I’ve been a parent for three years now. It’s so hard for me to believe it’s been so long, but at the same time, it feels like I’ve been a mom my entire life.
Our first placement came to us after spending time with us for a few weeks before hand so it wasn’t a “thrown into kids we knew nothing about” situation for foster care. The next two came to us just like that: picked up late in a Friday afternoon from a store parking lot and we knew absolutely nothing. Then we were pregnant and brought a lovely little man into this world. And another child came to us for a night or two. And then we had our last placement, who lived with us for a few months. And now? We’re pregnant again(Actually by the time this is posting, I am praying I am no longer pregnant but you know…I may be.)
I’m a big fan that every child is different and needs different kinds of parenting. I swore we would solely use attachment parenting, until we had a child who didn’t react to that well. We weren’t going to use time outs-but then suddenly, time ins were not an option. We would read to our kids every night, we would have well rounded meals, we wouldn’t allow television time, my kids wouldn’t have cell phones or social media until they were old-none of that has turned out true. I still think I’m a great mom, but so many of my parenting plans have been left to the wayside.
I like to talk about parenting, but I always try to refrain from too many comments about “how to parent” or what matters in parenting. But in honor of being a mom for 3 years, I decided to talk about the three things I think are most important with parenting.
You are going to hate some aspects of parenting.
Don’t feel guilty for all the times you’ve rolled your eyes or wanted to leave the house and run away. It’s normal. It happens, I promise. Parenting can be hard some days. When you’re elbow deep in baby poop, nursing for the fifth time that night, and your older child is throwing up in the bathroom next to you; you may think “why did I choose to have kids?” It’s completely okay when you’re having those days. If they happen a lot, seek help, because being a parent can be hard and sometimes therapy is the best option to make you the best parent you can be.
Change your parenting style with every child.
Seriously, do it. Children are individuals, even if they share all the same DNA and bloodlines. They each have personalities that stand out, they have needs to be met. You cannot parent each child the same way as the one before. I don’t mean you have to make huge changes, but you do need to change to work with who your children are. It’s not easy to let go of the ideals you had of what your parenting life would look like...but it does get much easier once you drop those hopes and begin to parent in a way that works for your kids and yourself.
You can not love them too much.
Presence doesn’t spoil a child, presents do. And you will so miss this. When I became a new mom, I rolled my eyes at that saying “You’re going to miss this.” I didn’t see how I could miss parts of parenting I was so desperately wishing would hurry up and end-potty training, late night sneaking into my bedroom, tears whenever I left, all their firsts. (We’re still in the depths of potty training and I don’t miss it yet. At all.) It’s okay to hope the harder parts fly by without a catch, but you will miss it. And you can’t love your kids too much. I’m a firm believer of the saying “food spoils, not kids” . It’s true. They are in need of all the love and attention you can give them, especially as babies-they will form proper attachments easier if you show they it from birth on. So snuggle those kids while they will let you, cuddle up with cocoa, and ignore the people who tell you they’ll never leave you alone if they are always catered to. Trust me; Bug cannot wait to get away from me most the time now.
Parenting has been a wonderful gift the past three years and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone! I cannot wait to see what the next few years bring me and the ways we continue to grow as parents.