The day Matheson turned one was bittersweet. On one hand, my baby – the most influential little person I had ever met – was growing up. I was one year older and he was one year closer to being an adult, fully functioning and moving on without me. On the other hand, I had made it. We had made it. He and I had survived, Seth and I had survived, our relationship had survived and our family was intact. We were so lucky to be celebrating a birthday and a job well done with the people we loved. To say I was relieved would be the understatement of the year – I was elated.
I was also 14 weeks pregnant.
It was about 2 months later when the excitement started to wear off and it dawned on me we were going to have to do it all again. We were driving back home after a long weekend at my parent’s, Matty was in the backseat sleeping and the car was silent. Seth and I had spent the weekend politely taking jabs at each other due to underlying annoyances, which really isn’t our strong suit (we’re much better at just having it all out and being done with it), so my already-irrational pregnant stress levels were higher than usual. Then the nightmare, also known as the first year of parenting, crept up on me and the waterworks began. In that moment I genuinely wasn’t sure if we could do it all over and, to be honest, some days I’m still not.
Our first year of parenting was a whirlwind. No one and nothing could have prepared me for how I’d handle the stress, the sleepless nights, the non-stop illnesses, the immense responsibility and intense love obsession I’d have for Matty – let alone how I’d handle the way Seth was going to handle it. I will never glorify that year, we barely survived. Our relationship was spread extremely thin and the struggle was most definitely, 100% real.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart.
Forward to now, we’re in month three of our first year with Abbott and holy shit. We thought we were stressed, overwhelmed, busy and sleep deprived before? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yesterday Seth and I had our first, first-year Jesus-take-the-wheel relationship summit/blowout – and I’m guessing it will be a quarterly event. I’m not even sure we’re in a relationship as much as we are just two always-on-duty prison guards at a halfway house for tiny people who are lucky to see each other on their dinner break. 75% of the time we don’t even sleep in the same bed, 100% of the time whoever puts Matty to bed falls asleep in Matty’s bed. I never bother to wake Seth up because Matty sleeps better when he’s with him and I sleep better when it doesn’t sound like there’s a freight train going through our bedroom. JK – I don’t really sleep – I close my eyes and wait for the baby to make any sort of sound, then I open my eyes, check on him, see that he’s fine and do it all over again. And in between I have dreams that, I can only assume, are a lot like overdosing on cocaine. I mean, have you ever gotten so little sleep and had such weird dreams that you actually wish it was the next morning while you’re getting ready for bed?? I seriously do. I want to have to be awake before I even go to sleep. Um, yeah. How’s that for a wake up call??
I googled variations of the first year, things like “first year as”, “first year of” and plain old “first year” and none of the autocomplete suggestions returned anything on parenting until I did “first year of p”. “First year of parenting” was the second result – behind “first year of Playboy”. Oh, cool. I googled “first year is the hardest” and every. single. result on the screen pertained to marriage. Um, hello. What? The first year of marriage might be the hardest if you choose not to have kids but if you do choose to have kids, enjoy the honeymoon that is your first year of being legally bound. You might have a come-to-Jesus moment about changing your last name, you might realize your significant other is actually a slob, you might have a mental breakdown about their spending habits but, trust me, none of it will challenge your first year as parents together. Your heart will swell and you will be overwhelmed with love but, let’s all be serious, there is no bigger come-to-Jesus moment in a relationship than when you’re both lying in bed on the verge of tears pretending to be asleep because the baby is crying and you’re praying the other one will be the first to give. We ALL do it. Once you’re bound by a baby, you are IN IT and all the other shit will literally make you roll your eyes – your last name won’t matter, your house will always be a mess, you’ll have no money to spend and that piece of paper you signed will seem irrelevant compared to the baby that now binds you forever and ever – and ever.
Can we get a little parenting awareness around here?
I’m sending all of my positive energy to all the first-year parents feeling the heat. You will survive and you’ll deserve ALL of the parenting street cred. But in the meantime, may you have whiskey nearby at all times and the energy to keep laughing.