How often do you hear parents tell not-yet parents say “you won’t understand until you’re a parent?” It can be deeply irritating when you aren’t a parent to hear that, but once you have a baby you do see things differently.
Here are a few things I didn’t appreciate until I become a parent myself:
My husband and I have spent the last four months in Europe with our two little girls, traveling to nine different countries and living in London while he does a semester of his MBA there.
There have, of course, been some moments where juggling two children and traveling across the world has seemed a little difficult, but overall, it’s been a phenomenal experience for our family and, I think, better for having had our children along with us.
Here are a few reasons I’ve loved traveling abroad with my littlest sidekicks:
Five years ago, my sister was expecting her first baby and when I mentioned it to a co-worker, she asked, “Is she going to find out what she’s having?”
I was completely taken aback by the question! I hadn’t even thought to ask my sister — I just assumed she would, of course, want to know in advance. With ultrasounds so readily available and generally accurate, who wouldn’t want to know if they were having a boy or a girl?
But since then, I’ve realized that lots of people choose not to find out what they’re having. Plenty of friends and acquaintances have waited until the delivery room to know whether their new addition is a girl or a boy.
In my case, though, I’ve never personally considered not finding out. I’m on my third pregnancy and every time the ultrasound tech asks if I want to know, I can hardly say “yes!” fast enough.
Here’s why I like finding out:
How many millions of times have you heard that phrase “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”?
And it’s true!
Of course, being the mom is a draining job and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or run down.
After four years of parenting, I’ve learned some tricks to help me stay positive and enjoy being home with my small children:
One of the things my girls both love is a good book.
Since my professional background is in children’s libraries, this delights me to no end, and we’ve spent hundreds of hours snuggled on the couch or in bed reading stacks of picture books together.
In the last month or two, though, a new reader has arrived in our family.
Our older daughter has learned how to read pretty fluently and she loves reading to our second daughter.
Now, whenever I need to take a shower or get something done or keep the girls entertained on the bus or train, I suggest that Ella reads a book to Ani and, like magic, the two of them are totally engrossed in the book.
It’s great practice for Ella to work on her reading skills, Ani doesn’t mind if Ella stumbles a little here or there, and the two of them get to enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures together.
Plus, mama gets a few minutes of peace to make dinner or send off an email. Win-win!