When I was expecting our first child, I read a lot of books to prepare myself for the new world of parenting. I didn’t know much of anything about taking care of babies and raising children, so I wanted to learn as much as I could. Little did I know that parenting had different seasons, and I would always feel inept and lacking in wisdom.
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The moment Hayden was born, my life changed. I can laugh now as I think about the changes that those maternal hormones caused. I was so protective of my tiny new son that if I could have had a police escort or an armored vehicle to take him home in, I would have. Instincts kicked in and a lot came naturally, but there were still times when problems arose and I felt incompetent. It’s amazing how quickly those sweet little babies grow and develop. Before you know it, they’re trying to roll over, sit up, walk and talk.
When our son approached his second birthday, I mentally prepared for the legendary “Terrible Twos.” Maybe it was because I had expected the worst, but I really didn’t think it was that bad. My son didn’t get more challenging until he was about three. Around that same age, I remember having a battle of wills with our daughter. When our little humans start to declare their independence and exert their will, new challenges start to arise.
The ages from about 4 to 12 were pretty smooth sailing. I enjoyed watching my kids grow and develop. Homeschooling was fun and relatively easy. They were fairly compliant and pleasant to be around. It was a time of teaching manners and thinking outside of one’s self, learning in leaps and bounds, guiding and guarding.
Tweens & Teens
The tweens and teens seasons were fraught with hormones and the emotional upheaval that they caused. When my kids reached thirteen, they changed so quickly that it made my head spin. They could be happy one moment and mysteriously crying (or yelling) the next. Although challenging, the teen years seemed to go quickly. They matured and started to find their passions, earn their driver’s licenses, and get their first jobs. One day, after our son turned eighteen, he was carrying his belongings out the front door, saying he was moving out. Then last year our daughter started college, and although she’s home for holidays and breaks, she has spread her wings. Our relationship is different with both of them.
Now my husband and I are adjusting again. Our kids are young adults, coming and going from our home. We’re learning a new balancing act of parenting – when to encourage, when to correct…and when to bite our tongue. We know that they still need us, and we still want them around.
When my children were small, people often commented about how quickly they grew up. As a young mother in the trenches it didn’t seem like it at the time, but now I’ve joined that chorus. I often find myself reflecting over my child-rearing years and wondering where all of that time went.
Each stage had different challenges, but now those aren’t the times I most remember. The happy and awe-filled occasions are the ones that are locked up in my heart. Many of them are a result of the time we spent homeschooling, being present when the kids overcame an obstacle or discovered a new interest. Whatever season of parenting you find yourself in now, the good way outweighs the bad.