The Struggles of Parenting are real!!
Becoming a parent for the first time is exciting! It also can be a bit scary. Let’s face it, a baby does not come with an owner’s manual!
Soon after arriving home from the hospital with your new bundle of joy, the euphoria wears off and you are faced with the struggles of parenting.
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My first round with parenting
My first pregnancy was a little unplanned at the time. I was an unwed teenager still living with my parents. I had just graduated high school and had plans to go off to college. As the old saying goes “we plan and God laughs”. Meaning basically that God had different plans for me at that time.
Although it wasn’t what I had planned and I wasn’t sure I was ready to be a mom, it quickly became what I wanted. You can read more about this in my earlier post, “I Got One Thing Right”.
During this first pregnancy, I ran through an entire gamut of emotions. It is impossible to ever forget how I was anxious, then scared. I was happy and excited, but so unsure of everything. I had no idea what life as a mom was going to be like or what was ahead of me.
Finally, my gorgeous baby girl arrived. I was still living with my parents when we brought her home. Thankfully I had my mom to quickly teach me all the basics I needed to start facing the daily struggles of parenting.
By the time my daughter was almost two years old, I felt confident as a mom. She and I moved out of my parent’s house into a home of our own. Only two miles from my parents. I wasn’t that brave yet and didn’t want to be too far from my back-up.
Round two with my struggles of parenting
When my daughter was about to turn 4, I met a man and we were soon married. We were all very happy. I was very confident as a mom by now.
My husband and I decided we wanted another child before my daughter was much older. We began trying to conceive during our first year of marriage.
We were successful right away. My daughter was excited that she would become a big sister. Much to our surprise, by the third month of my pregnancy we discovered I was carrying twins!
My daughter wished for a baby sister. My husband wished for a son. They both got their wish when I delivered boy/girl twins.
Now the real struggles of parenting began
Having twins gave a whole new meaning to the phrases “terrible twos”, “double trouble” but most of all they were “double the pleasure” like the old Double Mint gum commercial.
With a young daughter and a set of newborn twins, my struggles of parenting became a new ballgame for me. Thankfully once again my mom was my hero!
Where would we be without our moms? They not only physically help with our children, but they are always ready and willing with advice and information when we need it.
Daily struggles of parenting
Once you become a parent your life basically is no longer yours. Let’s face it, you now have to think about someone other than yourself.
Sure you may never have been a selfish person that only thought of yourself. But now with this tiny human depending on you for their mere survival, it changes things.
These tiny humans have a lot of needs. They make a lot of demands from the moment they enter this world.
The struggles of parenting begin the moment you have your first child. These struggles will change with each stage of growth and maturity of your child(ren). You learn to adapt. Just as you get a routine down and think you’ve mastered it all, they change gears on you. Those little boogers are suddenly onto the next stage with all new struggles!
Adventure of parenthood
Those of you who are parents know exactly what I’m saying. For those of you who have not yet entered into this wonderful adventure of parenthood, I will list a few of the struggles of parenting:
- no more uninterrupted sleep. I cannot begin to guess how long it will be before you may get more than 5-6 hours to sleep at a time again. Learn to function on power naps.
- you may not ever wear clean wrinkle-free clothes again for at least 10 years.
- you will begin to feel lucky to run a brush through your hair and wash your face in the mornings. Forget actually styling your hair or wearing make-up every day.
- Forget having your own space or time to yourself. they will even follow you to the toilet.
- you may never be on time for anything ever again. Just to make it out the door and get to work/school on time every morning now you will need to set the alarm at least 2 hours earlier.
- you have suddenly become a nurse, healer, therapist, teacher, chauffeur, chef and general “go-to” person for everything these little people want or need. In their eyes/minds, you are expected to have the perfect solution to everything.
- you also become the police, jailer, and referee. If you have more than one child you will constantly be the referee and the judge. You have to be fair and non-biased. you must decide who was at fault even though you didn’t see the offense happen. Then you have to be the disciplinarian, set the punishment and see that it’s carried out. Even with one child, you have to set rules and boundaries. There must be consequences when they break the rules.
The list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. As I mentioned before, the struggles of parenting are forever changing. All children are different, they each have different personalities that makes things difficult. Even my twins were as different as daylight and dark.
Struggles of parenting teenagers
Your darling little humans are inevitably going to grow into teenagers. Undoubtedly these young people will have some degree of rebellion in them at this point.
It’s only natural that by the time your child(ren) hit puberty they are in the midst of finding themselves. They start wanting their independence. This is when every child will begin to test boundaries and limits.
Believe me when I say this stage will definitely test your patience and your limits beyond measure! This is not just the struggles of parenting at this point, this becomes a battle of power.
You will find that you want to allow them a little more freedom as they get older. They may even deserve it as long as they are trustworthy and doing well in school. However, you must keep in mind they are still kids and you are still the parent.
Do not get too friendly with your child(ren) just yet. They must still respect you as their parent and follow your rules.
Parenting my adult children
My children are all grown and my daughters each have children of their own. My struggles of parenting should be over and done.
Sadly parenting adult children is just another stage with different struggles. At this stage, I had to learn how to become friends with my children more than a parent.
This can sometimes be more difficult than it sounds. If you raise your child(ren) well, then by the time they are grown they will be well-equipped confident young adults that are capable of a good life on their own. As parents, this is our end goal. We raise them the best way we know how with hopes they can go out into the world and live a happy, productive life. We always want an even better life for them, than what we had for ourselves.
Can’t turn off my parenting switch
However, no matter how well we raise them, or how confident we are in their ability to go out on their own our parenting doesn’t just flip to off like a light switch on their 18th birthday.
This young adult has been your main priority from the moment they entered this world. Never in their life have you not been responsible for them. How do you just turn that off instantly? As much as they are ready to be an adult, they will always be your child. Not a child as in not capable to be an adult, but just your child that you have raised.
How do you go from parent to friend?
I’ve found that you may have to work at this. Like every other stage, each child is different. Every relationship is different.
As a parent, I believe what you need to achieve is being able to give your advice in a way you would to a friend. We may never be able to completely refrain from giving advice to our child(ren) even when they are grown. So try not to tell them what they need to do but instead try telling them what you would do in the same situation.
When your need to give them too much advice gets the better of you, then you need to learn to apologize very quickly for butting into their business.
Enjoying friendships with my adult children
I think I’ve finally mastered friendship with all three of my children now. My youngest daughter and I struggled for a while. She and her two sons lived me for a time. I helped with her boys and kept them while she was at work. Of course, I was Granny, but while living with me I also became the other disciplinarian. This is a very difficult situation. Grandmothers do not enjoy disciplining the babies. We like spoiling them. I had a very difficult time finding that balance.
I also had a hard time keeping my mouth shut when my daughter was home. Again I can’t turn things off like a light switch. When I had been taking care of the boys all day, and disciplining them, then I couldn’t just stop once she was home. This caused friction between my daughter and I because it made her feel like I didn’t think she was capable of being a good mother. She remarried earlier this year and I feel our relationship has greatly improved! I can be just Granny, she can be the great mom she’s always been and we are best friends!
My oldest daughter has been married for ten years. She calls to talk about anything and everything. She always calls me for advice almost immediately anytime her daughter is sick or hurt. Me being a retired nurse I ask her full range of questions regarding what’s going on with my granddaughter. Then I give her my opinion/advice accordingly. Afterward, my daughter will then say that is exactly what she thought I’d say. She just needed to hear my voice and hear me confirm it for her. My voice calms her anxiety. She too is my best friend.
My son is my friend also but we have a completely different type of relationship than I have with my girls. He is a very independent guy. He’s married but doesn’t have kids yet. He works a lot, so we don’t see each other often. But he always takes time to message or call to let me know he’s thinking of me. Sometimes just to say he loves me. I do the same with him. I’m very proud of the grown man that is my baby boy.
No longer facing the struggles of parenting.
At the risk of sounding boastful, I am very proud of all my children and the wonderful adults they have grown up to become even though they will always be my babies. I just have to remember not to treat them like babies.
Now I’ve found the balance of being a parent and a friend with my adult children. This is a wonderful stage we are in now. We enjoy so many things together.
Parenting these three amazing humans has been the most glorious journey. It has been one big adventure made of many small adventures. I am so thankful that we have made it to this point of continuing to enjoy this grand adventure without so many struggles. I must admit it is rather fun watching as my daughters are now facing the struggles of parenting.
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Until next time,