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Parenting Lessons I'm Still Learning
If someone would have told me almost 8 years into this parenting gig, and 3 children later, that I’d still be learning things as I go, I would have said “no way.” Certainly after 8 years on the job all that experience would have meant that I had the job down pat and could do it with my eyes closed, right? Having come from a professional background, I speak from experience that there’s very rarely any job you can’t learn to do well and with near perfection after 8 years. But parenting, and mothering, oh how you are so tricky! Always throwing new challenges our way as the children reach a new stage or milestone. Here’s the latest set of lessons that I’m finally learning, a bit late. But better late than never right? Let me tell you a little story.
Last Saturday my husband and I had a date set for the kid’s school auction. Not the most romantic of dates planned in the history of marriage, but we knew we would have a fun time with friends and were looking forward to just being out. We also had our niece’s birthday party that day. We figured that an hour between events would be enough time to get home, get the kids packed up for an evening at grandma’s, dropped off and get ourselves ready as well.
Lesson #1: Things ALWAYS take longer than anticipated, especially with kids! I am still learning this and wonder if I’ll ever have timing down to a science with them.
The kids ended up really wanting to stay longer than we anticipated, especially because they rarely get to see their cousin. We caved and stayed when we should have said no and went home to start getting ready. Which brings me to…
Lesson #2: Don’t let parental guilt swallow you up. If you have a plan, don’t be afraid to stick to it and tell the kids no, even if it will cause waves. By trying to keep the kids happy, we ended up making ourselves frantic.
We finally left the party and were on our way home, when we decided that husband really needed a new sport coat. We figured we could swing by a store directly on the way home and pick one up, no problem.
Lesson #3: Don’t throw wrenches into your plans at the last minute. Why? Because (see lesson #1), things ALWAYS take longer than anticipated, especially with kids! We weren’t in fact able to “just pick one up” and drive on home. It took much longer than we thought and all in all, took about 45 minutes out of our already very short window of opportunity to get ready.
So jump ahead a bit, and we finally got husband a new sport coat and he’s going to look very handsome on our date. Now, we get the kids settled in at Grandma’s and are on our way to go home and get ready ourselves. We both get ready at break neck speed and are showered, dressed, hair combed and out the door in about 45 minutes. I tell my husband I’ll just put my makeup in the car, no problem. Because I always put my makeup on in the car! I’ve got this.
So picture this, I am wearing a shorter-than-usual, all-over-sequined dress with 4-inch heels, and sitting in the passenger seat applying my makeup as fast as humanly possible. As I’m applying my makeup, I reach into my makeup bag and as I pull one item out, several more tumble out and slide across my lap and land between my seat and the passenger door, out of my reach. We’re at a stop light so I open the door to gain better access to the makeup, and of course the makeup then all falls out, on the ground, in the middle of an intersection.
I jump out of the car because I can’t possibly leave some of my favorite makeup items abandoned in the road. As soon as I jump out I hear my husband yelling at me “get back in the car! The light is about to turn green! What are you doing?!?” I shuffle around and pick up my makeup, in my short dress and high heels, and as I go to grab the last item, my favorite under eye concealer, I push it further out of my reach and underneath the car. Inside my head I’m yelling “Noooooo!!!!” And outside my head, my husband is very loudly yelling “Get back in the car you crazy woman!”
I jump back in the car, out of breath, hands shaking and tell him I lost my favorite concealer. He just looks at me and shakes his head. Which brings me to…
Lesson #4: Always get ready first, before the kids. And at home!
If I would have been thinking better I should have had my husband drop me off first and sent the baby with a bottle, instead of trying to hurry and nurse him first, and let him drop them off at Grandma’s so I could have got ready at a much less frantic pace. My husband could have then got ready because men only take 15 minutes anyhow.
It all worked out even though we were an hour late to the event, but the bottom line is, I still need to learn to say no, plan ahead and don’t take on too much as a mom of 3. I want to please everyone and still expect everything to work out and be perfect and that just isn’t feasible. And I need to allow time for myself to get ready, because of momma is frantic and isn’t taking care of herself, it all starts to fall apart a bit.
So what lessons are you still learning as a mom?