Happy Accidents of Parenting

Have you ever done something accidentally? Like maybe you accidentally signed up for 2 year magazine subscription to Women’s Health even though you know you’re never going to look like the woman on the cover, or maybe you accidentally befriended someone who is super annoying and now they will never leave you alone, or maybe you simply, accidentally, spilled your coffee and got your day off to a crappy start. There are all kinds of accidents, big, small, some meaningless, and some so powerful they change your life forever. Well, my husband and I accidentally made a baby. I know, it’s doesn’t sound very responsible. In fact, it took us a few years to even admit our accident to our own PEPS group. People we had grown to love, trust, and considered great friends. It’s not something we were necessarily proud of, and we were also more than aware of the fact that many people struggle to get pregnant, and some never do. People in my own family, people in our PEPS group, and people I work with every day as a social worker. It seemed cruel to make the statement that our adorable, precious, bundle of screaming baby wasn’t actually planned. My husband and I were not married when I got pregnant, not that he was some random guy I brought home one night or anything, we had been together for years, but it wasn’t exactly the dream scenario that I (or our families) had in mind. He and I are both from the deep south, and this is not the way things are done. But, none the less, this is the way we were going to do it, ready or not.

Kristina's story was one of many submitted for PEPsTalk. To hear the essay selected to be read at the 18th Annual PEPS Benefit Luncheon, join us March 8!

Kristina’s story was one of many submitted for PEPsTalk. 

My job literally is helping people become families, albeit through foster care and adoption, but families are families, so how hard could it be to make my own work? I do this every day. As silly as it may sound, there was really no doubt in my mind that we would be great parents. I have been working with children my whole life, and my husband is basically a tall child with a mustache, so it seemed pretty likely we could find an appropriate balance of what it takes to raise a human. Shockingly, I was wrong, because as prepared, cool, fun, well read, and awesome as we may think ourselves to be, parenting can be the WORST. Also, kids can be the worst too. Like, really bad and mean and not fun at all. I mean you’re lucky if you at least got a cute one, that helps, but news flash, not all kids are cute either. They just aren’t.

I soon, though maybe not soon enough, realized we were living the most clichéd life I could have ever imagined. Discussing circumcisions, breast feeding, daycare verses nanny, sleep schedules, grandparent names, which diapers to use, how long should he use a pacifier (ps he’s three and still does), panicking over preschool wait lists, and all the other cliché and necessary things we HAVE to talk about. I didn’t know what was happening, and I didn’t even know it was happening until it was too late. We were in it. We were having date nights and talking about him. We were opting for friends at our house instead of theirs because it was just easier, and then making them leave by 6 so we can get him down at a decent hour. We would, and still do, convince ourselves we deserve that glass/bottle of wine because we had bad day, and that it will be worth the hangover (it NEVER is), and we were going to bed at nine (sometimes eight) because the thought of doing it all over again and being remotely tired sounded like a fate worse than death.

It’s not easy, none of it is. There is nothing harder, and nothing more rewarding, and our accident, has led us to a million other wonderful accidents. We accidentally became parents, and chose to join PEPS. Through PEPS, our questions on why is his poop is this weird color and why do babies scream for no reason, were all normalized, and we also made some of our now closest and dearest friends. We have accidentally become a family who camps together, who has dance parties in the living room, who plans the weekends around kid activities, who talks about other parents at the playground, and who most definitely bitches and brags about our child to anyone who will listen. We accidentally made all our dreams come true, and if we’re lucky, we’ll get to have a few more accidents along the way. So however planful, responsible, prepared, organized and wonderful your life may already be, I hope you throw in some of your own happy accidents, and join us in the world clichéd bliss.

About the Author

kristinagreeneKristina Greene is a social worker by day, and some nights and weekends. She is a long time advocate for children, particularly after having her own three year old (Otis), who is as entertaining as he is dramatic. During any free time, she enjoys finding ways to be alone, discussing ways her humor is superior to her husband’s, reading, watching bad tv, and going to bed earlier than the night before. She also enjoys reminding friends and family of her reign as prom queen and as a championship equestrian, even though they pretend not to care.

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