On September 20, I met two little kids who were in a foster home down the street from a friend. Playing with babies is a favorite pastime of mine, so I offered to be a respite home for them.
As circumstances changed, the way they often do, the respite home became a transition home which turned into a permanent home on December 22nd.
So one month into this motherhood thing, here are some things I’ve learned so far:
1. You never need as much sleep as you think you do.
2. Single parenting is HARD. Even with an army of amazing friends to love and support us, night terrors at 2:00 am just suck when there’s no back up.
3. Childhood diseases are called “childhood” because that’s where they should stay. Adults with childhood diseases are pitiful and generally worthless.
4. Bathing can easily become a luxury if you let it. Don’t let it. Take a shower, even if it’s at 3:00am when the night terrors have stopped. You’ll sleep better if you’re clean. Trust me.
5. There are an endless number of chores and other activities that you only thought required two hands. Cooking? Cleaning? Carrying things from the car? You can totally do all of those things while also carrying a sick/sleeping/crying toddler.
6. Parenting reveals your self-centered spots and your idols faster than just about any other relationship.
7. The carpet doesn’t need to be vacuumed nearly as often as you previously thought.
8. An adult, two toddlers, and a mastiff can all fit in a half bath.
9. People like posts about cute kids a lot more than they do ones about cultural crises or theological truths.
10. I can parent well, or I can career woman well, but I haven’t figured out how to do both well.
11. Kids extend inordinate amounts of grace to struggling parents, even when parents aren’t as quick to do the same.
12. Playing in the snow just isn’t worth it. Find someone else’s cute snow pics and photoshop your kids’ faces into those snowsuits.
13. Pregnancy brain is just parenting brain. I didn’t birth these kids, but I lost my mind when they moved in.
14. I’m in awe of parents who teach. To care for dozens of other people’s children all day while also keeping up with the needs of your own is a daunting task.
15. Sometimes it’s ok to cry through lunch.
16. Kids really are sponges, so if you don’t want your kid doing or saying it at a most inopportune time, you better not do it at all.
17. Next time you’re really mad at your kid, try singing “You Are My Sunshine” to her while putting her to bed. Really. Don’t be convicted.
18. Alone time is more precious than gold, which is another good reason to shower at 3:00am.
19. Sometimes it’s just a matter of survival and that’s ok.
20. Apartment complexes charge pet fees and tell you it’s for replacing the carpet because it would be inappropriate to charge child fees.
21. The best piece of teaching advice I ever received also applies to parenting: at the end of the day, you’re older, you’re smarter, and you win. If you think you’ve lost, walk away and try again later.
22. When someone offers help, just say “Thank you” and take it. No one is impressed with (or fooled by) your attempt to be Wonder Woman.
23. Kids may appreciate works like The Chronicles of Narnia and Where the Sidewalk Ends, but you can’t truly appreciate them until you’re grown.
24. Even when you’re a mom, some days you just need your mom.
What are some things you learned as a new parent?
Every decade of parenting has taught me enormous life lessons that framed university degrees could not have. My travels down the Parenting Road now have me in that Empty Nester stage, having adopted our first child 26 years ago and our homegrown child popping on the scene fifteen months after the adoption. I have treasured each lesson and confess that what I’m learning as I watch these adults navigate life are among some of the best lessons yet. My heart runneth over. Stay the course. It will be worth every minute you invest your heart in those two very lucky wee ones. By the way, I never have gotten around to framing my degree!
You are very right about it all. And yes… Single parenting is very tough. You have jumped head first into an amazing journey and I love watching you all grow together!
You will be and are a wonderful mom.
Proud of you. Keep laughing!! You are a remarkable woman…..
1. Don’t teach your kids the proper words for their parts. I just can’t handle a 2 year old say her vagina itches. I don’t care what those hippies say, can’t here a little boys talk about their penis. They are tooties and pee pees or hoo has and weanies people!
2. Have your son open doors for his sister and teach him ladies first. These manners are dying…help keep them alive!
3. Don’t say you are sorry immediately after you offend unless it is followed by “will you forgive me.” The screaming “SORRY” is not genuine or consoling.
4. Always has a complete change of clothes for everyone in the family with you at all times. ALWAYS.
5. You will never stop needing wipes and tissues in your car.
6. Keep a reserve of plastic grocery bags in your car.
7. Keep something in your carthat immediately can be transformed in a bucket to catch vomit
8. Blue Dawn will clean anything and everything…EVERYTHING. Put one in your car with an old towel and rag for the vomit you will eventually miss catching. Seriously, make a hot soapy sink full of Dawn water and get a wash cloth. Dip and wring it. Clean EVERYTHING with it. It doesn’t streak…even glass. Dip your mop in…all floor types.
Love it! Thank you!
Yikes! I can’t edit the horrible typos After they post like on Facebook. NOTED! I am aware that you actually hear with your ears not here 😛
At the end of the day – – or week – – or years, I realize that my daughter does not significantly value the clean house, the perfectly ironed clothes or the amazing flower beds of her childhood. Those things were my control issues.She does, however, remember every detail of the camping trips, the snowy, snuggle-bunny days, the Friday afternoon ‘rita trips to Taco Bell [don’t judge] and all the times we laughed and shared our stories. Funny how you can look back with such clarity but when you’re in the tornado, you just do the best you can do. And, you, sweet daughter, are doing an incredible job and those babies now know that when the night terrors strike, someone who loves them will drive the monsters away with hugs and kisses.
OK, I’m not anonymous – – I’m Momma # 2!
For number 10, a month is nowhere near long enough to figure it out. Proud to say you are well on your way and I am confident that you will have it nailed in no time.
For number 9, while more likes of kid pics may be true, they don’t come anyway near the amount of blessings received through the sharing of wisdom for cultural crises and theological thoughts
Your are doing a great job. Remember this is a season. So glad you still need your mom because just a little secret, we moms still need to be needed.
Congratulation Bekah! Both of my children are adopted – it’s been a few years now! My oldest is starting college in August! My youngest is starting his Sophmore year in high school and is now taller than me, so many of the things you wrote are like a dream from a long time ago! Even couples struggle (and laugh and cry) in similar ways. Fortunately, we (my wife and I) did not have to be single parents because were married when we adopted them. (I don’t have time to go into the pain and circumstances around those early years). Enjoy your little ones. It is a great privilege and a great way to honor God by raising our children. Enjoy them – the teen years which are coming faster than you think, are very different.