Back in September, when one of my best friends was expecting her first baby, she asked me and another dear mom friend, "What's the hardest thing about becoming a parent?"
The other mom said, "Definitely the sleep deprivation! I joke that babies are like terrorists—they try to break you through lack of sleep."
I said, "I think it's just the fact that they're around literally ALL. THE. TIME. You never really get a break from being a mom, and that gets exhausting."
Then we told her that we would ask her the same question in a few months when her baby was born!
Since then, that's become my favorite question to ask other parents. It's fascinating how everyone gives a different answer!
When I asked Frank, he said, "The hardest thing is having to have so much patience. I struggle to be patient, and now I need to be patient all the time."
I asked another guy friend and he said, "I think the hardest thing is not having as much time with my wife as I used to." I thought that was sweet, and then I offered to babysit for them some time so they can go on a date!
My friend who first asked me that question had her baby a few months ago—the sweetest little boy ever. We were out to dinner with her and her husband a few weeks ago when I found my chance to ask her that question myself.
"Now that you've been a mom for a few months, it's your turn to answer!" I said. "What do you think is the hardest thing about parenting?"
She works out of the home full-time, so she said, "Honestly, the hardest thing for me is pumping. I get so tired of it!"
Then I asked her husband the same question. His answer was profound.
Shortly after their baby was born, he found himself in a scary, threatening situation while he had the baby with him.
"Before the baby was born, I was never afraid to go anywhere or do anything," he explained. "I knew I could always run away if I had to. But now, with the baby, I realize I can't do that anymore. I would have to stay and fight if something threatened him."
I think his point was not that he feels tied down but rather that there is something more valuable to him than his own life—something so vulnerable and in need of his protection. Isn't that beautiful?
So now I'm curious—what's the hardest thing about parenting for you?
(And here's a happy picture to remind us all that parenting is awesome too, even when it's hard!)