I’ve been parenting for over 7 years now, so I’ve got some wisdom to share with you! Here are the top 10 things I’ve learned about parenting thus far in my journey. While this list has changed over time and will likely continue to change, these are the lessons that have proven most impactful to me and my family thus far.
- My patience is different than my child’s. There are times that they seem to make the same choices over and over again and those are the moments when we may not see eye-to-eye but that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning and growing just as much as I am.
- The littlest things matter, even if you don’t think so at first glance.
2) Love is complicated
-Love is complicated. Let’s just be honest here. The top 10 things I’ve learned about parenting so far boil down to one word: love. Of course, there are many other factors at play and the truth is that these lessons all come with their own set of struggles and challenges, but they do all come back to love in the end because parenting is nothing more than a high stakes act of love. And in my opinion, that makes it worth every ounce of energy it requires to do it well.
3) Don’t compare your children to others
If you think that your child’s accomplishments aren’t good enough, what will you tell them when they come home with a not-so-great grade on their report card? When one of my children did poorly on a test, instead of saying, You should have studied harder, I just said to them, How can we help you do better next time?
4) You are the best parent you can be
We’re not perfect. We don’t have all the answers. And sometimes, we might give up a little bit more easily than we should because of it. But being a parent is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, and if you can be your best self in this process, then you’re doing a good job at parenting.
5) Every day brings new challenges
Every day is different. As a parent, you’re constantly adapting to your kids’ needs. Some days they need more attention than others and some days they want space to grow and explore on their own. You are in charge of balancing that all out so that everyone is satisfied – it can be hard sometimes but it’s totally worth it!
6) Your parents were right about some things after all
I always thought my parents were overly strict. They wouldn’t let me stay out past 9 PM, gave me a curfew for high school and made me wear a helmet when I rode my bike to work. Now that I’m the parent, everything has come full circle and it’s like they’re right. But there are some things you learn when you become a parent yourself that make all of their restrictions worth it.
7) Even if they drive you crazy, you’ll miss them when they’re gone
I didn’t think I could ever love anyone more than my sister, but when my daughter was born, I knew she was a completely different kind of love. Like anything worth doing, it’s hard and there are days where you wonder what the heck you’re doing to yourself. But there’s nothing more rewarding or gratifying than having that someone rely on you and want to be near you always. The key is to never take them for granted, because once they grow up – they’re gone!
8) Be kind to yourself, so you can be kind to others
Allow yourself to not be perfect. You’re doing the best you can and it’s hard, but so many other people have gone through the same thing. The only way you are going to learn is by screwing up and making mistakes, but know that this process will help you in the future.
9) There’s always time for ice cream!
- It’s never too early to teach your kids about animals and plant life. Most kids will know the names of at least 50 animals by the time they start school, if not more! There are so many educational TV shows on right now that are not only entertaining, but also have a specific curriculum attached to them. And don’t forget all of the great books you can read with your child that teach important lessons while also being fun! 2. There’s always time for ice cream!
10) Remember this one thing every morning.
I may not be the perfect parent. No one is. But I’m doing my best to try and make a difference in the world, even if it’s just in this small little corner of the world. When I do things right, or even when I mess up, it makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, there really is hope for all of us.
There are no shortcuts and you have to work for your goals every day.