After a new baby arrives, the flurry of activity can send any parent into a tizzy even greater than Dorothy’s turbulent twister. Days and nights become a blur as you mechanically churn through a frenzy of diapers, feedings, and unexpected visitors. Just like the creature in the tank, you are suddenly living in murky, unknown waters. Faced with the dependency of a tiny newborn, you secretly wonder about your own abilities.
Will I be a good parent? Do I have what it takes to be a perfect parent? You start looking at your octopus counterpart and wishing you also had eight arms. This is not the time to panic! You have to be strong to defeat your two most formidable foes: FEAR and IGNORANCE. Have you ever seen an octopus cowering in the corner? No, she eats her enemies for lunch.
I know it’s difficult to understand the need to become like the octopus, so let me describe the video footage of me eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant with my husband Dave, and our two small children, then ages two and eight months. In one fluid motion, I was cutting up the toddler’s food, spooning the baby his carrots, wiping up spills and picking up toys, all while trying to enjoy my Kung Pao chicken. In an almost out-of-body experience, I suddenly saw myself efficiently doing eight tasks simultaneously. I’m just like an octopus, I marveled, as I glanced down at my hands, half expecting to see tentacles in their place. That’s when it hit me. I had become an Octopus Mama.
This transformation did not happen overnight. After our first baby, Grace, was born, I found myself constantly asking, “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE EVER TELL ME THIS?” This question became my Mantra of Motherhood. Three years later, we had added two sons, Luke and Nate, to our team, and I was still asking the same question. When I shared information with my pregnant friends, they all wondered the same thing. Was there some sort of secret code of parenthood that got locked in a vault until you had your own baby and discovered the combination?
The good news is that in this blog, I will open the Vault of Secrets and share the valuable contents I have learned over the years. I still have a long way to go, as this is truly a continuing education, but I am willing to share my journey if it means alleviating stress in your life.
Remember that parenting is not merely multi-tasking. Children are supposed to be blessings, but too many moms and dads are ready to wig out, freak out, spontaneously combust, or just go AWOL. That is not a course you want to take when you have a human life depending on you. Skillfully raising a child involves love, patience, and above all – a great sense of humor. If you don’t have one of those, you’d better go get one.
Will you be a great parent? Most likely. Do you have what it takes to be a perfect parent? No one does. Yet every day, parents are managing to get the job done. That’s how you know there’s a God.