Just two months short of turning thirty I became a mom and now, ten years later, I am about to turn forty and realizing that the thirties was a rollercoaster ride filled with high, low, fun, scary, sickening, exhilarating, pukey and amazing moments. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but I’m happy to report mothering is well worth the ride (so far).
In celebration of David’s tenth birthday tomorrow, here are ten things I’ve learned in ten years of parenting:
1. It goes by so fast or at least that’s what everyone always says. In the big picture, yes but it certainly does not feel that way some days. Like when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or playing the board game LIFE. Tick, tick, tick.
2. Explore local, travel far. We try and take David on as many trips as possible. He’s pretty lucky and has been to more places than I did by age thirty. It’s not always fun, and certainly not easy, but he’s a kid that learns best by experiences than by the book. Plus, learning how to run through an airport is an important life skill.
3. Get outside. When things go wrong, get outside. As a baby, whenever he’d cry, we’d take him outside – the sky would calm him down. He feeds off sunshine and fresh air; I have no idea who he gets this from.
4a. To each their own. “When are you going to have kids,” “when are you going to have a second,” “you can’t just have one”… We all get our own collection of questions and comments thrown at us. I spent a lot of time reminding myself that it’s what’s best for us, not what’s best for everyone else.
4b. We all have our own battles. David and I struggled with nursing that was my first battle and there have been many more since. No kid is perfect, and no parent has it all figured out. There is no one is judgier than a mom and I can’t say I know how to deal with this, but it made my first year of mothering hard. How I felt, is not how I want anyone else to feel, so I have learned to shut my mouth and let each mom fight their fight.
5. Just set one goal. Each day, each week, each year. Don’t expect too much from your kid and be pleasantly surprised when they overachieved.
6. Lead by example can be both good and bad. I love that David loves sports and being active; however, I am not so proud of his potty mouth. No one to blame but me, I fucked that up.
7. They will excel at some stuff and suck at a lot of other things, but let them try new things. You never know what will spark their fire.
8. Your fears are not their fears. The thought of forming a beatboxing group and performing at the school talent show scares the hell out of me… I can barely handle a conference call but, I appreciate that David follows the no guts no glory philosophy. I hope it sticks, being shy sucks. (note: I should add that your goals are not their goals but I’d be a hypocrite because I’d love for him to excel and math or make the 2030 Olympic Team…)
9. SWIM! It was the only must-do expectation from us. At five months old we tossed him in the pool, and he’s been going strong ever since. We live in Nova Scotia: Canada’s Ocean Playground – it’d be a shame to be beached. Plus, I keep telling him, I wish had been a lifeguard instead of being a hostess at the Honey Garlic Buffet when I was young.
10. Sit back, spectate and enjoy the ride. Now that we’re ten years in, I try and avoid hovering as much as possible from what he wears (questionable) to how he interacts with others (questionable). I’m channeling the free-range vibe and hoping he figures things out on his own. I trust him and most of the time, David has proven that he’s capable of making smart decisions.
Happy birthday David! xomeg