I recently visited with close family friends that we haven’t seen for quite awhile – over a year, at least. They have had their first child since the last time we visited them, and there was something different about them. They were still the people we have always loved and adored, but having a newborn changed something about them.
I couldn’t really put my finger on it until I told my wife – I feel like there’s something extremely humbling about becoming a parent, and it feels like you’re going from CEO to janitor in a day.
That is what I felt from this couple. They were now parents alongside us – fellow janitors.
I vividly remember looking at couples, and especially mothers, very differently before I had children myself – often wondering why they wouldn’t engage as much as they used to, or why they weren’t connecting with me as well as they did before they had children. Now I know. I have now been in the trenches, so I know what it’s like.
I could try to explain the difference between having children and not having them, but that wouldn’t help. Just like I would have done, those of you without children would nod your heads like you understand but then would have still questioned – even perhaps judging unfairly. I know, because I have been there.
I guess here’s a little advice for people in different seasons…
- All single people
- Just don’t try to understand. Thanks for continuing to engage with us as parents, and listening to us when we don’t make any sense. We still need and want to be friends with you!
- Marrieds without kids
- Join us, seriously. Just like on of my mentors (Carolyn) told me, “Being a parent so greatly deepens both joys and sorrows. I think there is nothing that has greater potential for shaping us into having deeper hearts.” Having children is one of the most selfless things anyone could ever participate in, and has the potential to grow us more than nearly anything else in the world.
- Current Parents
- Find those people / couples that are in the same season as you. They will seriously help you stay sane, because you realize that others are going through the very same things you are going through.
*Disclaimer: I have no clue when this post was actually penned, but it has been saved as a draft for quite some time now. I thought it was worth editing slightly and publishing – even though I feel like I’m in a different season now – a parent with 2 toddlers (yes – they are very different seasons from having a baby or babies). I may be back in the trenches someday, though – with another baby or two in our home.