Whoops! A day behind! A thousand pardons! The weather was FREEZING but beautiful, so I opted to take Kidlet on an adventure. After bedtime story and cuddles, I got to work on this immediately – that must be worth at least one point, no?
The prompt for today is one that took some serious introspection.What HAVE I learned??
(What exactly was I thinking when I wrote these prompts down?)
Anyone who has raised a child can tell you that being a parent changes you FOREVER. You can never be the same when you’ve been solely responsible for another human being.
I’m going to be honest with you, I felt pretty cocky going into motherhood since I am the oldest of 6. I felt ready for the responsibility of a child since I already knew how to change diapers. (My youngest brother is 12 years younger than me.) What I didn’t know is that every child is different and baby brothers are DEFINITELY not like having your own child.
I’ve learned a few things about life and about myself since I’ve had Kidlet.
I am never going to be prepared. As a parent, even when you think you’ve got it figured out, things change. As a new mum or dad, you read the books, you hear the stories from your parents, doctor, strangers, the internet and you think when your child gets here, you’ll be ready. Um, it’s not that simple. Children don’t come with a manual and if they did, there’d be a new update to it every 12 hours. As a parent, you have to be flexible and open-minded because this little bundle is a little person.
Children are dynamic, they have a temperament, they have opinions on things and you can never anticipate which way the wind will blow. What provides delight today, could be completely untouchable tomorrow. Over the years, friends change, taste in clothes change, they grow, they’re developing hormones, hair changes, voices change, food preference changes, music choices change, the way they react to you changes, how they smell changes. All of these things happen all at once or sporadically and often without warning. You can never be prepared all the time and you just do the best you can.
I can never be the perfect parent despite what I expect of myself. As a parent, I always thought I would ensure that Kidlet ate veggies and we had exercise outdoors and he would say “Please” and “Thank you” without prompting. Well, things haven’t turned out like that exactly every day.
I’m pretty hands on and Kidlet is heavily micromanaged – as a single mother with one child, what else do I have to do? From the beginning, I put a lot of effort into my parenting and try to do the right thing for him 10 times out of 10: making home-cooked meals, reading a story at bedtime, getting him a haircut on time.
I realized soon enough that we do not live in a perfect world and I can’t be a perfect parent. There are days when he’d get A+ parenting: all the stars aligned and things go just as they should according to the Great Plan in my head. There are other days when he has cereal for dinner and he sleeps in my bed. That’s just how life is sometimes.
I can’t do everything all the time and no one expects that, LEAST of all Kidlet. (He has NEVER complained about sleeping in my bed or cereal for dinner actually.) I usually put that on myself. The less than stellar days will not cause devastation to the universe. Nobody’s perfect and that includes me.
I will always feel a little bit insecure. I found out pretty early on that I didn’t really know what I was doing some of the time and leaned on other parents for advice and discussion to figure out what was the best course of action for a particular problem. I in no way felt that my way was the best way. There’s always that little feeling of insecurity that lingers in the back of my mind. Is this the best thing? Should I have done that? Should I not have done that?
The way I look at it is that being insecure means that I won’t get comfortable with my parenting. I’ll always be looking for ways to improve and being the best mother I can be.
My heart can expand. The love for a child is so unlike any other love. I remember thinking when my own Mum died, “Nobody will ever love me like that again.” I still believe that. My love for Kidlet is so deep and so broad, I can’t imagine loving someone I didn’t give birth to like that. This person was a part of me; Kidlet is an extension of myself. When you think you have enough love, more just comes out of nowhere and you’re filled up past the top.
I thought when I got married I knew what love was, and there was only one kind of love. When I gave birth there was a whole different dimension of love that I felt and I haven’t felt it since.
I don’t expect that this is everyone’s experience, but my child has brought so much to my life and I will forever be a better person for it.