If You Aren’t the Parent You Thought You Would Be……

I had great expectations for who I would be as a parent. The list ran like this: 

1) I thought I would be a stay at home mom. 

2) I thought we would have a big family with lots of kids. 

3) I thought those kids would magically behave. 

4) We thought we would start having kids a year or so after we got married. 

5) We expected to discipline a certain way. 

And so on….. I had a long list of assumptions about parenting. I honestly had no idea what I was talking about. My husband and I have now been married for nearly nine years. 

I’ve worked most of that. We were blessed with a very social little boy. We realized that he craved social interaction with other kids. He wanted to learn and play. When he was eighteen months old, we realized that for his sake, I would go back to work and pay for him to go to preschool. I had gone back to work briefly when he was twelve weeks to teach through a summer session, but this was full time, every day. It was what he needed. We adapted to that. 

I thought we would have a lot of kids. When we first were dating we talked about five or so. We hadn’t counted on how infertility, miscarriages and complications in pregnancy would change that. We had no idea the raw emotions those factors would bring, nor how our perspectives would change after we had one. We didn’t realize how difficult the toddler years would be, nor that maybe we liked the idea of lots of kids a lot more than we were prepared for the real thing. Ten years later, with two kids and a surgical decision to have no more done, we look back at those early hopes and wonder how naive we were. I wonder sometimes how different things would be if having kids had been easy. 

I thought with the right strategy, kids would magically behave. They don’t. Instead I realized some things about myself, my desires for order, and my more introverted nature. Out of that, we realized that our expectations for how kids should even behave were off, and unrealistic, and probably not even good for either us or our kids. 

We thought we’d wait a year and then start trying – but a year quickly became two and we weren’t ready. Then it became five and half when infertility took its toll. We thought we would have our kids closer together, but an unplanned c-section forcing us to put off trying again for at least a year and then a string of miscarriages there are three years between our kids. And at that point – with a healthy baby girl and a toddler boy, we realized we were just done. Of eight and a half years of marriage, six of those were spent trying to get pregnant and stay pregnant. Neither of those turned out to be easy. Both pregnancies were hard and complicated, and the doctors told us the older I got, the more likely they would get more complicated rather than staying the same. 

We expected I think to follow more conventional discipline. Instead when it got down to it we realized right away that spanking just wasn’t for us. We began searching for alternatives and found more of who we are as parents. 

It’s different than what we expected. It’s not who we had planned to be. It’s okay to change your minds and direction when parenting. It’s okay if nothing looks the way you thought it would from a few years before. We all grow and change and the process of that change is good. 

But it’s better this way. It just took us a while to realize that. 

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