Reflections on 8 Years of Parenting

My son turned 8 this year, and I can’t stop thinking about how much my life has changed since I became a parent. I could turn this post into some trendy list of things I’ve learned, but I’d rather not. The thing is, nothing I’ve learned is static. That is, nothing ever stays the same. Parenting is unique to every individual, family, every week, season, etc. Every time I learn something, I have to unlearn it a few months or years later and learn something else. We are all forever changing, both me and my kids.

While I can’t quantify what I’ve learned, I can say that I am profoundly different than I was 8 years and 10 months ago when I learned that I was going to be a mom. God has worked amazing things in my spirit, and the world doesn’t even look the same to me anymore. When my husband and I talked about having a child, the conversation went something like this:

“I don’t see what the big deal is, I mean, we are still going to basically have the same life, right? There will just be one more of us.”

“I know! It’s not like we are going to miss out on all the wild parties we don’t attend now. It’s going to be great.”

While it is great, we had no idea what we were talking about! Neither one of us had any clue what we were getting ourselves into. I didn’t anticipate sleepless nights, zombie days, pain, puke, poop, mountains of diapers, hormones that would turn me into a beast or a sobbing mess depending on the day, or the loneliness that can accompany being a stay-at-home mom.

No one warned me I would want to have another baby 6 months later because I was smitten with babies. No one told me that being a parent would be the most intense, crazy, and wonderful thing I could have hoped for.

My oldest son has taught me a lot about myself. He is like me: intense, literal, driven; he’s a shaker and a mover. He has taught me that I’m nuts. Just kidding. But really, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I am not the easiest person in the world to deal with, and that God makes up for so many deficits in my character that it’s still going to be okay. Being a parent is about trusting God, praying, and being able to brush yourself off when you inevitably fail at something. It’s not about the perfect ideals, the right parenting book, the right labels (helicopter parent, attachment parent, co-sleeper, breast-feeder, private-schooler, whatever), or anything else that people tell you is important. God will tell you what is important. It’s not about the material things your kids have, or how perfect their room looks.

Enjoy your kids! People say it goes fast, and it does. It’s cliche for a reason. I woke up this morning and my oldest is 8 years old. I can barely pick him up anymore, and has become this wonderful blessing in my life. He helps make coffee, feeds the chickens, reads stories to his siblings, holds doors open for ladies, points out even the smallest injustice, and fights for goodness. Being his momma is pretty awesome.

**This was originally posted on BlogHer 8/9/2015.**

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2 thoughts on “Reflections on 8 Years of Parenting

  1. Alma Mater says:

    My eldest turned 8 this year, too. It’s wild to realize that while i have never left the baby stage, he has left it irrevocably behind him. How did I not notice how big and tall and mature he was getting?

    Like

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