Wednesday, March 4, 2020

30 Lessons from 15 Years of Parenting

To date, I have six kids ranging in age from 3 to 15, and believe me when I say I know a lot more than when I started.

Besides being married and feeding myself, there aren't many other activities I've been actively engaged in for 15 years, so I was bound to learn a few things.



After fifteen years, here's what I know about raising humans, from fun size to (almost) full size.

1. If you think you know what you're doing as a parent, you don't have enough kids. Keep going and you'll get one who proves you wrong.

2. It's not just toddlers who are exasperating. At every age, your kids can regularly make you want to stick your head in the oven.

3. Do things the way they work for your family, even if they're not the way everyone else does them. (Seriously, have the kids sleep in tomorrow's clean clothes or trade rooms so they get the master bedroom if that's what makes sense for your family. There really are no rules.)

4. Kids will try to hang from anything. A drywall patch kit makes a lovely and practical baby shower gift for clueless new parents.

5. You'll forget how hard it was after your kids aren't little anymore. You think you won't, but you do.

6. After you have children, 'tired' becomes your personality. By the time they finally learn to sleep through the night, you will have forgotten how.

7. For the love of all that's holy, make your kids work a lot at home. You are not the maid.

Okay, but maybe don't start this young.

8. Parenting is mostly like being a triage nurse.

9. If you have to get something done but the kids are in your hair, give them 5 minutes of your undivided attention first. They'll be satisfied for an hour and you'll accomplish much more in the end, I promise.

10. One of the best feelings in the world is being needed. The other best feeling, if you're a parent, is occasionally not being needed.

11. When you have teenagers, the eye-rolling goes both ways.

12. Sex talks and discussions about body parts/functions aren't awkward if you start talking when your kids are really young.

13. Nothing smells as good as a newborn baby's head.

14. You don't know what's cool now and even if you did, you wouldn't understand it. If your 13-year-old tells you everyone at school is drawing on clown eyebrows and wearing their underwear outside of their pants, just say 'okay' and try not to think about it too much.

You won't get how they talk, either.

15. Having charts and systems is so worth the effort. It's hard when they're young but it pays off a hundredfold.

16. You don't have to be a good mom in the same way that so-and-so is a good mom. We all have different strengths as parents and that's okay.

17. If your kids' room is always messy, they probably just have too much stuff. Same goes for your house.

18. Teenagers have a way of making you realize it really isn't so bad having someone so in love with you they'll fight to sit on your lap while you use the toilet. (Possibly see #5.)

There is no way not to miss this when they're older.

19. Your younger kids will be raised in the family minivan.

20. Your kids may be a little weird, but they take their weirdness to a whole new level when you introduce them to people you'd like to impress.

21. If there's a dumb YouTube video out there, your kids will find it.

22. Teenagers come alive and suddenly get chatty just when you're ready to collapse into bed at night.

23. If you don't really expect your kids to behave in public, listen to you, or get along with each other, they probably won't.

24. Time is weird in parenting. It's impossible to look at your baby and think "this creature will one day be picking up milk at the store for me on her way home from work," but it's almost equally impossible to watch your high school student writing a research paper and really feel like he's the same person whose favorite activity was finding things in the carpet and sucking on your keys. 

25. Take pictures. And while you're at it, write down the cute stuff your kids say.

Just a 5-year-old showing his younger brother how to escape from prison.

26. They changed math since you were in school. No, really. They changed it. You literally cannot help your second grader with his homework now.

27. Making silly sound effects while you're folding laundry is the main ingredient for a toddler's Best Day Ever. As they get older, kids are significantly harder to impress.

28. The younger the child, the better s/he is at locking you out of your phone.

29. Do everything you can to foster good sibling relationships among your kids. They will outlive you, and hopefully so will their friendships with each other.

30. It's best not knowing what's under the seats in the last row of the minivan.

My oldest child hasn't even turned 16 yet, and I've heard that's when things get real. So I fully expect to keep learning, and you should probably expect a post like this one in another five years.

If you liked this post, make sure to check out 29 Things I've Learned in Ten Years of Parenting!

Motherhood involves a lot of on-the-job training (actually, it’s exclusively on-the-job training,) and in the last 15 years I’ve learned a lot of lessons about parenting from my six kids. Part  funny and part insightful parenting tips, this list contains everything I know about raising kids through the baby, toddler, tweenage, and teenage years. #family #parenting #parentinghumor #kids #funny #unremarkablefiles
Motherhood involves a lot of on-the-job training (actually, it’s exclusively on-the-job training,) and in the last 15 years I’ve learned a lot of lessons about parenting from my six kids. Part  funny and part insightful parenting tips, this list contains everything I know about raising kids through the baby, toddler, tweenage, and teenage years. #family #parenting #parentinghumor #kids #funny #unremarkablefiles
Motherhood involves a lot of on-the-job training (actually, it’s exclusively on-the-job training,) and in the last 15 years I’ve learned a lot of lessons about parenting from my six kids. Part  funny and part insightful parenting tips, this list contains everything I know about raising kids through the baby, toddler, tweenage, and teenage years. #family #parenting #parentinghumor #kids #funny #unremarkablefiles
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3 comments:

PurpleSlob said...

The having company when you're on the toilet thing even extends to grandparents!
Math-ugh! It was hard enough already! Why did they go and change it?? When are they gonna change the Alphabet now??
As a grandmother, I'm still learning!!

Mom of Six said...

I wish we would have been given a drywall kit for our baby shower!!! That really would be practical. Also, #1 can't be stressed enough. Great list.

PurpleSlob said...

I mention you. http://www.purpleslobinrecovery.com/2020/03/6856/