I have been thinking about being a parent. Its not an easy job. Who thought this would be easy and even fun?? Well, guess what? Sometimes its easy. Sometimes it is fun. But much of the time its hard work. We want them to behave one way. They want to behave another. We want them to be doctors and rocket scientists. They want to play video games for a living.
When I had our first child, I was really young and naive. I thought I could just have a child and everything would be fine. Well it didn’t really work out that way. See I was a single parent who thought she knew everything living with my parents who new a lot more than I did. That caused some tension. Then I moved out and found out how hard it really is to raise a child on your own. I made mistake after mistake. But I figured some things out. Like, a red butt on a baby is not just from wearing the diaper. Its called diaper rash and it needs to be treated. It needs to be kept clean and dry. Babies without diapers on pee on the floor..
I majored in horses, dogs, steers and all around naughtiness when I was a teen. I had no interest in small children except to play with them and give them back.
Then I met my husband and we got married. We had 1 child then. Easy. Keep the pacifier and “poco” near and we will be fine, right??? Miss one of those and pandemonium reigned!!! If I could have back all the time we spent driving for one or both of them!!!
Then the next child came around. Guess what? We had a whole new baby to learn! This time add nursing a child to the mix. I had not done that before and it seemed easy. Its not always the easiest thing to do. It is definitely the best and worth the challenge. However, not always easy. But when you are out with the baby no need to remember a bottle. Its already whenever baby is!!!! hehe…
Then the third child. Did anyone besides me have to figure out that children are not all the same? They don’t behave the same, follow the same schedule, nothing. This one was no exception. The first two slept so good. They slept all night. Slept all afternoon. Ate when it was time. Played with each other.
This one… Let’s just say, she upset the apple cart!! She slept when SHE wanted to. She ate when SHE demanded it. She cried and was generally unhappy. I learned to sleep when I could. I learned how to cook carrying a screaming baby. I learned how to sing anything and everything in a sweet sing song voice that was, hopefully, soothing. I learned that whatever you do, don’t let them see your upset!!! They know when you are and it makes it that much worse! Their comfort is upset and if there comfort is upset how can they be calm?? I thought that I had learned some things and had this down pat. NOT.
Three changed the family dynamics! Suddenly Mom and Dad are outnumbered. Its not so easy to get carseats into a 2 door anything. Here comes the mini van!! We went from 2 door trucks to 3 door mini vans! Now we figured out this whole parenting thing was serious.
Let me just say most people get the concept way before us. Some people never really grasp the concept at all. Praise the Lord we finally figured that this was serious and we had to make some changes.
Change we did. We got serious about this parenting thing and went on to have 6 more beautiful babies. We made mistake after mistake. I didn’t think about how I spoke in front of my kids. It is not cute to hear your 3 year old spewing out four letter words in context!! I didn’t think about how to correctly discipline. I didn’t think about how my anger issues affected the kids. I didn’t think about disciplining in anger. Suddenly, I saw all these things in a new light. I didn’t like what I was seeing. Sometimes having kids will do that to you.
Then the oldest couple starting getting into teen years. Teen years are a whole new ball game!! I thought I had finally figured things out. I had read the magazine articles, I should be ready right? Wrong. I knew what I did not want to see in my kids. I just didn’t know how to get there. So again with the learning and growing. Not just the teens but the parents.
For a while there we had kids in every stage from infant, to teen. It was always interesting!
We went from having a carefully packed diaper bag to diaper bag?? Where is it? Is there anything in it we can actually use?? Can you fit an infant diaper onto a toddler butt? Yes you can.. For awhile I actually just had a bin in the vehicle that had extra clothes and diapers in it. That actually worked out really well. My friend had shared that tidbit with me and it really came in handy.
Now… Let’s get real here. Its not easy to be a parent. Realize you will make mistakes. It goes with the territory. We are not only raising our children, we are learning and growing, (if we are willing) right along with them. The idea that we have to be perfect at all times needs to be put aside. We have to be teachable, we have to be flexible. We have to be willing to admit our mistakes and learn from them. When we don’t we are doomed to make those mistakes over and over until we do get it!
I want to encourage you who are reading this to know that parenting is a marathon not dash. Pace yourself and be ready to learn, grow and be stretched. Each age has its own struggles, challenges and strengths. We may not have infants any more. We have young couples. We are beginning to move into the in law and potentially grandparents stage. A whole new area of growth. What does that look like for our family as we celebrate holidays together? What traditions will we keep and what new traditions will we start?
Still growing and learning…