The title of today’s comic is a bit of a play on words. Force push was a move you could use in many of the star wars games of my youth; Sarah was growing impatient during labour and wanted to force the pushing part of the birth. eh? get it? well, now that I’ve removed what little wit and humour was in the title, let’s move on, shall we?
Smudge was born! A little over a week ago in fact. that’s why this comic is quite late going up. Parenting 3 kids is an adjustment to say the least. the Boys still have just as much energy and excitement as they did before the baby came, but now Mommy and Daddy have half as much sleep, meanwhile the boys not only have the same energy level, but now need twice as much attention for emotional assurance. The boys love the baby but have definitely sensed a change in family dynamic, which makes them extra needy at times. Shortly after the boys were born I was talking to a woman about raising twins and she made the comment “but, it’s not twice as much work, is it?” (pro tip: do NOT say this to a parent of multiples, unless you yourself have multiples and found it super easy; in which case…actually still don’t say it. nobody wants to hear your stupid thoughts.) In my experience, having twins at times can be 3 times as much work as having a singleton (especially if they are your first kids; rough learning curve). I can only give mad props to all the trip and quad parents I know out there (singletons too, actually. You guys work hard. Parenting is hard work regardless of the amount of kids). If you guys are wearing pants right now, mission accomplished, man. Even if your not. If there are no fires and everyone has the same amount of digits they had the day before then you are rocking this! That being said, it is really important for parents (and people in general) to understand that parenting is exactly as hard as the parent perceives it. Parenting is such a subjective experience, as each child has it’s own temperament and personality; and so does each parent; different parents have different support systems, income levels, and states of physical and mental health that it’s almost impossible to quantize parenting being harder or easier compared to someone else. It’s only comparable to your own experience. I’ve come up with an algorhythm to determine the difficulty of parenting based on my experience; it may or may not fit your experience. It does however, help me put the difficulty of each newborn experience (twins and singleton) into perspective: However much sleep decreases, the difficulty of parenthood increases x2; until sleep decreases below 60% the normal amount, at which point difficulty increases x3. So whereas Smudge doesn’t like to sleep very much at night, be it resolved that he does sleep some of the time, at which point we may get a 2 or even a 3 hour window to sleep ourselves. However, when the older boys were babies, there was (and I can’t stress this enough) ALWAYS A BABY AWAKE! The boys were premies (which most multiples are, add an extra difficulty factor there) and so instead of needing to eat every 2 or 3 hours, they would need to eat every hour (doctor’s orders). And because they were premies it often took them 45 minutes to finish feeding; and because all children have a natural contempt for what is good and right they were rarely on the same schedule, which meant that you had 15 minutes in between feedings to change diapers, wash bottles if they were used, grab something to eat yourself, and pray for sleep or death before the next baby woke up and needed you. One baby is a party man. …comparatively… It’s still very challenging, and still an adjustment. Changing family dynamics are always hard on everyone, even if it’s the first baby and only one. The truth is, as I said earlier, that parenting is as difficult as the parent perceives it. The main point of this blog is not to say multiples are automatically harder than singletons; it’s actually that however hard the parent thinks it is, that’s how hard it is, no matter how many kids there are. We need to stop competing for hardness in parenting and just support each other. Sarah and I would not have survived our first round of newborns if we didn’t have people constantly pouring into us. That was so huge; to have friends and family come over and send us to bed while they watched the kids or did the dishes or brought us food, was amazing; especially since a lot of that was from people in our church family (which we had only been going to for a few weeks at that point). It’s needed. It’s always needed. If you have more kids than me, I can be in awe of your awesome parentage. I can do the same if you have one kid. My parenting experience does not need to be any easier or harder than yours, it just needs to be heard and understood as being as hard as it was. The same goes for you. That’s the meaning of support. People join support groups to be heard and understood (and helped when necessary). My problem with the woman’s comment about parenting twins not being twice as hard was that she wasn’t hearing my difficulty; she essentially told me to stop thinking it was that hard because it couldn’t be that hard. For me it was; it was rewarding too! And I wouldn’t change it! If you read this and are thinking that I spent the whole time talking down how hard parenting is for singleton parents, then I missed my mark. My goal is to talk about the comparison between the difficulty of each experience and to enter into a community of parents who hear, and understand those difficulties based on their own experiences. The truth is, I believe it is within each parent to do whatever it takes to successfully raise their kids, and faced with a difficult situation, whatever it is, you adapt and in adapting change your perception based on your experience. Let’s stop competing; let’s hear and understand each other. It’s all any of us wants. Anyway, I think I’ve ranted enough.
Oh, also, homebirth? in a birthing pool? Totally awesome! Definitely recommend. I am writing a blog post about my experience and will post it soon. cheers.