As I reflected on the coming of the year 2020 and the decade behind it, I realized that I’ve been parenting for 10 years! We surprised our families on Christmas 2009 (ten years ago!) with a sonogram picture, and our lives have been forever changed.
Besides now feeling super old, I took a little bit of time to reflect on the past decade and the lessons I’ve learned in parenting.
10 Reflections on a Decade of Parenting
- I was not prepared. I read all the books and researched all of the products and did all the neurotic nesting tasks…and I still wasn’t ready! That first baby rocked our world to the extreme. Looking back, I can barely believe the hospital staff felt safe sending us home from the hospital with this tiny screaming human (and, boy, did he scream!). I surely didn’t feel up to the task!
- Maybe I’ll never fully be prepared. There’s a podcast I love and the tagline is, “one minute you think you’re doing okay, and the next minute you feel like the worst mom on the planet.” Yep. That about sums it up!
- There are so many things to worry about and decisions to be made. Parenting is never-ending. It’s a constant questioning of your abilities and your wisdom.
- I’ve learned to fight the battles with a long-term perspective. Over the past decade, I’ve learned to fight the battles that really matter and to let a lot more of the little things go (i.e. my third child!). Some things really don’t matter. But some things do. So I’ll put my foot down when they’re three so that I’m not fighting that battle when they’re thirteen.
- It gets easier. Those infant and toddler years are INTENSE! There is so much need and so little that the kids can do for themselves. And the tasks are beyond repetitive and mundane! But those early years are so foundational and key to brain development. And, let me tell you, something magical happens at about age three-and-a-half. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it gets easier. So much easier.
- It gets harder. Spoiler alert! When I had only littles, I just wanted them to grow up already! But now that my older kiddos are getting closer to the double digits, I’m terrified! The stakes seem so much higher and the questions are so much weightier. Take me back to the terrible twos and meltdowns that I can control, por favor!
- Have fun! Kids bring so much joy! They don’t yet hold the weight of the world on their shoulders, and their sense of wonder and excitement sometimes tires me out. But I’ve learned that when I stop what I’m doing and get in the moment with them, I find true child-like joy.
- Take it seriously. In my opinion, there is no greater calling than that of being a parent. Seriously, our influence on these little (and big) lives sets the tone for their understanding of the world and their place in it. Yikes! It’s a weighty calling, and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
- All kids are different. They develop differently, see the world differently, respond to punishment differently. Let them be different. Pay attention to your kids. Adjust your interactions with them to help them thrive.
- Nothing replaces being there for your kids. Nothing. No job. No toy. No activity. They need you, and they need your full attention.
As you can see, parenting is full of contradictions and swings of emotion! Welcome to the roller coaster, fellow moms!