I am participating once again in the blog hop hosted by Mardra Sikora, a local Downs Syndrome advocate and I love her blog! You can read her original post for this blog hop here.
When posed with the question of “When was the unexpected better than what you expected?” the obvious answer for me was Motherhood. It is full of the unexpected!
Becoming a parent
Strange how I can barely imagine what my life was like before having children. I mean we went to movies a lot more and stayed up later, but other than that I really can’t remember how our lives were different. I’d like to think it’s because having children makes everything more colorful, fun, tiring, difficult, and fulfilling. The most overwhelming emotion I had after having my first child, was right after we got home from the hospital. The hubby had to run to the store for diapers or something and I had a complete breakdown because the realization that I was responsible for this little life suddenly overwhelmed me. I didn’t have the doctor, nurses, and lactation consultant telling me what to do anymore. I read all the books, but none of them prepared me for that.
Will I be like my parents?
We all have something our parents did or said that we HATE. I remember quite frequently as a child thinking “I’m never going to do that to my kids!” I did not want to be like my parents in any way. Yet I hear my mother’s voice (and even my grandmother’s) especially when I’m disciplining my children. Yep, I think it’s inevitable. You will in some way, big or small, do something that you suddenly realize your parents did or said to you.
Listening to your intuition
I’ve always followed my intuition, gut feeling, letting your guardian angels guide you, or whatever you want to call it. I can’t tell you how many times it has led me correctly but I can say how many times it’s failed. NONE. The biggest example of this that comes to mind for me was when my son was 4, we were baking Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies for Christmas. I was adding the walnuts into the dough when he asked me if he could try a nut. I don’t know why but I knew I needed to watch him. He had never liked peanut butter and really had never eaten any nuts before. Not two minutes later, he was coughing and trying to clear his throat and we were loading into the car to drive to the Urgent Care right down the street. By the time we got there, his airway was closing, he was slobbering uncontrollably and had hives all over his face and neck. Through testing, we later found out that he is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and needed to carry Epi-Pens with him at all times.
Always expect the unexpected
One thing about parenthood in general is that it never goes as expected. You can pack and plan ahead as much as you want but these little beings have minds of their own. And for this control freak, it drives me insane! Case in point: A week ago today, we went to visit my grandparents. We typically visit every week. They are young grandparents and I am lucky that I get to enjoy them and that my children get to enjoy them too. In fact, my 5-year-old son spends the night with them most Friday nights. We had no sooner arrived, I lay my purse and my son’s overnight bag at the top of the stairs and stepped into the kitchen to answer the phone since neither of my grandparents were nearby. When I handed the phone over to Grandma, I absentmindedly sat down to rest for a minute. Mom Fail #1. That minute was all it took. Around the corner of the kitchen, my son had grabbed his overnight bag to look to see which movies I had packed for him this time. I had forgotten to pack some and he let me know how displeased he was. Mom Fail #2. Did I think at that point about those darned Epi-Pens? Nope. That phone call was all it took to distract me from my normal routine of pulling them out and setting them up on the counter out of reach of little hands. Mom Fail #3. Next thing I know, my son is screaming and I see one of the Epi-Pens laying next to him on the floor as I round the corner. He had tried to inject himself after watching me train every babysitter he’s had over the past year-and-a-half with the training device. He said he thought he was playing with the training device. After a call to 911, one county sheriff, 5 paramedics and firefighters, the garbage man and several neighbors came to visit, it was determined that he had not actually self-administered any of the epinephrine and was fine. I still can’t help being scared out of mind at how smart and observant he is and actually a little proud that he knew (in theory anyway) how to inject himself. Mom Fail #4? You decide.
Failure happens on a daily basis
I fail everyday. I am tired. I yell. I spank. I don’t do enough “fun” stuff. I don’t plan educational activities for the kids as often as I should. I threaten and I don’t follow through with the consequences of those threats. I give too many chances. My house is a mess. We don’t get out of the house enough. I don’t always feed them the most nutritionally sound meals. I let my kids drink juice and eat candy. We watch too much TV. We don’t always get outside to play 60 minutes a day. I don’t get down on the floor to play with the kids enough. We don’t sing enough songs. We don’t read enough books. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
When you dream about becoming a parent, you certainly don’t think about how all of your shortcomings can be amplified. I am impatient, a perfectionist, a control freak, independent and I’m an introvert. Those qualities don’t always lend themselves to parenting very well. In fact, they set me up for failure. I think about the daycare my little guy attended and the big personalities the daycare teachers have and how much I am not like them. I am not cut out for this is a thought that runs through my mind a lot. But it’s in my worst moments and I remind myself that this is what I want and that I don’t want other people raising my children. I mean we are at home all day long. How can I expect my house to be spotless at all times? How can I expect my kids every time to pick up the first time they are asked to? How can I expect that when I need some quiet time, the kids will understand and sit and play quietly for Mommy? It’s best not to. Then when the unexpected does happen, you praise, praise, praise and be thankful that today something great happened.
The little things
What do I do right then, you ask? I love my children. At the end of the day, it’s one thing I know I do right. I kiss their ouchies. I love them up when their feelings are hurt and when they fight with each other. We cuddle. We take naps together now that I’m super pregnant and exhausted. I pay them compliments every day. We laugh every day. My kids have amazing little senses of humor. We have tickle fights. We color and do a lot of art projects (selfish and easy because I love art). I tell them I love them every day. And every day there is something amazing that happens. Yesterday, it was my 2-1/2 year old daughter singing Let It Go into her microphone when she thought no one was looking. It was a very passionate and compelling performance. She was stomping her feet and throwing her hands up in the air and I knew that if I laughed, clapped, or moved to grab my phone to record it, the moment would be gone faster than it came. So I just sat there, watched and hoped it would last as long as possible and be etched in my memory forever. It’s all about the immeasurables, I’ve discovered. The things that you can’t quantify are what make me happy at the end of every day. And I hope that those things are the things that they remember when they look back on their childhood.
The amount of love you can hold in your heart
I’ll keep this last one short. The most unexpected part for me of becoming a parent is the amount of love I’ve discovered I can hold in my heart for my children. I remember being pregnant with my 2nd child and thinking “How can I possibly love another baby as much as I love my little guy?” (a common thought of first-time parents, I know) I expressed this fear to a friend and their answer was simply “You don’t have to split the love for your children in two, your heart just grows twice as big.” How true that was!
Motherhood is full of the unexpected. And it is so much better than I ever expected it to be. I hope you enjoy my post today and hopefully next week I’ll be sharing with you a post about the arrival of baby #3. 😀
So when was the unexpected better than the expected for you? Share in the comments below or join our blog hop!
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