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What I've Learned in 9 Years of Parenting

Posted Sep 29 2009 10:14pm
With 9 years of parenting under my belt, I feel as though I am qualified to tell you, well, absolutely nothing. Sure, I've learned a lot. About myself. About my kids. About pretty much every other person I've come in contact with over the last decade. But that makes me no better or worse a parent than people who have been raising kids for 30 years or people who are bringing home their first tiny baby today.

So, I'm not going to tell you how to do things right. I'm just going to tell you what I have personally learned. Take it however you will.

Parenting is not a competition. The goal is simple. You try your best to raise happy, healthy kids. You hope that they grow up to be sane, responsible and not resentful of you. Their is no secret formula and their is no prize for the best kid. You do your best, even if you never think you are going to live up to the neighbors parenting skills.

Showering is completely optional. Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day (or days in the week) to get a shower on a regular basis. It is okay. Other mothers understand. And don't judge. Unless their are super bitchy. And probably have a nanny. Because how else are they showering every single day?

Sometimes you won't like your kids. There. I said it. You will always love your kids. But you won't always like them. Your relationship with your kids may be the strongest one you ever have, but it's still a relationship. And like every relationship, you won't always like what the other person is doing. You won't always want to spend every waking second of the day listening to them whine about something you can't fix. It's understandable. It's human. It is not a sign of failing as a parent.

Sometimes your kids won't like you. That is pretty much a sign you are doing tings right. You can't always give your kids what they want. They will get pissed off. They will tell you that hate you and that they never asked to be born. You said it to your parents. Why should your kids be any different. Trust that you are doing things the right way. They should go to bed. They shouldn't have more ice cream. And they definitely shouldn't be dating the boy who already has facial hair and a car. (That last one hasn't happened to me yet, but I can smell it coming.) (It case you were wondering, it smells like hair gel and cheap aftershave.)

There is no good time to have a baby. Having an accidental baby, a planned baby and then another accidental baby, I can tell you one thing. The timing was never right. I have never had the money one hopes to have in order to support a baby. I have never been in the right place in my career (what career?) and neither has the husband. We have never had the right place to live. But it still works out. Lots of people think they have to wait until they are ready financially. They have to wait until their other kids are a little older. They have to wait, for whatever reason. If I had waited, I would still be waiting. I would probably always be waiting.

There is no "right" amount of kids. If you have 1 child, people will tell you that you MUST have another. It's not fair to the child. They have to have a brother or sister. If you have 3 children, they'll say things like "You aren't going to have any more, right?" If you have more than 3, well, I've heard the horror stories, but I don't know anything personally yet. Basically, unless you have exactly 2 children, people will question you and attempt to make you feel as though you are failing both your children and society as a whole. It is none of their business.

No two babies are alike. Everyone has heard this. If you are like me, you internally roll your eyes and continue thinking things with this child will be basically the same as the previous one. And then all of a sudden you'll have this baby that hates everything the other loved. Eating, sleeping, everything will be different. And then you'll be glad you eye roll was internal. People just love saying "I told you so."

You will question yourself constantly. You will always worry if you are doing the right thing. You will be afraid that some act, some words, some food, some look, some something will cause your child harm. You will second guess most decisions you make. You'll swear you are the worst parent ever. The fact that you do worry and you do care make you a good parent. Bad parents don't give their decisions a second though.

There are many others and someday I'll probably post more, but this is getting long-winded and Mr. Potato Head just isn't going to keep the kids distracted that much longer.
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