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Reading Between the Lines

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It pays to have manners

When people speak about parenting, there are things they never mention. Things that most of us keep guiltily in the depth of our hearts, for fear of being judged or for fear of being the only one that feels this way; which is rarely the case.

You will pour your heart and soul into these tiny beings and your heart will break on a near daily basis for one reason or another. You will worry and obsess more about so many things that have never crossed your mind before. Everything from the ingredients in the food to terrible disaster our minds conjure up as parents, never mind we were little hellions ourselves growing up and survived just fine. It will be the most important and most (for the most part) thankless task you will ever undertake.

Having children doesn’t change certain parts of us. We don’t magically become these holy selfless beings. Tell the truth to your friends and encourage them. That little selfish part of us that wants a nap, or a bath or some time to ourselves will always be there, it is only¬† when we make ourselves or others ashamed of our needs that it becomes something ugly and hidden. It takes a daily act of will, strength of character to continuously put another’s needs before your own and sometimes at the expense of your own. We will fail, not because we are terrible people or parents, but because we are still human. Teaching our children how to humbly handle being wrong is a more important skill than we realize. I honestly can’t remember once my mother apologized to me as a child, and few as an adult.

It isn’t all nose to the grindstone. You will have moments of blinding joy. Moments that your heart threatens to burst from your chest from the sheer beauty of it. You will miss the dependance more than you know once they start growing apart from you. The sheer irony of our job is to teach them to be free of us, to think and function for themselves and then we tend to sabotage their attempt because we still want to protect them, we have a hard time letting go. This is the age though where you get some of you back again. When they are learning self-reliance and responsibility, let them be independent. Set the rules and guidelines and then trust them enough to nap with your door open. Kids blossom when they feel that praise and trust, even the toughest nut can be cracked by the right combination of rules and rewards. Even though that letting go process is bittersweet and painful, the grace with which you handle it or the lack thereof will affect your child forever so be mindful.

Any parent that won’t admit to messing up or not once has had to apologize to their child is either A) A liar B)A blissful first-time parent of a newborn C)A Stepford Spouse or D)A secret descendant of Yoda and you must teach me the ways of the force.

Seriously though, it never crossed my mind to wonder if my mother ever had moments when she (as is totally human) felt resentment for my attitude and stubbornness as a teenager and on into my early twenties. Is my now 13 year old son standing on the cusp of us engaging in the same age old battle for individuality? Does finding your own place in the world have to always be so painful to you and those around you? Or is there some other way to comfortably bridge that gap?

This parenting gig is rough! They should be born with warning labels and tiny manuals strapped to their little bottoms! Let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Until we meet again my friends, stay safe and be blessed!