In the last year, as Sweet E has grown, I keep finding myself telling Husband, “I need to tell Boy/Girl _____. No one ever told me that and I wished they had.”
The best advice no one ever gave me, but would have been gratefully received, was that we’d make it through whatever calamity or crisis had its hands around our necks, strangling the sense right out of us.
Most of what happened during times of upheaval and mayhem were people telling me that things weren’t so bad (WHAT?!) or to buck up and focus on the good, as the bad shit fell all around us.
Ahem. Not helpful.
I needed to know that even if I was making a choice that wasn’t conventional or embraced, that we would make it through. That everyone would stumble safely out of the raft and onto dry land.
I think back to all the kiddos we have known over the years, and all the different parenting techniques and types, and my end assessment is this: if there is love, kindness and understanding, all will be well. Might not go smoothly or effortlessly, but all will be well; you’ll make it through.
What worked for parenting your kids might not have worked with mine and vice versa. Parents carry guilt about comparisons. Am I doing it right? Will this work? Will that? Kayla’s parents give timeouts. Matt’s parents count to three. Olive’s yell. Jack’s don’t believe in punishment.
How are you supposed to make heads or tails of parenting when there isn’t a manual?!
Relax. Breath. Take a walk. Take a hot bath. Have a cold drink. Clear your head. Share a laugh. Share another.
(OMT! and Boy, circa 1984)
This life is short. Raising kids can make it seem longer than it really is, especially when you’re in the thick of it. Still, it’s short. And you better make the best of it, as the one responsible for raising your carpet crunchers into productive members of the human race.
Everyone will make it to shore. The crisis will pass. The bonus will be new wisdom from white knuckling the ride. And who couldn’t use a bucket full o’wisdom?
The end result may not be what you hoped, dreamed, wished, or even prayed for, but as my dearly departed granny used to tell me in my middle school drama days: this too shall pass.
I never believed her, until, well, “it” had passed.
So, if you’re afraid your kids will be neurotic like you: you’ll make it through.
If you think you’ve ruined your kids because they saw you naked and singing in the bathroom: you’ll make it through.
If you’re horrified that your kids are the conservative to your liberal or the other way around: there’s no hope for you. It’s better you die now. NOT REALLY! You’ll make it through.
If your mother’s horrible curse of “I hope you have children just like you!” has visited upon your house: you’ll make it through.
Kids are resilient; they’re a lot tougher and smarter and way funnier than most give them credit for. They understand love. Period. You can screw up in the biggest of ways, but as long as there is love and kindness and understanding, you’ll make it through.
If your life consists of slammed doors, I HATE YOUs, or toddlers refusing to eat anything but peanut butter and Smarties on lightly toasted bread, I can tell you, with great authority, baby, you’ll make it through.
I wish someone who had already been there and done that had thought to share this nugget of wisdom with me; it’s the best advice no one ever gave me. Would have saved me so many Jerry Springer nightmares.
What about you guys? I know there’s buckets and buckets of white-knuckled wisdom out there.
What’s the best advice no one ever gave you?