Last night was date night, which is ridiculously exciting because date night is very few and far between. And we do exciting things-like go to Wal-Mart, WITHOUT CHILDREN. See? Exciting. Try to contain yourself, because I couldn’t. But anyway, date night. So we were talking (without interruption, gasp) about how this life we have sure isn’t how we had planned it, and that parenthood isn’t either. See, the hubbs and I, we’ve never really done things overly conventional. We were high school sweethearts and got married young. Far younger than most people thought we should. We’ve moved all over creation for work and school. We’ve traded up and down cars to meet our needs, and we started a family different than most do. We’ve been parents for 5 years, he and I, and our oldest is 13. I know, the math doesn’t work out, but that’s just the way it is. Because we weren’t able to start a family in the conventional way either.
But in these five years of motherhood I’ve learned that really conventional, or normal, doesn’t actually exist. Because motherhood is far from yormal, and it certainly isn’t what I had expected. So here’s some things I’ve learned:
-Just because a child is throwing a fit in the _insert your location of choice here_ doesn’t mean he/she is the result of poor parenting. Yeah, I’ve learned this one the hard way. My parenting may not be award worthy, but I don’t think it’s bad either. Yet still, I have a child that loves to throw epic tantrums at any given time or place. Case in point-today we went to the beach, where it was cold, windy and the waves were ripping. Said child got wet. No biggy, he’s wearing lots of layers and the car is warm. But when it came time to leave, he decided to throw a fit in the car. So we pulled over and he exited the vehicle until he could be calm. He chose to scream his head off. This went on for thirty minutes. I’m pretty sure the hikers on the trail thought we were nuts. But what do you do? Which leads me to point two which hubby stated last night.
– You can’t make a child do anything. You can give them the tools and the guidance. You can offer ideas and support, but you can’t actually make them do anything. Their choices are just that: theirs. We couldn’t make him stop throwing a fit, but we could remove ourselves, and that wanted attention, and wait for him to stop himself.
-There is no incentive for cleaning one’s room like cleaning out last year’s backpack. Last weekend I was searching for something in the girls’ room when I stumbled upon our oldest’s old backpack, complete with all the lunches she never ate. Let’s just say she threw that bag away , and has never cleaned her room so good.
-Sometimes the hardest people to love are the ones who need it the most. I read this on Facebook the other day and it’s so true. That child who throws the fits? He also begs for his daddy to cuddle with him every night. We know there is a pathology behind the behaviour, but that doesn’t make it easy. Just when we think we can’t take it anymore, he’ll say something like “Thank you for adopting me”, and it’s a moment of reprieve.
-Rubbing alcohol and baby wipes can take out nearly any stain. Kid wrote on the carpet? Grab some rubbing alcohol. The toddler threw food on your work clothes? Get a baby wipe. ( really those things are awesome for just about everything)
-Nothing is as precious(or slimy) as a baby kiss.
-Nothing opens the door for conversation with you teen like a car ride.
-Rocks go through the washing machine.
-Stickers left on clothing then washed and dried leaves a never-leaving spot of former stickiness.
-No one knows your children like you do. Not their teacher, the sitter, the friends or family members.
-Few things are more hilarious than elementary music programs.
-Finding time to exercise is impossible.
-Six hours of sleep is a luxury.
-Driving a cool car is out the window, and it’s hard to pump my ride when it’s a mom-mobile.
-Nothing is as strong as mommy guilt.
-Motherhood is the hardest job, but it’s worth it.
I know there’s more than tis, but it’s late and Lord only knows how much time I have before the baby wakes up. How about you? What have you learned from parenthood?