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When you first found out you were pregnant, you probably felt a lot of joy and a little bit of anxiety. Nine months later, you had your beautiful, precious little baby. It was everything you had ever wanted, everything you had ever dreamed off. There were ten fingers, ten toes, and absolute perfection. It took a second to fall in love with this miracle of yours.
Sure, you had heard about the sleepless nights and the endless feedings. You were ready for the dirty diapers and the piles of laundry. You had gotten advice from so many other parents and after checking out everything, you knew exactly how you were going to raise your baby.
But what you didn’t expect was that there is never a break. You didn’t realize that parenting is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job. You read everything you could about being a parent but knowing it isn’t the same as finally being one.
The sleepless nights start blurring your days together and it is hard to know how you will ever survive it. You feel like you just fed your child and yet, he or she is hungry again. Sometimes, it’s like they are crying for no reason. You do everything to make the baby feel better and yet, he or she is crying again! And nothing works. Even playing their favorite Ghotu Motu Ki Toli videos doesn’t calm them down. Is it always going to be this way? Will it get better? When?
You knew you would go off of schedule but you didn’t know how much off schedule. You didn’t realize that no matter what you did, you feel like you’re always behind. Things can only get done during nap times. And that was only possible if you were lucky and your child actually sleeps.
It is definitely work. When your child is awake, it is all up to you. There’s rarely downtime in the day. There’s no sleeping in. The only time you might have some time to yourself is after your child goes to the sleep for the night but you know if you want to get enough sleep for the night, the best thing to do is go to sleep when he or she does. Who wants to do that though? Even though you are so exhausted you can’t stand, this is the only time you have to watch tv or read something.
Then, there are the questions of if you are doing the right thing for your child and are they getting everything they need. You read, you Google. You research and call the pediatrician. You double check and triple check everything. You make a decision and then double guess yourself over and over again.
It’s hard. There are no breaks. There are no days off.
Parenting is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week job.
One day, your baby grabs your finger. He smiles for the first time. He laughs at a silly face you made. He crawls over to you. He says “mama” or “papa”. Every single time, your baby does something that makes your heart overflow and revel in them. Even though it’s harder than you expected, you know exactly that being a parent is worth it.
Written by Shailee Butalia - A second generation Indian mother of a gorgeous daughter living in the USA... writing this on behalf of the wonderful team of Ghotu Motu Ki Toli.