Is there anything like it?
One minute you’re a carefree person, who can stay out as long as they want, and never has to worry about wearing white. The next you have a whole person who is dependent on you for every little thing, and yet seems intent on covering you with either poo or vomit. Sometimes at the same time.
And it doesn’t matter if you think you’re ready for it. If you’ve been trying for 13 years and checked your temperature every month without fail, or you’ve had a drunken one night stand and forgot to use protection, nothing will prepare you for it.
The whole world changes once you become a parent.
I think most of us start off with high expectations and goals. We decide what sort of parent we will NOT be. We think we will never spoil our kids, or allow them to be rude. We will teach them manners and kindness, and they will be delightful people who everyone will love and adore. It will be tough, but we can do it. Cause we’re the parents.
And then they are born.
This beautiful, perfect little person, makes your whole world shift, and you decide right then that you will do anything end everything to make them happy. You hope that you will never have to say no, but at that moment, you can’t imagine that they would ever do anything that will make you need to say it.
They are perfection.
And then they grow up.
Oh they are still cute; so very cute. And most of the time you wish that you could just run out and buy them a pony, but they have their moments, their days….. You know the ones. The days when you seriously wonder why anyone, ever, thought having kids would be a good idea. The days when you would like to take that pony that you had previously wanted to buy, and ride off into the sunset, never to be seen again.
How do we get through those days?
One of the best things I ever heard from all the parenting courses I have ever done is this:
Which means what? I hear you ask.
Parenting is a marathon; it’s a life long event that starts the minute you find out you’re expecting, and ends when you lay down in your grave. There will be different seasons in that time; moments when you are needed more and must provide strict guidance. Other times when you’re job will be to stand back a little, and let them find their feet, and develop their sense of responsibility. It’s a precarious balance between being too much, and not being enough. A life long lesson of knowing your child, and working out what they need and when.
To do it well, you need a goal.
You need to know what you want to achieve, and how are you going to do it.
We all want our kids to be happy, but how will that happen? How can we make sure that they grow into kind, confident people, who can live happy lives? What are the life skills we need to teach them?
These are questions that every parent must answer for themselves. How your family operates, is much different to how my family operates. Our values are not the same. What is pivotal to us, may be inconsequential to you, and vice versa. And yet, we both can benefit from that statement.
Begin, as you mean to go.
It means starting out knowing where you’re heading. It means having the end in sight right from the beginning. Using your mundane moments to teach into the future extraordinary moments.
It means avoiding credit card parenting; the kind where you let things slide to deal with later, and then find you’ve got a huge debt that is hard to pay off.
It means being aware constantly, not taking the moments for granted, and using all the time you have wisely.
It’s not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but I believe it will be worth it.
I wrote this post today, for me. I needed the reminder. I have these gorgeous kids who I adore, and sometimes it’s easier to say yes than no, and hope for the best. But they need more from me, so I need to give it. Writing this makes me accountable. It means I can’t just wing it anymore. I need to practice what I preach.
Begin as you mean to go.
Are you up for the challenge?