The things they don’t tell you about becoming a parent

Oh the joys parenting brings, they’ll tell you. There’s nothing more rewarding they’ll say. For already moms, previously anointed moms and for those of you have not yet had the pleasure of becoming a mom this article is for you. When the nurse hands you that pink little bundle of joy and says “Oh She’s beautiful” they’re already telling a lie – and that one will be the first of many.

As you leave the hospital you think you’re ready for the next 18- 22 years of your life, feeling like Alice who just embarked on wonderland. Meanwhile that same nurse who handed you your baby is snickering away thinking you have no idea what’s in store!

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Me time – what is this word you speak of?

Some words will become foreign to you. It happens; you’re not losing your mind. The time you once had to read your magazine when you wanted to, snack when you wanted to and sleep when you wanted to – are things of the pas! Now it’s “when your Children want to” Whether it’s your 8 month old baby or your 7 year old they’ll have schedules and live on their own time.

Learn to love dirty

It’s chick and stylish and not all that bad! Now you might think I’ve lost my mind, but sticky hands and fingers and then sticky remote controls and television screens are inevitable, it will happen sooner or later and it’s better to make peace with it instead of being surprised by it! If I can give you some advice put away the fancy glass vases at an unreachable place. Your couch – take a picture of it as a memoir of what it once was and lastly nothing says ‘get me dirty” like a brand new pair of expensive clothes (you know the ones I’m talking about those cute frocks that you just had to buy)

Naturally white is out of the question for you from this day forward – because not only the couch will be covered with today’s lunch special but so will you!

Embarrassment is on its way

Yes – she comes for all of us!! kids have a tendency to say the wrong things at the worst of times. A friend of mine and her daughter were attending church with me one Sunday and we have to stand whilst praying, by the third time the little girl yelled out as we were getting up “Again!?” The church as well as the pastor was laughing but her mother blushed tomato red!! The first of many, but instead of digging a hole and burying yourself inside it, remember those moments – they are the priceless ones.

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Your child is an individual.

Raising kids means the two of you learning together – making it up as you go along or faking it until you make it as they say. Don’t compare your children to the likes of other people’s kids. “We give little Jimmy this type of vegetables because it helps him grow faster” If your best friends’ son stared walking at 8 months, good for them it might take your boy a 18 months and that’s okay.

You’re allowed to lose it sometimes.

Freak outs are part of the mommy package. It’s during those hours that your mommy-hood is tested. The great thing about kids is that they forgive easily when they’re young. Being a mom is hard it’s important that you let your husband know when you’re fragile – and that you need someone to yell at for just five seconds. Nobody has it perfect. It’s a demanding job with no pay and hardly any thank you!

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Embrace the good times and the bad times.

They go by so fast – whether they’re moments you hate or love, treasure them and remember those moments. The messy and unorganised rooms of a sixteen year old, the misplaced words of a two year old and the tears of your daughters’ very first broken heart all deserve your undivided attention.

You won’t know everything.

Live and learn as they say. It might be your first time strapping in a car seat but after three months a friend will point out that you actually installed it wrong. Don’t go into a panic frenzy and don’t get too excited just yet – you haven’t won worst parent of the year! We learn by doing an you won’t know your baby allergic to nuts right away. Parents make mistakes it part of live and part of humanity. So learn to deal with it, fix it, forget about it and move on – what doesn’t kill them can only make them stronger and trust me when I say out are not the only mommy.

You’ll be doing most of the work.

For the next 18 years of your life school bakeries and projects are your scape coat. Learn to love exploding volcanoes, glitter glue and double sided tape. Their work has now become group work – only later during school years will they become more self-reliant and not need your help any longer and you’ll be surprised at how alone and shut out you will feel… “them, not needing you anymore?”

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You’ll have to let go at some point.

You can give your children the world but in the end they’ll have to discover it for themselves. It’s hard but at some point you’ll have to let go and allow them to make their own mistakes. This is the part that most parents have a hard time grasping. If you hold them back they’ll only fight harder and you’ll lose them all together you have to trust in the values you thought them.

The hardest Job… Ever

Ruth Akers once explained parenting as the following “It’s the hardest, lowest paid position you will ever encounter” It’s pretty true but none the less there will never be a job more important job in the world! The reward or payment will never be a Nobel prise or even a R10 – you’re in a humble place now where credit is none existent but those long awaited praises are shore to come, in a smile or a laugh on your children taking grown up steps and learning to stand on their own two feet, it’s the ballet recitals you’ll go to or the their first tries in rugby or simply them banging away in the kitchen trying to bake a cake for mother day.

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