What They Don’t Tell You… Parenting Over the Years

What They Don't Tell You - Parenting Over the Years

 

“Mom, what does @$*%!^ mean?”

 

I held a steady poker face to cover the horror that gripped my heart as I listened to the words that my curious fifth grader had overheard at school.

 

Uhhh… Wow… Ummm…

 

I did the best I could to answer his questions, explain why such a word can cause so much hurt, and warn why it would never be acceptable to use it.

 

Later I wrapped my arms around my little man-in-training, and felt him return my goodnight hug.

 

“Thank you for talking to me, Mom. I love you.”

 

I ruffled his hair and sent him to bed before I collapsed back on the couch, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I had reassured him that he could always come to me with his questions, but I was silently cursing the parenting books that I’d read cover-to-cover twelve years ago as I prepared to become a mother. They never mentioned anything like this. 

 

Sure, everyone knows that the first year is going to be rough, and that the terrible twos can get dicey, but no one tells you that parenting just keeps getting harder and harder with each passing birthday party. I’m no longer worried that my little guys will put something in their mouths, stick a chubby little finger into an outlet, or tumble down the stairs. Now I get to worry about swear words, girls, peer pressure, social media, and Middle School.

 

Oh goody.

 

Makes me wish we could go back to when my boys were little and I spent my days just trying to keep them from killing themselves!

 

A dear friend recently gave me a copy of Lisa-Jo Baker’s touching story, Surprised by Motherhood. As I read each chapter her words took me back to those early days of being a mommy, and I started to remember a few surprising things that the What to Expect books left out…

 

You will never sleep again.

Bad dreams, croupy coughs, stubborn fevers, sleepwalking, and burning the midnight oil while you make four dozen school treats all get in the way of sleeping through the night.

 

You’ll discover how selfish you really are.

I love my boys more than life itself, but sometimes I want to eat the last cookie. I’m definitely not a morning person. And I’d rather have a root canal than listen to them explain anything Minecraft.

 

They will eat you out of house and home from now until forever.

Speaking of cookies, and food in general, be prepared for them to eat it all like a plague of locusts devouring everything in sight. I just realized that in a few short years, we will have THREE teenage boys in our house. Hold me.

 

Someday you’ll have THE TALK with your child.

If this one doesn’t put the fear of God in you, nothing will. Looking into their eyes while you explain the science of how babies are made is not for the faint of heart. Your breathing will become rapid and shallow, you will experience dizziness, there will be profuse sweating, and you will speak higher and faster than normal, but try your hardest to postpone your panic attack until after the big talk.

 

I had mistakenly thought that I was prepared for life as a mom. All of those years ago I read up on how to properly care for my baby. I studied swaddling diagrams. I weighed the pros and cons of crying it out vs. nursing on demand. I was a parenting expert before I had kids… And then I became a mother and realized that I didn’t know anything.

 

Those darn What to Expect books forgot to mention several other important things as well…

 

The journey.

Experiencing the world through the eyes of your child is an incredible gift. You get to discover dandelions and ladybugs and puppies and rainbows all over again. The world is such a magical place, if we will only pause long enough to see its beauty again for the first time through their wondering eyes.

 

The pain.

Having a child is like ripping your heart out of your chest and sending it out alone into the world. Their joy is your joy. Their hurts are your hurts. You will want to shield them forever from the pain, injustice, and darkness of this life – but what they really need is for you to take their little hands and guide them through it.

 

The LOVE.

The amount of love that you will feel for the precious gifts who are entrusted to you is undefinable, unmeasurable, and infinitely beyond what you had ever imagined.

 

I wasn’t prepared for this. I wish the books had warned me. But then again, I wouldn’t trade this adventure, and even the surprises along the way, for anything in the world.

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Written by ginger


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9 Comments
  • JcCee Watkins Barney says:

    I can definitely relate. I am still struggling with the thought of mines going out into the world when they get grown but I know that they will have to go so I try to teach them as much as I can and I will definitely be there in their times of need.

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m expecting my first child this summer and I want to be a good mother but I also have to remember that I can’t possibly prepare for everything!

  • Sagan says:

    I think this is one of our fundamental flaws in society – there is so much that goes into being a parent that (I think) a lot of people don’t REALIZE before getting into it (no matter how much they don’t regret it after they become parents). And also part of why I’m childless by choice 🙂

    So good that you’re sharing this!

  • Tee says:

    Oh…I am so dreading “the talk” when the time comes. I can only imagine how things get tougher as the kids get older. The beginning is all about dealing with the continuous “lack of sleep” that we’ve never ever experienced prior to having a baby. The rest comes with all the worries that go along with making sure they make good choices in life. As hard as it is to be a parent, I also wouldn’t trade anything for this adventure either. Nice post.

  • Tami says:

    Parenting is such hard work but with it comes such great reward. Love your post.

  • Andrea B. says:

    I love this. It’s fantastic. Thank you for sharing over at my FB page and I’ll be doing so, as well. It’s so true – so great – and I think I need that book, I keep seeing it everywhere and I’m in a mom-book reading groove right now.

    And all of this? Yep. SO much truth. It’s crazy how it all happens and we’re like, what on earth? And then the love swells and it’s all kind of okay. Even if we don’t wanna play Minecraft or share cookies. 😉

  • Beautiful post! I have a 4th grader and we have those conversations a lot….. yikes!

  • So funny. I’ve spent the majority of today listening to minecraft information, being shown how to smelt on minecraft, and breaking up arguments (not about minecraft, mostly you’ve stepped on my foot type of squabbles). Being a mom is wonderful.

  • Thank you for linking up at #JoyHopeLive

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I’m Ginger ~
I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.
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