parenting mistake #3: we thought it was like riding a bike

I wouldn’t say that I ever imagined parenthood to be “easy” or that my kids would be “perfect”. But I did imagine that I would eventually learn everything and thus “have it together” and “know what I was doing.” Enough with the quotes already.  Somehow, somewhere, I got the notion that I would figure out parenting and be comfortable with it. Granted, parenting is fun for me. I love my babies, I love kids. I still want to have more kids. I love having kids with my husband and raising them, but as I heard recently, “yes, these are all my kids, and it’s no picnic.”

The first kid came, and she was beautiful. And perfect, and smart, and cute and polite and obedient. We both thought, “dang! We must be doing something right!”. And then our second one came, and besides a rough start at birth, she was the easiest baby and toddler we have had by far. Mellow, happy, a peacemaker (thank you Abigail!).

We had our rules and our perfectly timed naps and bedtimes and our manners and our meals together. And everything was honky dory (sp?). we were good parents! We knew what we were doing! Those other parents were lame! And then, the years passed and we added another easy going baby (again, we got lucky), but something happened, our oldest one kept getting older. I know right? And then she got , like, opinions and all that crap. And oh, she’s a talker. I keep telling her she would be a kick butt lawyer.  And then she started kindergarten and we didn’t have complete control of our day or our schedule anymore, and I was pregnant with our 4th almost the entire first year of school (awesome!!).

AndI started to struggle with being “the mom”, when things weren’t so easy anymore. my kids weren't perfect, i wasn't perfect. i didn't know what i was doing at all! And as hard it was getting to manage three little independent, free spirit souls who are smart and sassy and moving a jillion miles a minute, I still dreamt that when my kids were older, I would have it “together” and “know what I was doing.”. total pipe dream.  Insert My 16 year old niece coming to live with us for a month and I had an epiphany, the mom I am today is the mom I’m going to be when they are older”. I wasn’t the fun, silly but strict, easy going mom that you could talk to. I was the harping, record playing, mean mom that gave the evil eye (hey, it works on 4 year olds) and jumped all over you the second you even wavered from doing the perfectly right thing exactly when I asked.

And here I am today, with 4 kids under the age of 7. And I have no idea what I am doing. Some days I feel that I am not strict enough and I am ruining them. The next day I’ll feel that I’m too strict and I am ruining them. We keep trying out rules and rules and chores and consequences. some stick, others don’t. I’ve found that new and exciting rules and chore charts all have a shelf life of approximately 2 weeks. Because human nature (unless you are ocd, and some days I wish I was) just can’t keep be  perfectly consistent with every single thing, all the time, every day.

So instead of boasting of my parent skills and how I have it together and know what I am doing. I’ll be honest. I love being a parent, but it is hard. Each one of our kids are so different from the next. Different personalities, different strengths, different weaknesses, different needs. It’s like having to run a different obstacle race every single day and not knowing the course. And who can do that? I can’t. so every day I pray for help that I can do the right thing, say the right thing, and maybe teach them something important for the day and that they know that i love them.

But I know now that I will never have it figured out or know what I’m doing.

And I’m ok with that.


viola said...

You will be fine Annie, as long as you love them and not worry so much about cleanliness everybody will survive. I raised my four and still raising grandkids and I just take it day by day. I love your blogs!

Trent & Tara said...

The parents from the middle talk about how hard parenting is in one episode. The mother says: "Nobody tells you how hard parenting is?" The dads reply "Of course not, if they did nobody would have kids!". That is very true. Before I became a mother I thought it would be hunky-dory. You see other peoples kids and think, oh my kids will never be like that...blah blah blah. Once I had Lyla I really felt like I was in over my head for the longest time. Now I can I have more than two?? And Trent thinks I am crazy to even think about just 2. I have to remind myself that this was our purpose in become parents and raise the future generation. Parenting is wonderful...but its no picnic. I used to judge other mothers like how can they do this and that. Now I just think...hey if it works for them...good for them. We all parent differently that's for sure. BTW you are a great mother, I am as well, we gotta remember the good things we do instead of all the bad!! Great post just what I needed to get over my parenting hill for the day:)

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