I love Mackenzie’s observations which really encapsulate the highs and lows of parenthood, and all the reasons why we become parents time and time again, despite the numerous challenges that come along with the package. Fantastically upbeat and the perfect pick me up for a crazy week before Christmas, reading this it a bit like eating a rather glorious slice of cake – you might be feeling a bit beaten down before locking your chops around it, but afterwards you will be feeling giddy with cake loveliness! Now over to Mackenzie for some stellar parenting advice…
Parenting is awesome, it really is!
I mean look around and you may wonder why I would say that. Just go to the supermarket for example, and you are bound to see a toddler having some massive meltdown, stamping their tiny feet, all red in the face, screaming with tears and snot streaming towards their pouted lip!
Or for fun just head to a play centre and you may just see some poor parent crawling through a maze of tunnels to find their missing child, or heading up the stairs because their child is now too scared to go down that HUGE slide. Perhaps you might like a stop at a Macas to grab a bite to eat only to find some child melting down because they didn’t get the toy they wanted with their happy meal, or even worse they just discovered that the ice-cream machine has broken down on the hottest day of summer!
So OK let’s be real about it, parenting isn’t always moments of bliss like this . . .
or sibling love like this . . .
or moments of innocence like this . . .
…but it is not all moments of snotty noses and tantrums either. In fact it is actually pretty wonderful! Parenting is about highs and lows and plenty of in-betweens. There is no denying that for me parenting has made me swell with pride, made me laugh so hard that if it wasn’t for pelvic floor exercises I would have peed myself (hey I have had 3 babies).
It has broken my heart, it has made me want to run out of the house screaming (picture full on crazy lady here), it has made me learn more about myself than I ever thought possible and it has made me into the woman I am today (a bit like a Chocolate Brownie, I’m a little nutty, but also deliciously sweet and comforting).
So with all my (not so) wise wisdom after 11 years of parenting, or if you combine all ages, that’s 11 + 8 + 6 = 25 (hey I am bad at maths) wow that is 25 years of parenting experience and I still feel like a novice! Here are the five things I have learned over the past 11 years, that you need to be prepared for when you are a parent.
- Be prepared. Just when you think you can pat yourself on the back for having well behaved children they will go and do something that makes you want to deny you gave birth to them, let alone admit you raised them! Yep they are bound to have a public meltdown out of the blue, or talk back to you when you least expect it! But if you ask my 11 year old she probably wants to deny I am her mum sometimes too, (like when I sing in public, or drive into the school with my music up slightly too loud).
- Be prepared to paint the word Taxi Cab on your car, or on your forehead for that matter. You know that feeling you have when you get your drivers licence and you think “freedom” is yours! Well that all stops once you become a parent. It’s trips to playdates, parties, dance class, soccer, art class, music lessons, doctor visits, school, gymnastics, swimming . . .
Yep along with ‘the cool‘ car, it all becomes about getting you child/children safely from A to B, making sure the pram fits, along with all the groceries (and maybe some clothes shopping for their mother). And then when they start school it’s all about fitting in school bags, instruments, their friends and even the in-laws. Bye bye convertible, hello taxi cab.
3. Be prepared to cry! OK I will admit I am an emotional person, but seriously having a child makes you cry! It starts with the “oh my gosh I did it, I gave birth and she is healthy, we are both healthy (yes sore in a very private area), but we are alive and healthy and oh my gosh she is PERFECT, like really, really perfect!” Then this quickly morphs into the “oh my gosh I am so tired, how is it possible this perfect little person can sleep so little, and eat and poop so often? I need sleep!”
I have cried a lot over the last 11 years. I cried because I felt I had no idea what I was doing, I cried because they cried, I cried because they were so beautiful, I cried because I was so tired, or because I just wanted a shower. I cried over them being sick, when my son was hospitalised at 3 months I cried so hard I thought I would literally die! When I received their little handprints from kinder on Mothers Day I cried tears of joy! Yep sometimes they are just such amazing little people who do beautiful things and they make you cry tears of pride and joy.
4. Be prepared to become a lion. When my daughter cried for the first time I felt something I had never felt, an unexpected pain in the centre of my chest, and I knew she needed me. I suddenly realised that I was responsible for this precious little person, and that I had to protect her from all the possible bad things that could happen to her.
I also soon learnt that I couldn’t protect her from everything (somehow a toddler can still fall over and bang their head when you are standing right next to them). My son, although only 6, has demonstrated to me more than my girls that injuries occur no matter how hard I try to stop them! Although I am quite aware that I can not wrap them in cotton wool, it doesn’t mean I have stopped wishing I can!
5. Be prepared to laugh! Parenthood is awesome, kids are ridiculously funny and heaps of fun to be around. Let yourself embrace your own inner child! Yes parenting is stressful, and we do have to be a ‘responsible grown up‘, but we can also have loads of fun and play along the way!
Even if you are tired, or grumpy, put it aside and play with your kids. They really grow up fast, I know at times it doesn’t feel like that, but they do. Make wonderful memories with your kids. Our children say and do the funniest things, they radiate joy and their giggles are priceless. So be prepared to laugh like you have never laughed before!
So would I do it all again if I could go back to being fancy free? Absolutely I wouldn’t give up being a mother for anything, there really is nothing more exhaustingly wonderful in the whole world!