Want to know the truth about parenting?
I have been a mom for almost 11.5 years now and it has been quite the journey. It has been nothing like I thought it would be.
Back in junior high, high school and college, I babysat a lot. I watched a lot of kids over those years. I thought I had it figured out.
And maybe I did have the basics figured out. That you needed to make sure they were fed, changed, dressed and loved. That you could make them laugh and that you could help them grow up. What I didn’t fully understand was how much being a parent was going to be the hardest thing I have ever done and that parenting would always be that way, whether my children were babies or whether they were all grown up and out of the house.
When you only have little babies you have to figure out how you are going to mother them. Should you let them cry it out? How long should you breastfeed for? Does it really matter what toys they play with? You always have to wonder if you are doing parenting right.
Then they become toddlers and you enter a whole new world. I remember the moment when my sweet little boy hit that new stage and threw a sippy cup at me because he was mad he had to go to bed. Say what? Who is this child and where did they come from?
I didn’t know that the threes would be much harder than the twos. That potty training would drive me to the edge of insanity. That having two in diapers really wasn’t as hard as people said it was going to be. That I would struggle so much with the spanking issue, that I would have to do a lot of solo parenting or that I would only raise all boys.
Parenting is full of a lot of surprises.
Before I had kids I had some ideas about parenting but over time those ideas have shifted and while some things have always been important to me, other views got lost somewhere between the midnight feedings and fit throwing toddlers.
I didn’t think I would ever use a stroller. HA! What was I thinking? A stroller saved my life when I had a 3 and 1-year-old. I am not sure how I could have lived without it.
As I look back over the last 11 years I can tell you some stages in parenting are much harder than others. Did I mention potty training??? UH! Glad we are done with that.
But as I look ahead I see those teenage years and puberty and getting into colleges and I wonder how those years are going to go. Will they stress me out as much as toddlerhood did? Is that even possible? Will I be able to make the right decisions? What if I make a big mistake?
I know that you can read all the parenting books your library has and still not quite understand your kid.
And even if you did, here comes the next kid. This one very different from the first kid and he or she will make you throw everything you know about children out the window.
Children are complex and what works for one won’t work for another. Throw special needs into the mix and you have added another layer to try to figure out.
After my boys go to bed and the house is quiet I sometimes think about where I am in my life. I was the one who wrote “Mommy” as a child when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am living my dream. Three healthy boys to love and to raise. However, it is sometimes hard to sit back and enjoy it when you are going from kid to kid to dog to house to business and it all seems a little too much.
But in those quiet moments, I can think about my boys and what they mean to me. The ways they made me laugh that day instead of the ways they made me cry. I can think about who they are today and who they are going to be in the future. I see myself in them. I see my husband in them. These children that we created.
The truth about parenting is that it is unexpected, it can throw you for a loop, it can make you laugh and make your cry, all in the same afternoon. Parenting can cause you to swell with pride when you are having a good day and make you rethink everything on a bad one. It’s fulfilling and it isn’t. It is everything and yet just a part of who I am.
The truth about parenting is that you really have to take it one day at a time because otherwise it will overwhelm you in a way nothing else ever could. But at the end of the day, every minute, every hard and difficult minute is worth everything.
How many children do you have? How old are they???
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