Joyful. Satisfying. Rewarding.
These were descriptions of parenthood that people shared with me when I was pregnant with my son. As his birth approached, I had visions of one blissful moment after another, with periodic feedings and diaper changes thrown in here and there.
To say those first months of parenthood were harder than I expected was an understatement. If I’d had the energy at the time to describe my feelings, it would have been something like: overwhelmed, exhausted and surprised. (Surprised at how much dirty laundry one little person can create and how it took a minimum of 2 hours to get ready to go anywhere.)
In the years since, I’ve talked to other parents who’ve had similar experiences but I’ve also met many whose expectations went the other way – parenthood was easier than they expected. (And I’m happy for them – really, I am.)
I don’t know if there is a perfect balance between too much information and too little or if it is impossible to make such generalizations. I do know that I always ask new parents about their expectations versus the reality.
So what was your experience? Was being a new parent easier or harder than you thought?