Getting Through the Tough Stuff: Big Picture Parenting

There’s nothing like a baby screaming in your face for three hours before bedtime to break your spirit.

I haven’t met many parents who savor every part of their new life with a baby. Chrissy Teigen termed it perfectly when she joked, “Why is it so hard to put someone who is already sleepy to sleep?” Even if you had that rare “easy” baby– I’m pretty sure things still get tough at some point. You aren’t kidding anyone if you say otherwise. All of that disruption can sweep you up in a negative whirlwind. And life gets even tougher when you look through those doom-and-gloom tinted glasses.

I think we all have our defining moments as parents and caregivers—where we aren’t sure how we could possibly make it through the day, but dinnertime rolls around and you are all magically alive and there. I’ve had my own defining moments, lately—like those three hours before bedtime. Moments where I find myself not physically capable of doing anything more, so all I can do is offer love. I offer love and hope that they turn out okay after this rough patch. Or I offer love and hope that they won’t remember these moments and instead just remember that I loved them. I think that toddlers don’t have fully formed memories just to accommodate for times like these. Times where everything is just tough.

“Times where everything is just tough” sounds so all-encompassing and overwhelming. And it is. When I’m in the thick of it and start to think of every little thing that is going wrong, I want to curl up in a ball and hide for a year—you know, once they aren’t a baby anymore. But I discovered a diamond while stuck between my rock and a hard place. This gem of an outlook is getting me through some tough sh*t, and I need to share it with you in case it helps you too:

 

A globe in the palm of a hand with the text Look at the Big Picture

We need to look at the big picture.

When I look at the big picture, I see a few months of suck in return for an entire life. These few months, which require pure magic, pepsi, pizza, and sarcasm to survive, end in a sleeping baby. They end with a hilarious toddler who is starting to understand and learn about the world. They end with a little kid learning how to make his first friends and be a nice person. They end with me reaching retirement and looking at my grown children be their own person, entirely. A kind of person that I am proud of and can count on as my friend.

It’s a very hard sacrifice to basically give everything you have—your sleep, your body, your food, your routine, your sanity. But it’s a few months. One year, tops. And in return, you’re adding this amazing person into the world. And this world could use a few more amazing people in it.

All of the menial little topics to debate and mull over fall to the wayside when you look at the big picture. Suddenly, so many things matter way less than they did before. It just matters that you’re giving all of your love and hoping that they turn out okay. Wouldn’t we all have the same parenting style if we dumbed it down that far? Maybe looking at the big picture could solve a lot more.

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