10 Truths I Wish All Parents Knew

#1 Every stage ends.

Really, they all end. One day you will shower again. You will go on dates again. You’ll get your body back. You’ll sleep through the night. Your clingiest child will gain independence. You won’t be listening to stories about YouTube videos for the rest of your life. You won’t be spending your days driving all over the Greater Houston Area to chauffeur your children to and from events and activities. It is all temporary.

#2 Don’t do stuff that isn’t fun for your child or family just because everyone else is.

Skip the stuff you don’t like. Life is too short to drag unwilling kids through a pumpkin patch or to a parade or whatever else everyone has decided needs to go on Instagram. If your family loves that stuff, DO IT. If not, do something that you do enjoy – even if that means staying home in pajamas. It is okay to choose the things that make your family happy. Happy memories beat forced memories, any day. Life would be much simpler {in many arenas of life} if we learned to say, “Good for her! Not for me.” like Amy Poehler advises.

#3 Parenting is not a competition.

If it seems like all of your friends have their lives 100% together based on their social media feeds, know that you aren’t getting the whole story much of the time. Don’t run yourself ragged trying to keep up with someone else’s highlights. We are all unique human beings who are raising other unique little human beings. The dynamics in our relationships can be very different, the things we prioritize can be very different, the things we enjoy can be very different. That means the way our families work can look very different, but it doesn’t make it wrong or lesser. Focus on loving YOUR unique little family, not on competing with fellow parents to win some imaginary crown.

#4 Life is really not about the Instagrammable moments, it is about the everyday moments.

Everyone wants to make their IG life look perfect, but when your kids are grown and you long for their little selves, how pretty your pictures were isn’t really going to matter. My big kids grew up pre-social media for the most part, and the photos I cherish of their youth are not the posed and perfect ones, they are the ones that take me back to what our life used to be like. You are going to want to to remember little details of everyday life, too, because they fade so fast once they are over. The sound of their little voices {they change so much over time}, the way they snuggled into you, the chaotic sounds and images in your home, the silly jokes they loved, their quirky habits; all the details we overlook everyday. The messy moments you put in your IG stories that are set to disappear in 24 hours are going to mean so much more than the curated collection of your feed, so hold on to them.

#5 If your kids are fed, clothed, and loved, you are doing great.

Seriously. YOU are doing great, even if you need some help keeping your kids fed and clothed.

#6 Your needs matter, too.

Don’t be a martyr. Make sure your cup is filled! If that means alone time, ask for help to make that happen. If you need to socialize to energize, make it a priority. We are much better parents when we aren’t running on fumes.

#7 It’s hard, and that’s okay to admit.

Parenting is hard. It really is. There are different challenges in different stages, and some kids or parents have additional challenges that complicate life further. It is okay to struggle, it is okay to ask for help, it is okay to say things are hard.

#8 Don’t play the Pain Olympics.

Parenting is hard, PERIOD. Some people have it even harder than most, but you really cannot tell from the outside of someone’s life how difficult it is. Don’t believe your struggles don’t matter because someone else has it worse OR assume that someone else has it super easy because that is how it looks from where you sit. Let’s look for ways to support each other through the hard stuff instead of measuring it for comparison’s sake. 

#9 Love the kid{s} you have, not the one you imagined.

I didn’t imagine I would have sick kids, but 2 out of my 3 have serious medical challenges. If I spent my days wishing that they were healthy instead of embracing them as they are, I would have wasted our {beautiful, yet different} lives! In a podcast I listen to, I heard it said like this, “How would you feel if you found out as an adult that your parents had wished EVERY day that you were different than you are in some fundamental way?” That would be AWFUL.

#10 You don’t have to be fully present in every moment, but make sure you are present for some of them.

The days are LONG y’all. LOOOOOONG. It is unrealistic for most of us to be fully-present all the time and still be a functioning human, but make sure you are soaking it up as often as you can. One day the boring, everyday-ness of your current life will be something that fills you with longing because it will be entirely different. Soak it up while you are immersed in it!

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