I once wrote on my blog if there is one thing I can say for sure about the school of parenting is that class is always in session. This is something I still firmly believe. The past five and a half years of motherhood has been nothing but ongoing learning experiences for me. I have learned a lot, though I can definitely say I am no expert! There are days that I still feel quite lost and unsure what to do, but I will say that I think I have gained some parenting wisdom already. At this point in my motherhood journey I believe that this following list is the most valuable parenting lessons I have learned so far.
The Top 5 Things I’ve Learned About Parenthood
There is absolutely no way you can prepare yourself for parenthood. You can read dozens of books, talk to every parent you know or acquire countless advice from experts; it all won’t matter because every child and parent is different and no two parenting scenarios are the same. You will never be prepared for the sleep deprivation, the lack of privacy your children give you or the constant trial and error that comes with learning your role as mom or dad. You will never be prepared for the feelings of uncertainty, frustration, helplessness, sadness, happiness, hope, fear, confusion, joy, guilt, gratitude…oh, the list goes on and sometimes you feel it all in one day! You will never be prepared for how being a parent changes you; the way you think, the way you make decisions, the way you prioritize and the way you see the world.Parenthood changes a marriage. And I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way, but I can honestly say that having kids has changed my relationship with my husband. It has brought us closer and strengthened our bond, but there are also times that being parents have made our life as a couple challenging. It’s not always easy to find quality time to spend together as sometimes our hectic family and work life can get in the way. But we always try to steal moments to hang out, talk or watch a favourite show or movie together, and we plan date nights at least once a month. Becoming parents has changed us as individuals and in turn changed our relationship. Watching our relationship grow and develop has been just as interesting as watching our children do the same. And the best part is we are taking this journey together.Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done. As parents we are constantly learning and continually facing challenges along the way. I discovered this fairly early on, within the first week of my son’s life. My first challenge as a mom was breastfeeding. Before my son was born I did not even worry about breastfeeding. I figured I would do it and that was that. But then my son was born and from day one there were problems. Latching and milk supply were the culprits and I tried as hard as I could to make it work. We faced those problems for one month before I made the difficult decision to stop trying. I never imagined breastfeeding would be so challenging and I never expected the result of choosing not to do it. I felt extreme guilt, shame and a deep sadness for a very long time, which led to post-partum depression and anxiety. It was a long and difficult journey I went on and probably the hardest thing I’ve experienced as a mother thus far. Over the years there have been other challenging moments, and of course some that came more easily and naturally.Being a mother may not always be easy, but it certainly has some pretty awesome rewards! There is nothing like having my kids wrap their arms around me and hearing them say “I love you Mommy” or listening to them laugh at silly jokes or when being tickled. I love watching them get creative or using their imagination when they play. And there is so much pride in witnessing them learn new things, become more independent and develop their own uniquely wonderful personality. But the best part, for me at least, is the sweet moments – the snuggles on the couch while watching a favourite show, the tender kisses at bedtime or hearing “I missed you Mama” after a long day at work. Raising my children, as hard as it may be sometimes, brings me a kind of joy I didn’t know existed until I became a mom.The most important thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is this: there is nothing quite like the love a mother or father has for their child. It is the truest, most pure love that I know. There are moments that I look at my son or daughter and my heart just feels so full with love for them that I think I might burst! The love my children and I share is the greatest gift I will ever have.