By Beck

I nearly burned down my house this morning!

It was unintentional and involved a CANDLE LEFT BURNING IN AN EMPTY ROOM – just like the PSA! – and I came in and found that flames were just moments away from beginning to lick the wooden wall. Good timing on my part, I suppose, although a wiser person would have remembered that candles – like toddlers – need to be around alert adults at ALL TIMES.

I have a lot of household accidents, most of which – thankyouthankyouthankyou – are REALLY minor. This is, in part, because I’m clumsy, and it’s also because I’m somewhat thoughtless but it’s mostly because after having three kids in 5 years, I’m just TIRED.

When I was growing up, my mom always had those grocery store aisle women’s magazines around the house with recipes and inspiring stories and beauty tips and I was always puzzled by the constant articles about being tired. How to hide exhaustion with makeup! How to get more sleep! How to make GIGANTIC 80s HAIR even though you are TECHNICALLY NOT EVEN AWAKE! And those articles puzzled me since I’d probably never even been tired for five minutes in my life at that point. Who WERE these people? Why were they SO TIRED?

I was talking the other day to my (middle) brother, and he said wearily that everyone keeps telling him and his wife that everything is going to completely change when they have their baby, change and never go back. And it’s hard not to say something discouraging when someone says something like that, hard not to sound like some grim-voiced Ghost Of Christmas Future. Here is the REST OF YOUR LIFE! The baby will touch ALL OF YOUR STUFF WITH DIRTY HANDS! You won’t get enough sleep EVER AGAIN! You’ll SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY!

All of which is true, of course. Everything does change and you just can’t prepare. A year from now, every one of my expectant friends will have a totally different life and big tired bags under their eyes and nothing will ever be the same again.

This morning, I stood in my kitchen (while unbeknownst to me, a candle flame was slowly making it’s way up to the wooden wall, peril happening out of my sight), stood in my kitchen and watched all three of my kids playing on the porch, laughing and shovelling the steps. And just like that, this sudden wave of love for them washed over me, these three people that I made. I remember holding my first baby and just being overwhelmed by that sudden love, by the feeling of having waited for her my whole life, being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the responsibility that I all-at-once understood.

You will love that baby, I said to my brother. Your whole life will never be the same.

Beck blogs at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends.

28 Responses to candlelight
  1. Mom24
    February 19, 2009 | 10:49 am

    It’s very true. I just hate when people say it like it’s a threat…”Your life will never be the same again.”

    Life will never be the same again–but in my case, and in most, I think, it’s a good thing. Which is exactly what you were saying, much more eloquently.

    Glad you didn’t burn down your house. I’ve done that. We just got rid of the cabinet that bore the proof for years. I always felt like an idiot when I looked at that cabinet.

  2. Tracy
    February 19, 2009 | 11:06 am

    You gave such wisdom to him.

  3. Aliki
    February 19, 2009 | 11:33 am

    I agree–it shouldn’t be a threat at all. But it IS a reality. I was just talking with a friend about this very thing but also about how we tend to think of the magnitude of the change in short-sighted ways because we’re unsure how we’re going to get through the infant years. We don’t really comprehend how far-reaching the change will be.

  4. Jennifer
    February 19, 2009 | 11:46 am

    You sound so PERKY today, despite your weariness. I feel the same way. Yesterday I woke to rain, and I just felt sad all day. But today I woke up to sunshine and so far, so good. 🙂

    Having babies is the only way to really grow up, I think. Finally, there is something bigger than yourself to look at, something better to love, something that makes you sacrifice without even thinking twice about it.

    We can’t grasp the truth until it happens to us: real satisfaction and deep happiness are mostly byproducts, not goals in themselves. How ironic. Who knew. 😉

    Thankfully, we don’t always get what we think we want in exactly the way we think we want it.

  5. Heather of the EO
    February 19, 2009 | 12:04 pm

    Yes, both things are so true. Tired and totally in love. And the love part is definitely worth all the bags under my eyes.

  6. IE Mommy
    February 19, 2009 | 12:05 pm

    yes, you’ll love that baby more then anything or anyone can ever explain and you’ll be tired, tired, tired….parenthood…not for the weak.
    THanks for sharing!

  7. Beth - Total Mom Haircut
    February 19, 2009 | 12:59 pm

    I always feel like no one could have explained to me the changes that would take place. It’s just one of those things that can’t be understood until you have kids to see it for yourself. But I agree with the first commenter – it doesn’t have to be a warning or a threat and it often is.

  8. Heather
    February 19, 2009 | 1:33 pm

    Our lives changed dramatically…and thank goodness for that!

  9. Nowheymamas
    February 19, 2009 | 1:53 pm

    So, so true.

  10. Stacy
    February 19, 2009 | 1:55 pm

    I’ve been exhausted for as long as I can remember; I think I pretty much slept through high school.

    Beautiful post. Glad your house is fire-free.

  11. Painted Maypole
    February 19, 2009 | 3:43 pm

    all the other changes are SO worth it, aren’t they?

  12. Subspacebeacon
    February 19, 2009 | 4:09 pm

    Your brother’s life has already changed and it will keep changing. All soon-to-be-parents need to accept that fact and not romanticize their pre-parent existence. My pre-parent life was neither better nor worse than my life now — it was different. And in 20 years I’ll romanticize about what my life was like when I had little urchins who needed me to lace up their hockey skates.

  13. Mozi Esmes Mommy
    February 19, 2009 | 4:28 pm

    Oh – that dichotomy! We were married for 14 years before having kids, and of course got lots of pressure. We would hear all the complaining, and then “it’s so worth it,” and wonder how any sane person could say this. But it is so true none the less.

  14. suburbancorrespondent
    February 19, 2009 | 5:43 pm

    I remember people saying that to me. I thought they were losers who couldn’t get their act together and threw their lives in the trash can as soon as they had babies. Get over it, people! I thought. How hard can it be?

    I crack myself up sometimes…

  15. Omaaha Mama
    February 19, 2009 | 7:35 pm

    I’m a klutz too, Beck. And catch a lot of crap for it. Lots of near miss-catastrophes going on when I’m in charge. I drop things, break things, lose things, forget things. Yet somehow manage anyways.
    The part about the magazines made me laugh. So thanks for that.
    And good thing about the candle, I’m glad it turned out okay!

  16. Lisa b
    February 19, 2009 | 11:14 pm

    Beck that is so lovely.
    I don’t really understand the ominous tone that people like to use when they warn expectant parents.
    When my first daughter was a few weeks old and not sleeping and my sister in law told me it would never get any better. I will never forgive her for that cruelty.

  17. Minnesotamom
    February 20, 2009 | 12:15 am

    I wondered, a couple weeks before giving birth, aloud to my husband, “Honey, what if I don’t love the baby?”

    No need to worry, to wonder. The tsunami of love engulfs you, not leaving room to even breathe, and you’re there, happily drowning.

    What a gift.

  18. Minnesotamom
    February 20, 2009 | 12:15 am

    Oh, and I forgot, happily drowning with extra pounds and bags under your eyes. 🙂

  19. Kat
    February 20, 2009 | 12:27 am

    I’ve given up trying to explain what it is like to be a parent to people that don’t have kids. It is unexplainable.
    As a matter of fact, I remember going into great detail with my best friend before she had kids, and now since she has had kids she keeps saying, “how come no one told me…” and I keep screaming in my head, “I DID!” It is just you don’t get it until you experience it.
    Lovely post, Beck. 🙂

  20. edj
    February 20, 2009 | 11:25 am

    I know. I always tell people, “Your whole life will change and you won’t ever care.” Because I found that I didn’t miss those so-called carefree childfree days not even one little bit, not even after sleepless weeks and nasty diapers and wailings at all hours.

  21. Woman in a window
    February 20, 2009 | 12:15 pm

    That is it! Exactly!

  22. Nicole
    February 20, 2009 | 1:17 pm

    Lovely post. It is so true, you have no idea how your life is going to change, and people always sound so scary and ominous. “YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN”. But until it happens to you, you really have no idea. Also you have no idea how you can continue to function – quite well – on such little sleep. It’s funny how people focus on the ways your life changes, but I think that the joy of having children far outweighs the fact that solid sleep and peaceful mealtimes are a thing of the past. Now I have to go break up a fight! The joy of children :o)

  23. chaotic joy
    February 20, 2009 | 5:52 pm

    It’s so trite but so true, that saying. And yet, it’s pointless to say it, because no amount of words can truly prepare someone for how truly wonderful and truly awful those changes are. I loved this post. Glad you didn’t burn down your house.

  24. No Mother Earth
    February 21, 2009 | 12:21 pm

    Oh, Beck. Please stop making me cry into my coffee. It’s really quite rude.


  25. All Rileyed Up
    February 22, 2009 | 3:34 am

    I had a similar conversation the other day with a friend of mine a week from the due date of her first baby. She’s nervous and excited and not knowing what will come and all I could think to say was your life will never be the same, but it will be a wonderful change.

  26. More Muffins, Please! » Surfing Sunday
    February 22, 2009 | 5:31 pm

    […] Candlelight–Beck, also at 5 Minutes for Parenting, wrote about almost burning her house down, and how her household mishaps occur mainly because she is tired…and I’ll let you read her thoughts for yourself! […]

  27. … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More Infos here: […]…

  28. Para Ma
    April 15, 2012 | 7:20 am

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

    […]please visit the sites we follow, including this one, as it represents our picks from the web[…]……

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL