...a way of seeing beyond inner and outer.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Things they don't tell you about being a parent:

  1. You'll never sleep the same way again. Oh they tell you that you won't sleep for several months, but they don't tell you the whole truth. Before children, you can sleep through anything.  After children, and that's "forever after", as in after the children have all left the house to lives of their own, you'll sleep with at least 3/4 of your brain listening for someone who needs you, including the two twenty somethings having an argument a block away at one in the morning on any given Friday.  The children need me! must! wake! up! And for the record, it's the kind of wake.up. that suggests someone mainlined three cups of coffee into your bloodstream five minutes before your eyes pop open. Yeah.. you're gonna be awake a while.
  2. You come to understand struggle is a gift because it's a master teacher.  Before children you get irritated a lot about things that aren't happening as fast, as easily, as muchly as you'd like and about the people who AREN'T HELPING YOU!!!!!  After children, you spend a lot of time biting your lip and only looking at what they're doing with the 1/4 of your brain that gets sleep while they struggle to accomplish something because you know it will make them stronger.  Dang this is hard.. and it only get's harder.  Wait until they move out. Yikes large but shut up.
  3. Suffering in untenable situations teaches your children to do the same thing.  Before children you might find reasons to convince yourself it's noble to put up with the horrible job, the abusive relationship, the insanity of martyrdom.  After children, you see someone you care about very deeply repeat this pattern and you realize you have to see yourself as "deserving" or you will inadvertently squelch the thing they were born with that constantly tells them how beautiful and perfect they are.   Fix this.  Soon.
  4. Your children will eventually be much smarter than you.
  5. Being a good parent is like being a good teacher, you become less and less necessary and it's not always cause for celebration.   My daughter moved to Seattle to go to school last year and didn't come home for the holidays this year because she really really wanted to spend time playing in the snow with her friends.  I guess this makes me a good parent.
  6. You can pat yourself on the back and be sad at the same time.  


  1. "After children, you see someone you care about very deeply repeat this pattern and you realize you have to see yourself as "deserving" or you will inadvertently squelch the thing they were born with that constantly tells them how beautiful and perfect they are."

    This is SO important, and I love how you phrased it. Thanks! :)

    (here from ICLW, btw!)

  2. There are LOTS of things they don't tell you about being a parent, or about how you might feel.

    I found this quote last week and it really resonates with my parenting experience.

    “Behind the story I tell is the one I don’t… Behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear.”—Dorothy Allison

    I wandered over via ICLW too!

  3. Wise words, only learned by many when habits are so ingrained that they can't be unlearned very easily, especially about the martyrdom that many women take on.

    May I add something I have learned since becoming a parent? That not everyone has to like me, what I say or what I do. I spent many years trying to please so many other people that I rarely pleased myself. I am teaching my children that it's okay if someone doesn't like them, because there will be people they encounter who they won't particularly like. They should focus on developing themselves and relationships with the people who really matter to them.

    Lisa (ICLW #21 - Your Great Life)

  4. Shannon,
    It's funny how some of the best things we can do for our children is to get our own head straight so we can get out of their natural way.

  5. Jess,
    it is a bit frustrating trying to get a story out there and you find the only tool you have, words, keep getting in the dang way!
    If you meander back this way, I'd like to know more about that quote and what it helped you see. I'm a big believer is replacement messages for the nonsense that goes on inside our heads.

  6. Lisa,
    That is a huge lesson and think almost without exception it's not "you" they don't like. It's themselves. You've inspired a post so I owe you one!

  7. My girls are just about to turn one. Such wise words from someone who has been there. Thank you.

  8. Ah Julia,
    There's so much to tell and none of it important other than this: Your children are perfect. They came that way and so did you. That's the only "lesson" anyone needs. The rest is just patience and conviction that the above is true.


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