Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Parenting in 3 Words

Good morning everyone!

I was recently asked a question that caught me a little off guard. This question was not uncomfortable or too personal, but somehow it began to be difficult to answer. Not only because I didn't want to say the wrong answer, but because at first, I didn't know how to answer. Quite frankly, there was no right or wrong answer to this question. It was more about my perspective and personal experience more than anything. My opinions and feelings.

The question: If you could describe parenting in 3 words, what would they be?

I'm sure now as you're reading this, a MILLION words are flying through your head. Some you are eager to blurt out and some you may be a little reluctant to admit to. However, I came to realize that as I asked this question of my family, friends, strangers; I got similar answers from most, but also very different answer from some.

What it all boils down to is your personal experience. We all know that we're all different in many ways and parenting is one of them. Some parents struggle with financial burdens, others with a special needs child, and some parents seem like they have it all together 100% of the time. At the end of the day, whether some of us would like to admit it or not, we all struggle in some way. That is why trying to answer this question in the matter of a minute is difficult for most.

I suppose it may have been easier to answer on a day where both of my kids didn't wake up in the middle of the night the night before or if I didn't just have a life changing event like the birth of my second child which lead to having days of folded laundry piled up on my kitchen counter just waiting to be put away. It may have also been easier if I was asked on a day that my my kids napped at the same time or not on a day where when one wasn't needing something, the other one was; but this wasn't one of those days. To be honest, I think I may have had only one day where things ran that smoothly. So it's ok to say parenting is hard or exhausting or stressful or anything that any human who isn't a parent may scold you for. At the end of the day, you're the parent to your children and you decide how to parent and what parenting is to you; nobody else. Nobody knows your struggles or your daily agenda. They don't live your life day in and day out like you do. They may see a tantrum being thrown one day and a warm embrace followed by an "I love you mommy" on another. That is why this question is almost nearly impossible to answer if you don't really take a while to sit and think your answer through.

However, I felt the need to try. So I pondered and I still ponder from time to time, but these are the 3 words that best describe parenting for ME.

CHALLENGING: Parenting isn't easy, we all know that. If anyone tells you it is, they're either lying or delusional. There is nothing easy about a newborn with acid reflux, an infant who spent multiple times in the hospital (including the PICU) struggling with asthma, or potty training a very stubborn 2 1/2 year old boy; three of the many challenges that I have faced during my journey of parenting. But at the end of the day, parenting is REWARDING. By rewarding I mean; fun, full of smiles & laughing, heart warming experiences, and very proud moments. Parenting isn't all stress and worry. Parenting is happiness and filled with love. The first time your child says "mama" or "dada" or "I love you" are some of the best feelings in the world. You're proud, you're happy, you're emotional, but most importantly, you feel complete. But by far, the most fitting word/phrase for me to describe parenting is LIFE-CHANGING. This basically sums up everything I have already said and more! There is nothing in this world that can prepare you for parenthood. This is why I rarely find myself asking a pregnant woman "are you ready to have a baby?" Of course they're not ready, they'll never be ready. They may think they're ready, but you're never really ready until you're in it. I do however tell them not to worry. I tell them that the second they lay their eyes on their child, they know what to do. Parental instincts set in. I share my thoughts, opinions, and experiences so that they know some of the things they may face, but every child is different and every parent is different.

Parenting is unpredictable just like life. It's ok to be wrong and it's ok to feel defeated at times. Nobody is perfect and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. It's best to embrace it for what it is and enjoy the ride. It's an emotional, messy, stressful, busy, but fun, enjoyable and amazing journey!

So I ask you, if you would like to play, how would you describe parenting in 3 words? Ask your partner, your friends, your family, your own mother. It makes for an awesome topic of conversation and more often than not, makes you feel better about your own parenting experiences because you realize you're not alone on this journey.

After all, it's our kids' world and we just live in it. Have a great day everyone! :)

Xoxo, Alexandra


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