Becoming a parent is a milestone in its own right. But this milestone is now your new way of life, forever. You never stop being a parent, even after your kids leave home. I know, I’m doing it. But along the way you find some reoccurring things that are worthy of noting. 20+ years of being a parent has taught me a lot, and I still have 10 more years before my youngest leaves school.
So here are 7 parenting lessons I have learnt along the way so far:
- Things are always changing. Always, always, always. Every day, every year, every milestone is different. So take life as it comes. Every day is a new adventure with new challenges and new victories, hopefully.
- Parenting is hard. Super hard but super rewarding. There is no guide book to it and sometimes way too much advice. But every parent is doing it in their own special way and so can you.
- Women become Mums. What does that even mean?? Well, we start our adult life as women, and then once we become a Mum, we kind of loose ourselves. This is something I have struggled with because I have such a large family; I’m nearly always referred to as “that lady with all those kids”. And that is correct, but I’m also an individual and a person in my own right. But I’m going to own it anyway because my family defines me and I define my family.
- Personal space is a distant memory. There are no boundaries as to when a child can talk to you. Toilet, shower, bed, garden etc. I am starting to think that the toilet and shower are more attractive to your children to catch a chat with you because you are practically trapped and can’t avoid them. Well played kids. But as much as it is an inconvenience, it is only temporary. The older kids get, the more gross it becomes to go anywhere near you when you are in the toilet or shower. So hang in there, it doesn’t last forever.
- Presence instead of presents. Kids want your attention. They want toys and gadgets too, but ultimate happiness comes from your love and attention. I have learnt to always answer them. It’s painful at times, but it reassures them that I am there and listening. And while doing things together as a family is great, one on one time is important. We get this done by grocery shopping. Weird, I know. But I take just one kid with me to do the weekly shop each week. This gives us about an hour of one on one time for the week. It’s not much, but it works. Quick trips to the shop outside of groceries are done too and I sometimes forget whose turn it is, but the kids usually know and remind me if I’ve taken the wrong kid.
- Boundaries. This is one I find hard to maintain. Luckily, my husband has missed his calling as a navy ship commander, and is happy to take on that role at home instead. That is where our balance works. He is the bossy one and I am the soft one. But I have learnt that kids are more content when they know where the boundaries lie, and what happens when they are crossed. They don’t always like it, but it gives them security and structure to grow from.
I hope some of this is helpful to you in some way. We are all trying our best which doesn’t always feel adequate. But Miss 21 and Miss 19 have made me realise, I remember things one way and they remember things another. They remember always feeling safe and loved despite the things I thought were affecting their growth.