What's more important than coffee?
There are a bunch of things that help us all get through the day. Coffee is one. (Actually, I'm mostly a tea drinker, but tea doesn't have the mystique of coffee, much to my chagrin. Coffee is just...cooler. So we'll stick with that for the sake of this post.) It can bring happiness, energy, comfort, and relief all at the same time.
What does all this have to do with new parents? Well, for one thing, for new parents, coffee can take on even greater importance - the lack of sleep alone raises coffee to almost mythical status. But that's not really what I mean.
I work with people with babies and young kids in a whole bunch of ways, and I've been doing it long enough to see some patterns in the way people become parents. These patterns deeply inform my work and my ideas about what it means to raise kids in our society.
One thing I see waaaaaaay too much of is new parents who are just hanging on. They're walking around with a dazed expression. They look a little fragile. They are scrambling a bit to keep up with the many pressures of life, and if I get them chatting, one of the things I hear over and over again is: "why didn't anyone tell me it would be like this?"
I don't know. I don't know why so few people talk about what life is really like when you have a newborn in your house. Maybe it's because the fog of the early weeks is pretty dense and once we are out of it, it can be hard to remember the details. Maybe it's because they don't want to scare you. Maybe it's because we, as a society, have lost some of the wisdom about and reverence for the time that surrounds childbirth - the before, during, and after. (I've got other ideas and I'd love to hear yours - why do we do this? Isn't it sort of weird?)
I'm on a mission to change this. I want to support families through this transition so that you feel empowered. So that you feel informed and confident. So that you can trust the process. So that you know that you have options. You'll still feel tired. You'll still feel overwhelmed sometimes. There will still be soaring highs and crushing lows. That's all part of parenting and it does not mean you're doing it wrong.
But good information, empowerment, and knowing who to ask for help? When you've got a new baby, that's more important than coffee.