I was recently with some parents of two very young children -- one infant and one toddler -- and was reminded of how physically taxing those early years were with our two little kids. We're far enough away from that season now that we can dispense a few pointers to moms and dads who are still in the thick of early parenting. Here's a parenting advice you will definitely want to heed:
Do NOT purchase a tuxedo during this time in life.
My husband doesn't often go to fancy events, but on occasion he has to attend work-related dinners and banquets. If it's formal enough, he would go rent a tux. Eventually, he calculated the cost and realized that he should just buy the tux instead of renting one each time, because it would pay for itself within 2 or 3 events. After all, he figured, he's an adult now and fully grown. So, he got measured and got one made to fit his slim size.
Bad timing: thanks to the physical demands of being a young parent, he was at his lowest weight of his adult life.
He would often be carrying our infant daughter in a Baby Bjorn while pushing our 2-year old son in a stroller. From the moment he woke up till he went to bed at night (and beyond), he was non-stop in motion either at work or at home, burning calories almost as much as running on a treadmill all day long -- which is what life mostly felt like back then!
The tuxedo he purchased fit him perfectly on that day. He went to a retirement party for his former boss. He looked great.
A few years later, David pulled out the tuxedo for another occasion. Our kids were sleeping through the night and starting to attend school by then. Life was getting a little easier each day.
David dusted the pants off of the hanger and pulled them on.
"Uh-oh," he moaned, as he attempted to button the pants.
"Man, this is tight."
He then took the jacket and pulled his arm through the sleeve.
"Whoa," he said. He wished that the tux was made of stretchy material like polyester.
Honestly, can our bodies be a little more thoughtful towards us parents? Why can't we keep metabolizing at the same rate as before, even if our waking hours are no longer 22 per day?
This serves as a reminder of the pitfalls of thinking that this stage in life is permanent. Early parenting years seem to last forever, but the next time you come up for air, our kids are already teenagers. I paid a lot of money to have our home professionally child-proofed, thinking that our house will forever need to be protected against suicidal children. Soon, our kids were unlocking the stairway gates and uncovering the electrical outlets themselves...and showing me how. David and I spent a whole weekend undoing all that child proofing (and we didn't even get paid for the work!).
I had always intended to do my son's nursery, but when I finally had time to work on it, Josh was already eleven. Oops--too late. Good thing the changing table doubled as a book case for several more years.
We had our daughter's room painted princess pink. Now a preteen, she despises the color. We also got her an expensive bunk bed when she was in first grade for "all the sleepovers" which she rarely does anymore due to her homework load and demands of other activities.
Oh well, I guess that's life. We've learned to hold on loosely to each stage in life, enjoying our kids at whatever age, as much as we can during that moment. We're reminded each day how fleeting our lives are. Good thing we have this promise in Mathew 24:35:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Meanwhile, David is still trying to lose that "last 10 pounds" so he could fit into that tux again. He will someday attend his son's wedding in that thing, even if it kills him.
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