The hardest part

Parenting is fucking hard! I knew that before we took the decision to have kids. I’m one of three kids myself, raised by a single mother, without a dad in sight. I’ve seen how my mother struggled, not just to make ends meet, but to raise me and my two younger brothers. Being the oldest of the three – and I guess quite aware from a young age – I pretty well remember the shit she went through to get us through the day to day.

We don’t even have three, and certainly don’t plan for three. Two is just fine. But yet, we struggle.

They always tell you the sleep deprivation is the worst.

I don’t know…

Sure, after our son was born in 2019, we suffered quite a bit from sleep deprivation. However, you get used to sleep deprivation. You can get by on less than eight hours for quite a while, and the interruptions you can get used to. As we figured out too late, extreme bouts of exhaustion are well dealt with by going to bed two hours early for a week or so, or however long is needed. Sleep deprivation sucks balls, because sleeping is so nice.

Sleep deprivation is not the worst.

What’s the worst for me, and something I really, really struggle with, is the lack of time to be really focused on something challenging for an extended period of time. This doesn’t have to be something hard, but it could even be reading a book. Sure, at work my focus is needed, and I try my best to make it work. But work in of itself is making it hard. I don’t have time to sit down and think. And the days where I thought after getting home are over. It’s impossible to do anything substantial while the kids are awake. I always write when I put my son to bed, in the half an hour after he’s fallen asleep and I’m still awake enough to write. This is a reason why my posts have been quick and dirty lately – writing on a phone sucks. After writing, I usually make a tea and my wife and I hang on the couch. Tired. We have three options: do something focused (and fall asleep right away), or do nothing, but at least enjoy being together until our baby daughter wakes up and requires attention, or lastly, go to bed right away.

We usually opt for the second. But I miss the first. I miss having the mental energy to read a novel. Or anything that isn’t suitable for age 2+.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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