ms. fresh fish

A Parent’s Super Power
January 18, 2014, 7:02 am
Filed under: babies, family, Parenting, The big picture

So, listen. Here’s the thing: I’ve done my fair share of scaring all of you not-sure-about-whether-to-have-kids peeps, I think. So I’m here with some good news.

When you become a parent, you get access to a previously locked super power. You know in a video game (fact: the last video game I played was Super Mario Brothers, so apologies if this analogy doesn’t make sense in this century) when you get to a new level, or get enough coins, or whatever else you used to have to do to get stuff and you get a new life or super-power (bigger!, jump super high!, run super fast!, etc.!)? Well, that happens in real life, too! Upon welcoming a new baby (or two, or more goddess help you AH!) into your life, a super power is revealed. It’s been in you the whole time, as it turns out. But, you weren’t allowed to access it until it was really necessary.

This super power is different. It’s less about what you get and more about what you no longer need for survival, which is great because you can’t have it anyway: Sleep.

Pre-kids, when you hear about parents’ sleepless lives, you think one of two things: (1) They’re over-exaggerating because no one could possibly function on that little sleep. Liars. Or (2) I could never do that so I better not do the kid thing. Misery is unappealing to me. (You’re the sane one in this equation, by the way.)

In fact, while some people are over-dramatic (gawd), (1) is very likely the situation. I offer my life as illustration: I move beds anywhere from two to seven times a night. Sometimes those bed switches are interspersed with runs to the kitchen for medicine/milk/puke bucket or a need to change bed sheets or a cardio workout with a 25 lb weight to soothe your unhappy child. Anyway, even on the easy nights, given this “traffic,” you can imagine how much continuous sleep I’m afforded. And this is with kids that are almost two and a half. In the last three years (because believe it or not being pregnant with twins is not at all conducive to good sleeping after week 20), I have slept through the night (STTN), uninterrupted approximately five times.  That’s a STTN average of .005%, in case you’re into numbers (that math is probably wrong).

BUT, here’s the good news: I’M FINE. Sure, I look tired, my eyes are kind of burning all of the time, and I’m pretty sure I could stop, drop and nap pretty much anywhere, but I’m fine. I’m happy and healthy. I have energy to laugh, love and care, to go to work, to do some volunteering, to run and yoga (OK, that’s rare, but it happens), to love and play with my kids and le husband, to host gatherings (wherein I don’t cook – not new, just stopped pretending) for friends and family, to do some courses and to watch some carefully-chosen TV shows (currently Downton Abbey, but also Girls, House of Cards and OITNB).

I’m fine… thanks to my super power. And you will be too*.

*Update: An awesome, brave friend called me out on the fact that this post completely minimizes/offends those battling post-partum depression (PPD). Having (gratefully) not gone through PPD, it’s an experience that’s not mine. Having been through depression though, I know how exhausting and incapacitating depression can be. Sans kids, I talked myself into going to work and then came home, laid on the couch and slept a lot. I did nothing else. That is why, to me, parents/moms going through PPD are even more heroic – the ones I’ve known are still parenting and loving their children despite the massively heavy load of depression to bear. They are having faith that this too shall pass (albeit with some help, because help helps) and that the fun and joy will come again. What an incredibly profound lesson in strength and patience for their children. So, no… sorry. You don’t get out of the ‘super power’ club. In fact, you’re in a class way above. xo


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You’re better than fine, you’re incredible. Love the way you see the world. N.

Comment by nadinehogan

Agreed. Incredible. And I’m still in group 2 (No way I could do what you do!) xo

Comment by Marianna Annadanna

[…] long ago, I wrote A Parent’s Super Power about how parents become superheroes when they have kids and tap into a previously unharnessed […]

Pingback by This Superhero is Hanging Up Her Cape: #NervousBreakdown2015 | ms. fresh fish

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