What I have learnt in 10 Years
Today William has hit double digits and is now 10!It is easy to look back and enjoy the journey that my little baby has turned into the young man in front of me. I could write post after post about him and say how amazing he is.
But I won’t.I think anyone who has read this blog or follows my social media accounts will know the type of lad he is and how incredible that boy is. The one thing that may be missing is the impact that he has had on my life.
I always wanted children and to be a parent but I don’t think anything would ever prepare me for it. Whilst we were expecting him I dived into lots of books about pregnancy, parenting a new born, babies and generally being a parent. I, like many, had preconceptions of the type of parent that I would be and the styles and techniques that I would use. However, Will, and subsequently James and my Step-kids, had other ideas to the man and dad that I would become.With that in mind I thought I would write a post about what I have learnt in the 10 years of parenting; 10 lessons for the 10 years.
1. Never trust what you read.It is easy to look at books, forums and blogs and choose what you like and don’t like. You can try all these wonderful ideas, styles and activities and see if you can replicate what you have learnt. Your child, however, will show you that it isn’t that easy. This information will give you the pros and cons and consequences to the actions but they will never fully cover how the impact that your unique child will bring to it. It becomes almost a poor version of the idea; like seeing a beautiful how to Victoria sponge recipe on Pinterest and ending up with a lopsided jam and cream sponge crumbs. It may still taste good but it is never that picture perfect look.
2. It is ok to not get everything right.The amount of times as a parent that I have this wonderful plan and it goes horribly wrong. There are times when you don’t even know how it ended up so wrong but it somehow has. It can be the smallest thing, the one thing that could never be planned for or could just be that you have misunderstood or incorrectly tackled a situation. Whatever it is, please know that it is ok to get it wrong. It may feel like you have failed massively but the truth is it just didn’t go how YOU wanted it.
3. You will feel guilty.Keeping in mind the last point can help you to brace yourself for a heart-breaking and gut-wrenching guilt. Things, as mentioned above, can and do go wrong and even though you have tried to get it right you will feel this horrible feeling of guilt when it doesn’t. In some way you will fail; you will make a mistake, misunderstand or even find that you haven’t been there for them when you should have been. It happens and the guilt will come. Please remember though that the fact that you are trying is worth more than anything that covers guilt.
4. You will find that you say things that you never expected to.You see and hear stories that parents end up saying the most ridiculous phrases and it is true. You can never really appreciate the sheer random sentences that will come out of your mouth. Sentences like “Please stop licking the dog! Just because he licked you doesn’t mean that you lick him” or “Please pull your trousers and pants up and stop naked dancing in Wilkinson’s”. Just picture a combination of objects, add a few actions and finally sprinkle on desperation and you will find that you can and will do it too.
5. You won’t always like their characteristics.I once told my friend who was a new father that there will be a time when he disliked his son and he lovingly argued that it would never happen. Until, that was, the day when he repeatedly told his son not to keep touching the D.V.D player and his son ignored him and at one point stared with stubborn disobedience and did it anyway. At which point he rang me to rant about how his son really gets on his nerves. The truth here is that you will always unconditionally love and support them but occasionally you won’t always like the things they do.
6. You will never know what personal space is again.The days where you lazily wake up, have a slow start, whatever you wanted for breakfast, have a nice long shower or bath and have a peaceful night is over. It is always a running parenting joke that a child won’t let their parent even go to the toilet in peace but it is a real view of what life as a parent is like. You can’t open a treat secretly in another room without finding them sniffing and standing behind you. You can’t sleep peacefully without finding them in your bed or, like me, having the child looming over you watching and waiting for you to awake. Your space is now their space.
7. They can make a mess in seconds.There are children who are really neat and tidy. There are also children that can destroy a room in 30 seconds. Whichever style your child has it will always involve mess. They may be the tidy type but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a mass explosion of toys, crafts and mess before they tidy up. They have the ability to move from one room to another and create an environment of carnage.
8. They think they know best.It is one of those serve and be served situations. You may work in customer services and know the routine well; you work and know your products but Billy shopper will somehow think he has more retail or product knowledge and as the saying goes “The customer is always right”. Parenting is no different in some ways. Despite their young age they will think they are the master of all. They have spent the majority of their early years learning and experiencing everything around you and subsequently believe they know more than you, even if you spend ages trying to correct them.
9. The will always love you.There may be times where you fight like cat and dog, where you are staring at your child and asking why they thought something was a good idea or not recognising the traits that you are seeing in front of you. There are days where you are just watching the clock tick by until bedtime where the day has been long, intense and extremely hard. You are by that point longing for the little bit of space and respite that you can get. The thing is that however hard it is and can be you are their world. They love you and will always love you even when they say they don’t. The intimate bond and love between you and them can transcend the hardest of situations.
10. You pretty much make it up as you go along.I made sure this was the last one. It pretty much encompasses all of the above lessons and points for me. There is nothing online or in a book that can prepare you for what can and does happen so you make it up and hope for the best. There will be times when you try things and they go wrong and you have to make it up on the spot to try and rectify a situation. You will feel deep emotions that you haven’t experienced before and have no idea how to deal with it so, you make it up and hope for the best. You will say and be faced with situations that you don’t expect and subsequently be caught out and have to make it up on the spot. You will be surrounded by mess, chaos and have a child that confuses you and you will have to think on your feet; often in a tired and stressed state of mind. Every day is a day of learning and you will be faced to make decisions that you may not have been expecting so you try, out of love and thoughtful well-being, to do whatever you can even if you’re not always sure what that it.
All of the above has changed me as a person and a parent. Whatever life throws at you the role of being a parent will change your life in ways that you will never expect. It is amazing to see how I have changed and what I have learnt in the last 10 years. It will be wonderful to find out what the next 10 will bring.