Married Life

The five stages of parenthood – find out which stage you are in now!

While children are universally acknowledged as a joy, there's no denying that each stage of parenthood has special challenges to overcome, which may change your couple relationship with your partner forever
Stages of parenthood

All the complaints we hear from parents of what time and energy robbers children are and believe to be exaggerations of hard-hearted adults who should never have had children, come to bite us in the ass when we actually do have some of our own. Remember the phrases, the terrible twos, the awkward adolescent, the rebellious teenager, etc.? Well, these are all real!

Whatever we may tell the world outside, here is Bonobology’s tribute to these cute little angels-cum-monsters who do manage to make us see heaven and hell on this earth, if not every day then every once in a few days for sure. From the time we miss our period and cuddle romantically with our partners as we imagine how ‘part-him-part-her’ would look like, to the time our children tell us about having those angels of their own and we step yet another level as we prepare to become grandparents!

All over the world, people believe that parenting is the most rewarding part of our life. We may love them to death, be ready to die for them but there are also times when we can kill them ourselves!

1. Even before the baby is actually out!

This is for you, the wine loving woman! You hate your hubby because both of you may have come together to make the ‘baby’ yet he can celebrate with champagne while you have to give up wine, beer and vodka and make do with coconut water or whatever the little one dictates from the inside. And then you have those mood swings making you weepy, over-the-top excited, disproportionately pissed off, deliriously happy, and stressed out (and that’s all before mid-morning). While your husband thinks he is an angel because he is dealing with it, you hate him because you are actually going through that! And yes, romance, sex, travel fly out of the window.

When you are reeling about this, the baby gives you a solid kick from inside to show you how s/he is totally worth it.

2. Between ages 0 and 2.

You are sleep deprived, exhausted and many in postpartum depression as the baby transitions from crying to communicate anything to running around the house with the energy equivalent of three Red Bulls! The hubby works overtime too, to make provision for the extra expenditure. And instead of splurging on each other, the couple spends it on the baby, and often mostly in excess. Both partners can’t figure out how overworked each is!

The kid, the great money robber hugs you, for yet another new set of the fancy (not-needed) toy.

3. Now that they are in school!

Everything has a set time to it and has to be adhered to. From school to off –school days. Mondays to Fridays turn into automated machine akin to following the bells of a correctional facility. You have neither time nor space for the cute things that keep the romance and fun alive. Instead of sharing the latest gossip, you chalk out carpool pickups. Flirty texts are replaced with messages on grocery. And where sex nights were previously spontaneous and scheduled, now you bail out even on the nights which are carefully placed in the timetable!
The couples move from being lovers and friends to business partners! And the non-execution of the role one has been assigned becomes reason enough to call for dissolution of the partnership! And where both parents are working there is the dilemma on who will be the ‘on call’ parent and wars can start over this!

The kid comes back with a B instead of a ‘D’ as the reward and you paste it on your fridge door!

4. That rebellious teenager!

If you did not see eye to eye earlier, you will probably think that you and hubby are poles apart and why on earth did you ever come together? Teenagers achieve the divide and rule without batting an eyelid. One parent has to be a good cop, the other the bad! Now who would want to be the bad cop? And this is almost always a constant till your children become adults themselves and no longer need monitoring. In other words, a perennial source of conflict.

Parents need to pick between who supervises what and the biggest divide of whose approach is right. This discussion for the right approach rings in the parenting outcomes of the extended members and due to no fault of theirs all chachas and masis and dadas and nanis are suddenly put in the judgement box. One insensitive line spoken on the other’s lineage can be like a nuclear missile that emits toxic fumes sometimes up to 3 decades within the relationship.

Your teenager in response would simply shrug on how silly and amateur the two of you can get.

Related reading: Incredible story of how competition and collaboration helped bring up two kids

5. When they fly the nest

And you are left alone with the stranger sitting in your living room and sipping tea noisily!

Apart from sweeping you clean for their college fund, apartment-setting fund, marriage fund etc., you are suddenly alone with your spouse with no clue on how to spend this alone time together. You missed two decades of knowing each other, and you might wonder just ‘who’ that person occupying the place next to you in bed is. In fact, you may have forgotten who you are too. Even the restaurants you go to have been your children’s choice. And you have been successfully sweeping major marital issues under the carpet; long periods of time without sex, without intimacy, without communication and now those are everywhere like that elephant in the room.

And then your grownup calls you and tells you, ‘Mom, I want you to meet someone!’ Being an Indian mom you do ask if she is fair or he is earning well and you go running to look for your husband to break this exciting news!

Related reading: From an empty nest to a love nest

Published in Married Life

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