I once read a quote. It went a little like this: “at the beginning of my career I had no kids and 12 principles; today I have 12 kids and no principle.” I was blessed with 4 relatively compliant children before I gave birth to 4 more. When I was having children in my 20s, I believed – clears throat with embarrassment — that my success in raising easygoing children was no-doubt related to my stellar parenting skills. What I lacked in skills, I made-up in youthful exuberance. Now that I have experience and some skills, I will readily admit that I have no clue. It’s true. My experience parenting is like the used children’s shoes in my basement: no matter how many I keep, I can never find a pair of the right size, at the right time, for the right season. Over the years, I have developed an expertise in each one of my children but here’s the catch: no matter how many children I had, they all came out as unique individuals. Never seen before and never to be repeated again. Isn’t human reproduction amazing that way? If 18 years of parenting has taught me anything, this is it: the lessons learned from raising this child are rarely applicable to raising that child. I still don’t know what I’m doing but I am more “zen” about it. Instead of seeing children as problems to solve, I see them as a puzzles to complete. I did not draw the picture, but with careful dedication I can help it come together.
When I think about my early years as a parent, it is often to eat back some pearl of wisdom with a generous serving of Humble Sauce. Gulp. Here are some of my gems.
“Children won’t draw on walls if they have access to paper.” Did you know that I spent the first 8 years of my life-with-children without a single drawing-on-walls incident? Then we sold a house and shortly before we moved my 3 year-old decorated a wall with black permanent marker. Now I have children who won’t draw on paper if they have access to a wall.
“I will never buy size 6 diapers.” Seems simple enough: if a child is big enough to wear size 6 diapers, he’s old enough to potty train. Right? Guess who just purchased a Costco-sized box of size 6 diapers for her nearly-3-year-old child? Take heart, all you parents of late potty-trainers for it turns out that potty-readiness is completely out of your hands. The good news is that accepting this simple fact will make potty-training a lot easier for everyone involved.
“I won’t let myself get fat.” When I was dating my now-husband, he came to visit me at my parents’ house on his motorcycle wearing his full-leather gear. I was in the pool at the time and we couldn’t resist the temptation to take a biker chick picture, him in his leather chaps, me in my bathing suit. I found out that I was pregnant shortly after and upon seeing the picture, my aunt – who had 4 children – said “Keep that picture because you’ll never look like this in a bathing suit ever again.” I declared that I would not let maternity ruin my body. Well guess what?? Maternity never asked my opinion. Maternity took my body and turned it upside down. It moved my organs around and re-shaped my pelvis to its liking. It not only packed-on pounds as it was growing 9 healthy humans, it refused to lose even one as it was busy feeding them. I ran and I dieted and I ran some more. I stretched and planked and even starved myself at some point. It never went down. I got sick, I de-calcified my teeth, but I never lost a single breastfeeding pound. Today, after my easiest pregnancy and a beautiful home birth, I am breastfeeding a 4 month-old and a 3 year-old and I weight as much as I did during my last week of twin pregnancy. I am 60 lbs heavier than I was on that infamous picture 18 years ago and my dress size has more than doubled, going from 6 to 14. I’m definitely bringing booty back. And boobs. And legs.
“If your child is old enough to ask for breast milk, he is too old to nurse.” Refer to previous paragraph about nursing a 3 year-old. She’s been old enough to ask for milk for almost 2 years. She can explain the difference between cow’s milk (milk in a cup) and breast milk (milk in the mouth). Heck, she can ask for milk in both official languages.
What about you? Did you know everything about parenting until you had kids? What pearls of wisdom are you eating back today? Share in the humble pie!
7 thoughts on “Parenting Quotes I’m Eating Back Today”
Ha! I am laughing and my husband is asking why. Not sure if I want to tell him, because this pretty much describes me, except we only have 6 littles so far. Literally, I have had bed rest, twins, and am presently potty training (or at least attempting to) a 3 year old boy. Oh, and funny how “maternity” didn’t ask my opinion about my body going back to “normal” either. Well, definitely in the “new normal” category here! Have a wonderful weekend. I’d love to hear some more of your thoughts on “completing puzzles” in our children. What a great analogy!
Oh, and pre-children, MY children were NEVER going to talk back or pitch fits in public. LOL! Yup, definitely eating some humble pie. Now I like to smile at the mom whose child is struggling in line at the grocery and try to give compliments instead of judging.
Awesome as usual. Pre kids, I would eat better, exercise all the time, have very little tv time, no junkfood, no mcd’s! I have caved on everything and like you, now weigh the same as I did while preggo with twins. Why? Because I couldn’t eat while pregnant , so post partum, I ate like I was breast feeding quads! Some regrets but also two gorgeous, funny, amazing kids that i am so lucky to have call me mummy!
I jokingly say, “I used to think I was a pretty good mom until number 4 and 5 came along.” Then life just gets crazy! 🙂
Ever watch the movie “Click?” He had a “tongue” after liposuction to lose an enormous amount of weight…I think I’ve scared some women into having no more children after showing them my “tongue” and flapping it around! I still remember the look of horror on my much younger sister-in-law’s face…http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+movie+click+liposuction&qs=n&form=QBVR&pq=the+movie+click+liposuction&sc=0-16&sp=-1&sk=#view=detail&mid=796D4E1BBEC628F5BCB0796D4E1BBEC628F5BCB0
Oh the flap! After twins, it’s the stuff of legends!!
Good news…after 8 years (even with 11 kids)…it has decreased to a more manageable level. I call these “scars” my war wounds – and bear them proudly! God is good!