Friday, September 22, 2017
Highs and Lows
That's a question and sentiment we find ourselves asking and feeling quite a bit these days. That is - in between the occasional moments of frustration and exhaustion that naturally come with parenting a couple of kids under three.
Life is good. Great, even. The highs of having the wonderful family life we've always dreamed of are just fantastic. Over the past couple of years, we've also tried to minimize those frustrating, everyday lows (e.g.: Two year old melting down: 'NO BED TIME! MORE MONSTER TRUCK VIDEOOOO! WAAAAhhh') by telling ourselves 'Ahh, this is nothing compared to the real lows we've lived through'.
It relates somewhat to a sentiment that came to me after losing Anya: "I should be so lucky as to be kept up all night by my kid. I can't see myself ever being frustrated as a parent, because with every cry and whine I'll just know that I'm lucky to hear them.". While I do still believe that I'm lucky to hear those things, the idea that I could be this sort of super-parent, with all of the patience of Spock never getting frustrated, is a tad ridiculous in hindsight.
The lowest lows can help put the wonderfulness of the day-to-day into perspective, and for that I really am lucky. It helps me recognize all that I have. But the lowest lows can also make the other lows - the everyday stuff - feel like they should be swept off as trivial. And the more I reflect on that, the more I've come to think that there's a danger in invalidating them in that way.
Being a parent is still a heck of a tough job; one that is as rewarding as it is frustrating at times, and those 'trivial' frustrations can certainly add up over time. It's not necessarily tough to forego a bit of sleep in short bursts, but lack of sleep for month after month is something else. It's also not necessarily difficult to 'take one for the team' and skip the activities you enjoy doing by yourself for a time, but continuous self-sacrifice can bring you to wonder whether you're still the same person you used to be.
The stupidity in invalidating those types of problems is that it hinders our ability to find solutions - sometimes really simple ones (like making sure one of us gets to sleep in on weekend days, or by giving each other time to do what's important to us as individuals). So that's the mindset that we're moving forward with - tackle the small stuff before it becomes bigger. If either of us is frustrated, it is absolutely not something to brush off as trivial. It's something to work together on, and to find solutions for. Aren't we lucky?