Transported to the Planet of First-Time Parenting

Diana & stroller

Networking with other new moms

By Diana Zeni

Being a parent is incredible, but it is also hard work. Prior to my role as a new mother, I was immersed in the rough and tumble world of finance. Still, I must admit that this parenting gig is among the toughest, and most challenging, I have yet to experience.

As with any new role, I expected challenges, but what I’ve gotten is a reality check. All I have ever wanted was to be a good mother, but I was not prepared for the complications that would accompany such an instinctive goal. I’ve learned that it’s virtually impossible to know if I’m making the right choices because nothing in parenting is black and white. As someone accustomed to dealing with hard data, all that uncertainty can be unnerving. Should I vaccinate and when? Should I use cry-it-out or run to her when she cries for me? Was by-passing rice cereal and skipping to avocado a progressive decision or are those iron-fortified foods imperative to her development?

I was also unprepared to be “that” mom clinging to the clichéd fleeting moments. My daughter is only ten months old and I nearly cry when I retire her clothes. Her six-month wardrobe is now boxed up and she’s on to the nine and twelve-month range. It’s bittersweet. Of course I am thrilled that she’s thriving, and sure, her development certainly makes her more fun everyday. But, it’s a constant reminder that the newborn days are gone, which also means that I’m getting older even if I don’t feel older. Sure, I sighed along with my coworkers when the nineteen year-old intern made us realize how long it had been since we were in college and I definitely did a double-take the last time I was in a liquor store and realized that kids born in the nineties are now old enough to buy alcohol. But, if I’m being very honest, I never felt like time was moving and I certainly never felt mortal until I had a child of my own. That must be by design. Everything is that much more beautiful when you know it won’t last forever. We would not appreciate the summer if we didn’t have to endure the winter. And so it goes. The emotion I feel while packing the six month-old clothes is designed to give me perspective.

Yes, this parenting thing is challenging, but it is part of life’s cycle. For my part, I hope my parenting means that I will leave this world a better place. Fortunately, I live in a community with many young families. My newfound network provides the support I need, much like my old network in finance did, except now, it’s not IT support that gets me through my daily challenges. Instead, my new network allows me to raise my parenting doubts and obtain advice on topics ranging from childcare and education to the healthiest store-bought baby food. Undoubtedly, this network makes this new (at times, seemingly unwieldy) challenge, more manageable.


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