It doesn’t matter how many decades old you were. It doesn’t matter what you’d experienced, what you knew, how smart or powerful you were. A turning point was reached when you had kids.
“The morning after I gave birth,” the actress Jennifer Lawrence reflected in a recent interview. “I felt like my whole life had started over. Like, Now is day one of my life. I just stared. I was just so in love.” Christians talk of being “born again,” and parenting is in its own way, a similar experience. Everything that happened before is made irrelevant. Every plan you had for the future, every opinion you had about things is now subject for review. The whole direction of your life is now an open question, up for consideration.
There was life BK and AK. Before Kids and After Kids. Your priorities are different now. The volume on some things is turned up, and on others, turned way, way down. You’re more vulnerable now, more open. Jennifer Lawrence talked about how before, if she was on a plane, and she heard a baby crying she’d be frustrated, or at a restaurant if she saw one, she’d be indifferent. Now, she’s empathetic to those parents, “now I love all babies,” she said, “now I hear a baby crying in a restaurant and I’m like, Awwww, preciousssss.” This is just a minor example of all the ways we have fundamentally–hormonally, biologically, politically, etc etc–changed.
We’re a different person now, a person with a new start, a person living the first day of the rest of our lives in a new era–the AK era, the parenting era. That is…if we don’t relapse. If we don’t regress. If we resist these changes. As we wrote recently, while this process is overwhelming, parenting doesn’t have to change you. An alarming amount of people don’t seem to start fresh, they’re not born again, they don’t change.
And as a result, they miss so much. Despite their desire to stay the same, their world has undoubtedly changed, and so they are left behind. Don’t let that be you.