I recently became a first time parent and my biggest takeaway from these first couple of weeks is there’s no powering through parenting.
When I was preparing to become a parent, I tried to use a series of heuristics to understand what some of the challenges would be like and recognize the set of experiences for which I had no frame of reference. Taking inventory of what I thought I could relate to helped me when I came across familiar feelings like extreme fatigue or that overwhelm a person can get launching into a new endeavor. In itemizing what I did and did not know, however, I also unwittingly equated parenting to a “to do” list of obstacles to overcome.
Two weeks in I recognize the flaw in my framework. Parenting is not some multi-year project that can be translated into a list of challenges to complete. I can’t power through my list one day (or week) to better prepare myself for the next. Parenting is a lifetime of unknown unknowns. The best thing to do is take each in stride and recognize it’s important to save enough of myself for the next day to handle whatever new adventures I have in store.