Tonight I came home from the gym at 8pm to find my son and five of his friends watching TV and doing homework. Here is the positive: I like these kids and I am happy that they are comfortable in my home. Now that they are no longer using Axe Body Spray, they also smell pretty good. The negative: Mommy hit happy hour before Zumba class so she is a little cranky and WOULD LIKE SOME QUIET TIME PLEASE!
I can’t help but reflect on how parenting is so much different than I thought it would be. Let me share my thoughts with you.
A is for APPRECIATION. I want to thank my parents and family for shaping me into the person I am today; especially when it comes to parenting. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am not one of those people that can say I love every minute of it because there are times when it really sucks. (Do you know how hard it is to admit this publicly?) I am ever so grateful that I am strong enough to stick with my convictions and do what it takes to shape my boys into good men.
A is for AWESOME. The two things I remember my parents saying are:
- “If you don’t know, look it up”. We had a set of encyclopedias, a dictionary and the public library. No Google!
- “You’ll figure it out”. I hated this one because I felt it was so much more efficient if someone told me the answer!
I thought my parents were lazy when they put so much responsibility back on me. Today I think they are awesome. I could only appreciate their savvy when I became a parent myself. Even if you do not have children, please know this. Parents do the best job possible with what they have to work with.
A is for AGELESS. Parenting continues throughout the lifetime of your child. I joke about my 22 year old son moving back home with me but I am lucky to have his company. I was ready to launch my adult life at 18 and never moved back home. This isn’t the right recipe for him. We are crammed into a one bedroom place and most days, we love each other’s company. It is also funny when I hear my words coming out of his mouth. “Mom, it’s late. I was worried.” I say, “Oh sorry, time got away from me. He says, “You know you could have called me!” Role reversal can be pretty darn weird!
A is for ARTICULATE. You are not guaranteed another day or another chance to tell someone how you feel or to right a wrong. Possessing the ability to understand and admit you made a mistake and then sincerely apologize is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your relationships.
Living is a technology driven digital age, people are oversaturated with information so you may need to repeat your message in order for it to stick. There is nothing wrong with erring on the side of saying “I love you” or “you are amazing” or “thank you for being you” more often than not.
When my Grandfather died, my Father admitted how hurt he was that he couldn’t remember the last time his Dad said he loved him. It was a pivotal moment for my Father because he didn’t want his children to experience this type of longing. From then on out, we never ended a conversation without his proclamation of love. He died at the young age of 67 but I had over 20 years of hearing he loved me.
A is for AMUSEMENT and ANGST. You can count on your children to provide you the ride of your life. An expensive and sometimes embarrassing ride at that! While I prefer the amusing times, it is the angst that has allowed me to grow as an individual. I was pushed to my breaking point, alone and with my back up against the wall more than I care to remember, but we survived.
It was through these dark times that I cultivated My Girlfriend Voice. I am fortunate to have found my inner wisdom and the motivation to share my thoughts.
A is for ASTEROID. Sorry for the digression. I wanted to see if you were still reading this far down the page! “Mommy, after you check under my bed for monsters, can you check the sky for asteroids falling?” You cannot protect your child from harm 24/7 but you can help prepare them for the speed bumps of life.
When your child suffers you want to right the wrong and maybe kick some ass. The first time one of my sons was dumped by a girl, he cried a million tears and I cried too. When they break bones, you squirm right along with them. When they don’t make the team or get invited to a birthday party, your heart misses a beat.
One of the most difficult things for me is letting my kids make mistakes and learn from the natural consequences. It is important that my boys know even through the rough times, I love them. I do not enable or condone bad behavior but they know I am a loving mother with their best interest in mind. We respect each other.
A is for ADVICE. There are times that your children will ask your advice. I guarantee that there will be many more times that you want to give advice but shouldn’t. Modeling the behavior you want to see is the best teacher. Manners, honesty, problem solving, a life-work balance….. Kids see it all under a microscope.
A is for ANYTHING. I will do anything for my sons including the most important thing; letting them be themselves. I can’t make them into a mini-me (scary thought!) or chose their friends. They are beautiful individuals and so worth my time and energy. We may not always agree but they’ll have my undying love and devotion. I am blessed.
Now can I please, pretty please, have a little quiet? Mommy needs a hot shower and her beauty sleep.
Tell me how do you feel parenting is different than you expected? Is there any advice you would you give to new parents (of course if they asked for it)? 🙂
From the heart,