both our parenting AND the way we are living our own lives.
It doesn’t matter what is projected on social media, the truth will be expressed in the child.
Somewhere between toddler potty training and infant teething, two sets of eyes are watching me and trying to learn how to make sense of the world. What are you doing? How can I do it? Will you help me when I struggle? With every milestone, there is a new battle for independence – another chance to model a good life.
Do I always get it right? No.
Do I always ensure my children know they are loved? Absolutely.
The innocence of early parenthood has ended, and I feel the weight of my own decisions differently. You can take perfect photos of your children, feed them nothing but organic produce, and purchase for them the latest version of fun. But nothing, and I mean nothing, replaces the parent who accepts the challenge of long-term investment. In my own life, this involves removing dirt from nearly every crevice of my body if it means my children learn to value nature; mentally battling the demands of my career if it means my children learn to prioritize family; and slowing down to my children’s pace if it means they learn peace.
If parenthood is a race to be won, then I have respectfully declined participation. There are two fresh faces not yet jaded by the world, and I have only a handful of years to strengthen them before they will rely on their own legs.
For now, my days are theirs. They show me who I am when no one is watching. And I am growing more fond of that disheveled, late, and forgiving woman every day, even if I no longer let her wear white.