The Edges Of Parenting

Hurry up, slow down, faster, slower.


These are wishes I weave through so many of my thoughts. This desire for time manipulation has never before been so strong since becoming a mother. The flinging between impatience and regret marks, to me, a significant chunk of parenthood. Or maybe just humanhood, really. We all want to freeze moments of joy and fast-forward those which burn us, then look back with regret at not having cherished our days enough.


Today was not one of my better days. I spent it praying with the few shriveled up cells of mine I still had left to just be over. Then, the minute it was over, I wanted to go back.

Impatience, regret.

They are familiar faces.

Their interplay keeps my blood surging and the company which stocks rescue remedy in business. Right now, in this moment, I want to go back. I want to make sure that I took in that look she gave me which is so beautiful I can’t even stand it. I want to make sure I noticed her. I wish I held her instead of yelling. And yet, the first thing I thought when I put her down for the night was Thank God I don’t have to deal with you again until tomorrow. If I sat down and wrote this post at 4pm which is around about the time I had fallen off the cliff, all it would contain would be curse words strung together in a long, uninterrupted, hideously upset rant.



There is something I have come to realize. Most of you probably already know.


It seems, to me anyhow, that the second I gave birth to my daughter, my very first child, I left behind something I cherished. I left behind my certainty. My certainty that my path was assured, that I was in control. My certainty that I knew what I was doing, that I was safe. That things were neat. I left behind the sure and focused woman who thought, managed, and planned for no one but herself.

Now, I am pushed to edges I have never before known about – in both love and anguish. It seems that once the door is opened, there is no controlling what goes in and out. You feel everything, in equal measures. There’s no filtering. This makes things messy. It makes things uncertain. It makes one vulnerable and light, as if the smallest bit of wind will whip you astray.

Of course, the certainty I left behind was one I thought I had, even though I didn’t really. Who I was sure I was and what I was certain the world was seemed manageable and somewhat solid when it was just me. It was tangible somehow. But that all changed when she was born, in a way I never anticipated.


Nothing will ever been sure again. Just like nothing probably ever was. What an outrageous, exhilarating, and terrifying blessing that is.



2 Responses to “The Edges Of Parenting”

  1. motherdownunder

    Beautiful post.
    As soon as I put Toddler C to bed and he is peacefully sleeping, I often regret things that happened during the day…that I wasn’t more patient with him.
    But it is so hard. So challenging.
    And us moms need a break.
    And that break starts at seven every night!

    • rachwiley

      Or 5 as it turned out today! She had well and truly worn herself out. It really is so hard – the patience. I find it the hardest thing to master.


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