What I’ve Learned in Six Years of Parenting

I thought about writing this post when I was feeling wittier, but it didn’t feel right. I have thought about writing this post when I was feeling more emotional, but I didn’t want to potentially bludgeon all of you over the head with seeming needlessly saccharine.

So, it’s a Monday. The kids are at school. The baby is napping. The kitchen is a hot mess and I’m putting off cleaning it for as long as possible. Which means that it’s time for a blog post.

Here are the things I have learned in six years of parenting:

Sit down first – seriously. When you put them on the bus. When you lay them down for nap time. When you turn on a cartoon. Yes, there are things to do. There always will be. But do you know what is hard to come by when you’re a parent? Sitting! So sit.down.

Cereal is absolutely an acceptable dinnertime option.

Don’t be afraid to cancel appointments if you’re overwhelmed in your current season of life. Seriously. Reschedule those trips to the dentist or their three-year check ups. Don’t worry about joining the PTA this year. Put off getting your flu shot one more week. The world will keep turning anyway. 

Yes, parenting toddlers is a battle. That doesn’t mean that the boundaries move. It means that you battle to reinforce the boundaries. 

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Draw on their faces with (WASHABLE) markers from time to time.

Let them draw on your face with (WASHABLE) markers on the rare occasion, too. 

You only need diapers and food when you leave the house. The rest you can get away without having in a pinch. So what if your baby comes back home naked in their car seat. They’re alive, aren’t they?

Always keep a (HIDDEN) stash of chocolate in the house. ALWAYS. 

Schedule some time for yourself out of the house. Don’t wait for your husband to do it. Don’t wait until everything is calm and just right before doing so. Don’t wait until someone offers. Tell your spouse what you need from them. And make it happen. 

Savor any and every bit of silence you get. 

The time in your life for sitting and actually watching television in real-time will return. Until then, Netflix at 11 o’clock at night is your best friend. 

There is no such thing as a post-baby body. There is you, post-baby. And you are strong, you never stopped being strong. Just maybe your arms got a little flabby. So apologize to your arm fat and move on. 

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Yes, it’s okay to eat hot dogs for breakfast.  I’m talking about for you and for the kids.

Hold your babies because someday, it will be too late. 

Hold your babies because it’s never too late. 

There is no convenient time to have children. You’ll probably never have “enough” money. You’ll probably never have enough time. You’ll definitely never have enough energy.

Yes, we all know that having puppies and having children is not the same thing. So when your friend talks about it like it is, just smile and nod. And silently relish in the fact that one day, they’ll know what you’re all about. 

For that matter, when your friend talks about being tired, or wanting some down time or needing some space….smile and nod. Don’t cut them. 

Don’t judge other moms. It’s needless. It’s unwarranted. It’s not helpful. It’s dumb. 

Your kids just need you. Not an organic diet. Not a high-end education or fancy place to live. Not one thing besides mom and dad. That’s it. Period. 

Say no to your children. For the love, just say no. 

Let your kids fail sometimes. Let them cry. Let them learn the hard way. 

Crying never killed anybody. 

Don’t pistol whip the person taking too long to order in front of you and the kids at Chick Fil. Just don’t. 

Take your kids to the elderly folks home. Help them pack a Christmas package for someone in need. Make them donate the toys and clothes that they don’t use. Make them help other people who don’t live in your house. 

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Make sure your children know that you are the moral authority in their lives and that they can come to you with anything

You are never “just a mom.” Never, ever. You work just as hard as anybody else. You are just as dedicated as anybody else. You are just as fearless, just as smart, just as much of a bad you-know-what as anybody else. You survived child birth for goodness sake. Don’t ever let them forget it. And don’t you ever forget it, either.

Make sure your children know how to say “I’m sorry.” And even more importantly, when to say it. 

Who cares if the bus driver sees you in the same pj’s she saw in you this morning when you put the kids on the bus as when she drops them back off. Whatev’s.

Let your kids help you feel like a kid again. Let them be in the driver’s seat every one in a while.

Brew that extra pot of coffee if you need it. Just do it.

Let the pizza man look at you funny when you only open your front door 14 inches for him. That way, he can’t see the shameful amount of laundry in your hallway and the naked children running rampant behind you. 

It’s okay if you have a potty mouth. Just don’t let the kids hear you.

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Sometimes, the house is going to win. Do you hear me? Sometimes, your house is going to win. There will be messes left over when you go to sleep. There will be days with the same basket of laundry being knocked around. There will be awful days and the house will be the least of your concern. Let it win. You’ll get it all back when they’re in college. 

Yes, naked children outside are okay. 

There are times in your life where it’s okay to say no. You don’t need to join another play group. You don’t need to take on extra projects at work. You don’t need to enroll your children in three more extracurricular activities after school. If there is ever a time to say no in your life, having small children in your house is a good reason to. 

Find other mom friends who appreciate the importance of good company. And donuts. 

Don’t let the messes stop you from taking pictures. Who cares if there are mounds of dirty dishes and dust bunnies in the background of every picture. Take the shot and let your kids see what living really looked like in these busy years. When everything else was unkept but they were your everything. 

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For that matter, never stop inviting people over. Invite people into your home and then love on your family while they are there. Give people a tiny bit of hope that there are lots of good things in the world. #sharethelove

But seriously, if you’re waiting for the day when there aren’t tiny hand prints on your windows before you invite people over, then you should just wait until they’re in high school. 

Make sure your children know that you love them. Say it to them. Often. 

Love your spouse. And love on your spouse in front of your children. Cus when mommy and daddy love each other, the world makes a lot more sense to your children. 

Love your kids. Because you only have them for so long and you only have so much time to help them understand that you love them. And you only have so much time to enjoy ice cream on a Tuesday morning and bath time and midnight snuggles. So make it count, friends. 

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7 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned in Six Years of Parenting

  1. andthreetogo says:

    Love this so much!
    Also, just a strangle little side note, I have found that face paints from halloween are an awesome and easy replacement for washable markers (that are practically a fortune here), so I stock up. 🙂

    Like

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