Parenting Series, part 2: It’s not always instinct

Random tidbit: I have a compulsive need to rid my phone of the little numbers that pop up on the home screen. I know I’m not alone.

I remember the day my first little bambino was born. I was in a nice white room with my doctor and the nurses. My husband was sitting in a recliner with a cold wash cloth over his head because he had almost passed out. They handed me my little mister and I was so happy from the drugs and tidal wave of endorphins that comes in after birth to wipe out whatever pain and despair I may have experienced with my labor pains. It was a beautiful moment.

There are some things I wish someone would have told me when that first bundle of blue was handed to me. Maybe someone did and I don’t remember. Or maybe these are only lessons that can be learned thru experience. But I think that a list would have been nice to have. Maybe a heads up.

1. Babies change your life. In all kinds of interesting ways. If you are crazy and unorganized, your baby will give you a reason to pause the madness and bring some order to your world. If you are a well organized and meticulous type that baby will bring a level of cray-cray that will rock your world.

2. Parenting isn’t always instinctual. There were (and are) days that my instinct was to run away and hide. So I did. What my kids needed was for me to be there.  There are so many days it’s easier for me to just let the kids have their way (even my almost-2 year old) but in some cases that would be harmful to let the kids have their way. Like when my little miss wants to roam the neighborhood by herself.

3. No mattter how many books you read or blogs you read, there will be moments of absolute failure in parenting. And somehow, we have to pick up and keep going. I can hide behind my “expert” voice and try and pretend my parenting has always been AMAZING, but that would be a lie from the pit of hell. I have days I fail as a parent. I have days when I have hit my kids in anger. I have days when I yell or avoid my kids. These are the days when I also experience a grace so rich and pure that I know it’s a gift from God straight to my wounded soul.

4. No matter how many books or blogs you read, there will be days of absolute VICTORY in parenting. The days that everyone is going to bed with a full tummy and a sleepy smile. The days when I can say yes more than I say no. The moment we can all sit on our sofa reading books while the rain falls outside. Or watching my big boys sweetly take the hand of their little miss on an adventure, these are my moments of victory.

5. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing to parent well, it only matters what you think is parenting well. This was a hard lesson for me. It’s still hard for me. I tend to compare (ok, judge) myself to others. It’s part of my nature, I long to know I am doing things “right”. I want a list and check mark by each box. But that’s not how parenting works. We all parent differently. What works for my family won’t necessarily work for yours. Or vice versa. Let’s embrace the differences instead of trying to convince each other we are right.



2 thoughts on “Parenting Series, part 2: It’s not always instinct

  1. Michelle M. says:

    I think #5 is very, very important. No two parents and no two children are alike. Therefore, you have to figure it out as you go with each child. I do not and cannot parent each of our four children the same. They are all very different from one another. Our oldest and youngest have special needs that require different parenting. It is important to know what is best for your family and your children. People and books can give you all sorts of advice, but only the parents know the children best.

    I love what you’ve said here: “Let’s embrace the differences instead of trying to convince each other we are right.” So true!

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