This blog is dedicated to all parents out there that are struggling now, or have struggled in the past and this is also dedicated to my four reasons for being--JL
My giant step into ADULTING happened at a way too young age. I had babysat my nieces, nephews and neighbor kids. I liked kids, sort of (I thought they were mostly boring) and I thought I could handle most anything, so having a baby of my own could be okay, I thought. I was young enough, too, that when I did doubt I knew what I was doing, I dug my heels in and "sucked it up" and didn't tell anyone if I was struggling. I didn't want to look like a young, ignorant Momma, when in fact I was just that! However, a lot of things that were so very important before my daughter arrived, certainly weren't so important after.
Life Changing - Having a child at ANY age changes your life. Even if you have had one, two or three kids, when number four arrived for me, my life changed yet again. Not because of the extra work (oh and there is a lot of extra work when you have kids) but because with each child perspective changes. You would think that once you have been a new parent, that you know what to expect each and every time, but, you don't. Each baby is different. YOU are different each time. Your other kids adjust differently each time. That is the first thing I was ignorant in when I had kids--that once you have done it, the rest of the kids will be easier to handle because you know what you are doing. TRUTH: As a parent, you ALWAYS question whether you know what you are doing! No matter what books you may have read, no matter what all circumstances you have survived, there WILL come that moment when you question whether you know ANYTHING at all! Even the most confident of souls will be challenged by this tiny new life they are in charge of.
No Books for Everything - In my experience, since I was so young, I thought I knew everything and figured I could easily figure it out. Well, I figured stuff out, but it wasn't easy. When I was a little older with my last one, I had read books, learned a few things and figured out some things by trial and error. I was a lot more relaxed by baby number four and I felt a tad more confident. But, then, as my kids got older, I realized that although sometimes they liked similar things or had similar reactions to some things, they are all so unique that no book could totally help or describe some situations I found myself in. I was a handful as a teenager. I felt like I knew all the tricks, hazards and traps a teen could get in and could protect my kids from such things. Not only was I wrong about that with some things, I was completely unprepared for some situations that I faced. I didn't even have friends to ask how to deal with some of those things--I just had to make my mistakes and do the best that I could. TRUTH: Whether everyone admits it or not, EVERYONE feels like they don't know what they are doing at some point and time and EVERYONE makes mistakes trying to figure things out. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Can't Predict the Future - Whether we try to or not, somehow we all get these pictures in our minds of what our kids lives will be like as they grow up. Even for the most open minded parent, somehow when our kids walk a path we don't expect, it freaks us out. Whether they choose a career we can't understand, or decide education isn't for them or even make other decisions for their lives we didn't see coming, it can turn our worlds upside down. How do we proceed when things don't go the way WE planned? That is one of the biggest things I had NO CLUE would happen to MY KIDS. I mean, my parents didn't always understand me or a lot of my decisions, but, I was going to PAY ATTENTION and KNOW my kids better! I would SEE their paths ahead of them and casually direct them in better directions without judgment or crazy fears. But, we can't predict the future because everyone is different and how they respond to LIFE is different. No matter if you think you are looking in a mirror with your child, they are NOT you. Things will be different for them in some things in their lives. Accept it now, because maybe (just maybe) it will be a small thing you won't feel so freaked out over when it's your child. TRUTH: No matter what I have faced, I have loved my kids unconditionally even when things happened I didn't understand nor agree with. If you love them--truly deeply love them--YOU and THEY can get through anything. I have cried tears of anger, worry, frustration and utter terror. I have also cried tears of utter joy, pride and happiness. I can't imagine how boring my life would have been without them, nor can my heart even think about if I ever lost one of them. They have been my reason for being most of my life! I love them. Just because. No matter who they are, no matter what roads they take, no matter who they love or what they may believe--I love them.
Parenting is a super hard ADULTING step. It's not for everyone. But, in my experience, it's been the one that has taught me the most about life and myself. It's one I wouldn't trade for anything. (At least not today!)
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush--Mother, Grandmother and Associate Broker Photo Credit: Aaron Luttrull