“…I don’t think it means what you think it means” – Inigo Montoya, From the Princess Bride
There is a bit of confusion it would seem, in some of the more common expressions around parenthood.
Before the birth of our son, my wife and I would always hear the comment: “Our child is the center of our world.”
This sure sounds sweet and endearing, right? Guess what. It’s not. It is a cold, hard fact.
After the arrival of our little bundle of joy, he is the center of our world. And boy, does he not let us forget it.
Everything that is not about him, no longer has room in our life. I now understand his role in our family.
I’m not bitter.
I really have come to terms with the reality that my life is now marching to the beat of his little drum (really, I swear).
Maybe it would not be so difficult if I did not have those sweet, sweet memories of a time long past where my wife and I could rent a movie and sack out on the couch for the evening.
Evenings where we could say “hey, you wanna grab a movie and dinner tonight?” and then actually make it happen, right then, right there.
Now it is more like: “You want dinner and a movie tonight?”
“Sure, I’ll cook if you promise to watch the little guy. Then after he eats, bathes, reads a book, says his prayers, and finally goes to sleep, I will check back on you. If you are still awake, we can flip through the list of super-lame Lifetime movies-on-demand.
You know, the movies where the guy is always cheating or is a killer? Then the woman kills him in self defense near the end of the movie, and everything is somehow ok, and this equals a happy ending?
So how does all that connect to the title of this post? That was a serious rabbit trail and exercise in cynicism.
But then again, the difference between cynicism and realism is experience. Sure, I get that it can be frustrating to new parents feeling the loss of independence and the center of attention in their previously (and comparatively) sane lives.
So how do you protect your perspective and heart amidst the radical changes rendering your world asunder?
That’s what we did.
Especially if you are having your first child, there were very few things as rewarding for my wife and I as taking the time to instill the discipline of writing down our thoughts and feelings during the process.
This all started with a “pregnancy journal.” You can find one of these just about anywhere infant paraphernalia is sold. We used this one.
My wife and I purchased a daily journal that allowed us to read one or two paragraphs about the development of our baby for that exact day, and then we used the space at the bottom of the page to write down our thoughts.
The journal we have even provided leading questions like “Mommy’s mood,” “Food I am craving,” and “what silly thing I told my husband while under the influence of pregnancy brain.”
Note: This sonogram was captioned:“13 months.” Yup. Pregnancy brain at work.
In addition to having a great space to post sonogram pictures of your 13 week old baby praying in the womb, my wife and I discussed the following compelling reasons for having a journal of your own.
4 Life Changing Reasons Why You Should Have a Baby Journal
1. You and Your Spouse Will Became Closer as a Couple
My wife and I were able to have some great conversations and really reflect on the value of the little things that were happening each day.
This really is a great way to enjoy the company of your spouse. Our love for our child and each other grew with daily entry.
2. You and Your Spouse Will Be Able to Discuss the Future and Dream Together
We dreamed, we planned, and we discussed our fears, joys, and concerns. We also turned a bit neurotic at times and planned out half of my son’s life for him. No pressure son, but here are your three career choices…
3. You and Your Spouse Will Establish a Rewarding Habit
We loved completing the pregnancy journal so much, that we kept the trend going by purchasing a “first year” journal
from the same company. I did notice that the same publishers do not have a Terrible Twos journal
(I’d say any parent of a two year old might be able to guess why not).
4. You and Your Spouse Will Create a Priceless Keepsake
The results may one day be of great interest to our son (or prove to be exceptionally embarrassing reading for his future wife!).
I recommend you make the commitment to complete the journal or risk the awkwardness of explaining to your child why you thought it was important to record that one day you ate Vietnamese Pho Soup, but managed to neglect capturing the first time they kicked.
We made it part of our nightly routine to complete this journal.
There was always something special about that time of the night, when we were ready for bed, all settled in, and reflecting on the events of monumental importance, as well as profound insignificance.
While there are many other ways of capturing the milestones of childhood, there was something special for us in the act of writing the daily journal.
The actual benefits of journaling together have been numerous; I cannot recommend this practice nearly enough.
This guest post comes courtesy of Jon Harrison who is an Organizational Development Practitioner by day, and a blogger by early morning. Proud father and happy husband around the clock. You can find him “Helping You Succeed” at http://JonDHarrison.com and Twitter: @JonDHarrison