10 truths for parents with young children

I’ve been a mother for almost four and a half years now. So I’ve had some time to reflect on life, as I now know it; on parenting; and how perspectives can change in an instant, once you become responsible for another person’s life.

© Aleksandar Kosev 123RF.com

© Aleksandar Kosev 123RF.com

What I’ve realized, after a lot of commiserating with other new parents, is that we are all being challenged. Whether it’s trying to convince your child to start using the potty or to eat their vegetables, we are all simply doing our best…just trying to figure it all out. And, so far, this is what I’ve figured out:

1. Plan for your plans to be broken.

Be prepared. Or just don’t make any plans, ever…because kids get sick…and they get sick often. In many instances they’ll wait until you are all dressed up and ready for a night out to come down with a fever.

Aside from wrapping them up and keeping them home from school all week long prior to an upcoming event (something I’ve seriously contemplated), their dirty fingers will find a way into their eyes or into their mouths. There’s really nothing you can do, because in spite of the frequent hand washing, one day you’ll find yourself in a panic – 30 minutes before your scheduled Saturday afternoon birthday party, standing in front of a table covered with 40 cupcakes and food, that you got up to prepare at 4 o’clock in the morning – when you’ve just realized your child, the birthday boy, has pink eye.


2. A warm, cozy bed always beats standing in the cold to get into a bar…

…well, that’s what I tell myself, especially when my children are probably going to be waking me up at 6:30 in the morning. Gone are the days when my Saturday night would just be starting at 10:30 pm (and even that was too early to show up at a club). These days, I’m often settled in my warm bed and getting ready to watch the 11 o’clock news. It’s with mixed feelings, some nostalgia and some relief, when I see the local news stories showing images of people on the streets – perhaps a story about the annual Canadian National Exhibition or a story about Leafs’ fans partying in the streets after a long-awaited win.


3. Your child acts like the devil incarnate while awake and looks like a sweet angel while asleep.

It must be nature’s way of preventing parents from running away at night. All the anger and frustration your children may stir up in you, simply disappears when you see them sleeping peacefully.

© Ksenia Kuznetsova 123RF.com

© Ksenia Kuznetsova 123RF.com

“Our boys…they’re really sweet, aren’t they?” my husband says with a smile (30 minutes after the chaos, that is our usual bedtime routine – subsides). “Yeah, they’re sweet,” I say with a tired and irritated voice.


4. Speeches given by parents-of-the-bride and groom take on new meaning.

“It seems like just yesterday…” That’s how the speeches often start. When you heard these speeches before, you would clap and think, “Nice speech…the stories were kind of funny.”

© Boris Ryaposov 123RF.com

© Boris Ryaposov 123RF.com

Now, they’ve taken on new meaning. You realize that you are living the “yesterday” in the speech you will eventually tell and you start to cry…but, mostly because you will be old.


5. Your child’s first four years often feel like a race, one that you eventually wish they never finished.

You can’t wait until they start solids…until they walk…’till they speak…use the potty…read…We want them to grow up so fast. And, they do just that. Then you realize that you were so caught up in the rush of “growing” them, that you didn’t enjoy them just being….a baby. Enjoy the coos…just because they sound so sweet. And, not because you think she’s talking.


6. You realize that you may have given your mom a grey hair or two. But, you’ll never admit it.

You were fearless. Invincible! “Don’t worry, mom.” Those words were so easy to say, and really had no meaning. Now you know that as a parent, you just can’t stop worrying. Whether it’s your child’s first fever; first day of school; or first love, you worry. You

© Dmitriy Melnikov 123RF.com

© Dmitriy Melnikov 123RF.com

will even worry about what “could” happen. I call it “preemptive worrying”….you know, just in case.

“So let me get this straight,” my husband said. “You’re worried that “K” may play hockey and that he may get a concussion.” “K” is 2 years old. He doesn’t know how to skate.


7. Aside from the necessities of life, when you buy something for your child, you are really buying it for yourself.

I almost bought a children’s easel because it was on sale and because of course, my children wanted it. Ok, they didn’t ask for it. But – they paint and draw all the time!

“You don’t have to buy an easel, mama. We have too many toys,” said the weird kid in the back seat of my car. If only you knew my disappointment.


8. Ironing – it just ain’t happening.

When you’ve got young children, sometimes you’ve just gotta embrace the chaos. Life’s not going to be perfect, and your house will get messy. The dishes will not get done right away. There will be toys scattered all over the floor.

© Kasia Bialasiewicz 123RF.com

© Kasia Bialasiewicz 123RF.com

And, ironing the clothes just out of the dryer…well, that’s not gonna happen….that’s what closet doors are for.

If you are able to get the laundry washed, ironed, folded and/or hung in the closets, while still feeding your baby, cleaning up messes and everything else, then congratulations to you! Otherwise, here’s a tip for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet: hang up your wrinkled clothes and iron when needed.


9. Giving a mother unsolicited advice is like sticking your hand in a lion’s cage. Yes, it’s possible to get away unscathed, but we all know better, right?

It doesn’t matter how helpful you think you are being, never give a mother of young children, advice. If you do, you will be invariably attacking: a) her ability to be a mother; b) her intelligence; and c) her love for her child. Want some advice on this matter? Just ask my husband what he thinks…the scratches on his arms are almost gone.


10. Storage – the answer to all your problems!

(Warning: more unsolicited advice to follow) If you ever feel like you aren’t in control because your baby decides your sleep schedule; your baby has initiated a few food restrictions and doesn’t like the cheese you are eating; your baby has too many things and it’s too much work to go out; or, your baby doesn’t want you to take a long shower, take comfort in what you can control – your mess!

I have to admit, I’ve become a little obsessed with storage – baskets, buckets, cupboards and shelves – for all the toys, clothes, books and home supplies. Truthfully though, as I write this, my home is still quite messy because I’m in the middle of organizing a bunch of areas – the kitchen, the front coat closet…hmmm, should I get more containers?

 

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Comments

  1. Great article! I was definitely nodding along as I went through some of these points, me being a mother of a young’un! I’m guilty of wanting those milestones checked off, and I’m sure my little one wants me to buy her a piano… I mean, she plays on her mini Fisher Price keyboard ALL the TIME….ahem! Anyway, lovin’ the blog so far….can’t wait to hear more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heeheehee Tina. Love #9 and the lion gets more ferocious when it’s your MIL regardless of how well intentioned, experienced, and caring they are. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great Blog Tina. So many things I can relate to. I loved #3. Always wondered if there was something wrong with my kids since this bedtime chaos was the routine EVERY SINGLE day.. and in the morning getting ready to drop Noah off in school feels like preparing for battle. I was smiling the whole time reading your blog, just knowing that I’m not alone 🙂 ~ happy blogging xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahhh, your kids are perfect angels, Christina. No, seriously, I can relate over 30 years later to everything you said. re: Stacey’s comment re: MIL. I am one. This is not an easy role to play. You walk a fine line. Remember you young mothers will be in this role one day. All i can say is grandchildren are life’s compensation for getting old.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. buying kid toys for ourselves? yep 🙂 haha

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I quite agree. Your schedule is definitely bound to be interrupted almost all the time no matter how much you think you can plan. Great Read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sparkyplants says:

    Christina, having teenaged boys now, all I can say is as chaotic and overwhelming all of it is right now with young children, it will be gone before you know it and then you will wish you had it back (at least I do sometimes). Now that my boys are driving – they drive themselves to school, they have their own schedules, it is so quiet in our house (which I am sure seems like a dream to you). But at the same time – they still need a lot of help, it’s not as physically exhausting but it is mentally draining ( AP World History – ugh), help with writing college papers, proofreading, discussing the fact that one of the kids they went to school with is now living on the streets, addicted to drugs, or the girl that was in their grade and used to whine on Facebook about how she didn’t have a boyfriend, is pregnant with her second child. At least the chaos you are experiencing now is contained and in your control. Great, thought-provoking post. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for a very thoughtful response! Even though I complain, I know I’m going to miss this age and how sweet they are right now….but I guess I have a lot to look forward to, also. Thanks for commenting and following my blog. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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