Tuesday, September 28, 2010

19 things I've learned about parenthood.

On Sunday baby goat turned 19 months old.  I am more that a little in awe of that number.  19 months is on the cusp of 20 and each passing day, hour and week his 7 week early arrival becomes more insignificant as he takes giant leaps forward.

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of things going into motherhood.  I knew I didn't have it all figured out but I knew I could handle it.  Well, I was right and wrong.  I can handle it, and handle it well, but there was so much that I had no clue about before baby goat came into the world.  So in honor of baby goat's 19 months here are 19 things that I've learned about parenthood.

1.  How (or when) your child enters the world is not ultimately up to you.  There is no "right" way of giving birth, instead there is a "right" way for you and your child at a given time.  That might not be the ideal birth but it is still the right one.  The right birth for us was a c-section at 33 weeks to stop the pre-eclampsia that was shutting down my system.  Not an ideal birth by any means but was the right one for us.

2.  Guilt doesn't help you be a better parent.  It only helps you dwell on the past and not the present. 

3.  Pumping is breastfeeding too and don't let anyone tell you it isn't.  It is also worth it.  But if you can't your child won't be ruined for life.

4.  Ask for advice and then feel free to ignore it.  Your child is unique and what worked for someone might not work for you.

5.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a gift of grace to yourself and your child.

6.  Being a stay-at-home parent is hard.  Being a working parent is hard.  They are hard in similar and different ways.  So don't judge what decisions another family has to make for their children, just support them.

7.  I never knew how hard it would be to scold and warn a child about something while struggling to keep the laughter from my voice.

8.  Milestones will be achieved at a child's own pace.  Be your child's own advocate if you think something is wrong, but don't worry unnecessarily about the speed at which your child reaches developmental milestones.

9.  I didn't know that my love for my husband would grow and expand even more watching him be a Father.

10.  Baby goat has taught me more about God's love and grace for his creation in 19 months than I learned in 3 years of Seminary and all those years of church.

11.  I've learned that to be fully prepared you need always need a change of clothes for the baby AND for the parents.

12. While you will never be the same the person you were before the baby, the "old" you is still there and can still be nurtured.  And nurturing that part of yourself is a good way to keep some sanity.

13.  Saturday mornings are no longer for sleeping in.

14.  Your parents suddenly make a lot more sense.  (Or at least a *little* more sense).

15.  You can't have too many people in your child's life who loves them.

16.  No matter what fancy educational toy you have, chances are your child will still find everything from the remote control to a leaf more fascinating.

17.  Boys really are different from girls, but not in what they play with just in how they play.

18.  Smart-ass-ness is genetic.

19.  Forever and always part of your heart will exist outside yourself and the pull of it will be so powerful and beautiful that if you think about it too deeply you will be overcome by the love you have for that precious child.

What has parenthood taught you?


scrubmama said...

Love #18

Kate1024 said...

i think #4 and #5 are brilliant and insightful. logical, yes, but something i think many new parents don't think about (and those i'd really like to share with my new sister-in-law, who will have her first child in December- and i think believes it will be a "textbook" baby- no such thing!!)

Colleen said...

Such a great post Liz. Thanks! Got me thinking about what my years as a parent have taught me. The most important being this; these people are on loan to us from God and we are fortunate to hold them.

Rebecca said...

I love this post. I agreed with every single point. My favorite, though, is the one on how Saturdays are no longer for sleeping in. I don't know why we never thought of that before we had kids. For some reason I assumed that babies and young kids would somehow know that Saturdays are special and for sleeping in. Sigh. It seems our kids realize it's a special day but that it's for getting up even earlier. Yuk!