Parenting doesn’t ever go as smoothly as we all planned it! As a child, I never could decide on what I wanted to be when I grew up. One thing I always knew in my heart though, was I wanted to be a mom. In my head, I pictured a quaint country home, married, with three or four little ones running around.
When the day came that I would become a mom, it wasn’t quiet as I planned. I had led a life for two years that was “wild and free.” No steady boyfriend, no focus, just living. So when I became pregnant with my daughter, I knew I had to make a change. Little did I know, that she would be the one to change me.
My husband and I first met towards the end of her pregnancy. She came into this world quick and turned my life upside down. Fast forward a few years. My husband and I wed, and he adopted her. We quickly became a his, hers, and ours family. We had three amazing girls, ages five and under! Along the way, life threw us many curve balls and God used them to sculpt us into the parents He wanted us to become. Two years ago, we welcomed into this world our amazing little boy. He is truly the piece that finished our family puzzle and changed my heart forever!
Since then, we have had two diagnosis of autism. Both our son and youngest daughter were diagnosed autistic a mere few month apart. Though the time from that has been short, the journey of these last ten years has taught me more than any school or book could ever have taught me! Today, I want to share some of those lessons I learned with you!
A Decade of Parenting Has Taught Me
1.Life’s not fair!
This is a phrase I often speak to my children. Sometimes in frustration, others times through love and teaching. Many things won’t and haven’t gone the way we planned. Sometimes, you do something wrong and you get more punishment than the other person who did the same thing. This isn’t just a child lesson, but applies to all of us. Many things just shouldn’t have happen, but they did. Life’s not fair, and that’s okay.
2. It’s okay to be sad!
I have always been one to be taught to be tough, and hold back. I remember as a child being the strong one, even not crying at my grandmother’s funeral. Well, after my cousin looked at me (he was 8, I was 6) and said “You don’t love her as much as I do because you’re not crying!” I told him it’s because Grandma didn’t want us to be sad. So I held it in even more, but cried many times since. Sometimes though, its okay to be sad. Life isn’t fair and things happen. As much as you may feel like super-mom or super-dad sometimes, even super heroes have a right to be sad. I was sad after my children were diagnosed, even though I was happy for an answer. It’s okay to be sad. You don’t know what happy is unless you’ve been sad before.
3. You can’t do it all by yourself!
Nope, not even I can do it all! I try though, all the time! Parenting is tough and so is keeping up with a home and career on top of it! My full-time job is being a stay at home mom, and I overload my to do a list. At the end of the day though, there are always some items that go unchecked. There is still dust bunnies under the beds, the dog’s hair didn’t get brushed, and I just didn’t want to clean what I hope is pee in the bathroom… It’s okay to ask for help.
4. It’s Okay Not to Complete Your To Do List.
Sure, it’s an amazing feeling to complete your to-do list. If your anything like me though, you probably didn’t have enough room on the paper to even finish creating your to-do list. The important thing is why you didn’t finish. That messy house is a result of you parenting! You had to kiss a boo boo. You had to fix a teddy bear. Little man needed you to cuddle with him for an hour. You sat down for the first time in a week and just didn’t want to get back up. That’s okay! When the kids are all grown and out of the house, you’ll have time to complete that list. So while they are still kids, It’s okay not to complete that to do list!
5. It’s Okay to have a Messy House!
I know what you are thinking. How dare she say such a thing! In-laws may show up, you have guests this weekends, and you just want the home perfect. Well, it’s okay to have a messy home! Having a messy house means you have a home your family lives in. Play dough will get stuck in the carpet. Crayons on the wall. Food in the couch, gum in the dogs hair, bathroom is cesspool of evil germs, and that’s okay! You’ll always have something to clean, but you won’t always have a mess to clean up! Kids are only kids for short 18 years. You’ll have the next forty plus years to have a perfect house. Right now, enjoy the mess!
6. It’s Okay to hide in the bathroom!
Yes, I know your probably sitting on the bathroom floor with the door locked and the sink running to make them think your busy. Bathrooms are sometimes the only place a parent can hide! My kids seriously think I have bathroom problem because at least once every few days, I am in there for like 30 minutes! They don’t have to know I’m hiding in there with a book and a cup of coffee inside my towel fort I’ve made….. The point is, you have to make time for yourself. It’s the only way to keep your sanity! Parenting is tough! So yes, it’s okay to hide in the bathroom!
7. It’s Okay to be that Embarrassing Parent!
Oh yes, you know the one that seems to have no problem yelling at their kids in public? The one that shows up to pick up their teenager from while wearing batman pj’s and hair all a mess? The mom holding a toddler who has dripped sucker juice all down her back and has one kid our of four that looks perfect while the rest are a hot mess? Yup, that embarrassing parent! Be yourself and do what’s best for you and your kids!
I had a red sweater once when our oldest was in 4th grade. I used to stand outside to pick her up from school (car line was always way to long). One day, I wore it as it was comfy and it was chilly outside. When she saw me, she looked horrified and told me it looked like Mr. Roger’s sweater! Well, as any loving and caring mom would do, I should up the next full week of school in it and made sure I said hi to as many of her friends as I could! Have fun, don’t worry about impressing anyone other than your self. When your kids see you being confident in who you are, they are getting the best role model in the world to look up to!
P.S: Yes, those were all true examples of my real life!
8. Love your kids, even more so when they screw up!
Look, we all screw up and are kids are not immune to that! What they need most is a safe place to come to when they do. Make sure to separate the problem from the child. It’s so easy in our judgmental world to think someone is a bad person because they messed up. Well, everyone is someone’s kids. There’s enough people in the world to judge our kids, we don’t need to be one of them. Love them and guide them through so they can learn from their mistakes.
9. Show them you love them, everyday!
This seems to go without saying, yet its easier said than done. What I have learned from four very different children, is that they as different as they all are, they still need love. I do my best to everyday, tell them something positive and that I love them. It’s easy to do when they are being good, but not easy at all when its been a rough day. As I sit here and write this, I had to stop and go hug my youngest daughter because I realized we ended on a bad note and she needed to hear me say I love her before going to bed. Life gets hectic, but the one thing your child needs from you the most is your love.
10. Slow Down and Enjoy Parenting!
We’ve all heard the phrase to “Stop and Smell the Roses.” It sounds cliché, but it’s so true! Careers, school, clubs, sports, even church can fill our schedule to the point you don’t sit down between the time you get and time you go to bed. Sometimes, you just have to say no. Sometimes, you have to schedule in your planner to just sit down and spend unplanned time with your kids. One day, they will be so busy in their own lives that you will hope to get a phone call once or twice a week and a visit once or twice a month. Cherish this time while their young. Once its gone, you can’t get it back. So slow down and enjoy the adventure!