Thursday, January 28, 2010

Parental milestones

My college roommate recently posted about discovering her 6-year old's self-administered haircut. It got me thinking about some of the milestones we go through as parents. These range from the famous firsts (first time Baby throws up down your shirt, first time Baby bashes her head into your mouth and gives you a fat lip, first time Baby -- or toddler, or preschooler -- sleeps through the night) to the life-altering changes that come later on.

Here's an incomplete list of some of the milestones I've passed in the past 15 years:

- Realizing I can't make my kids happy all the time, and (later) figuring out (again) that that's not the goal, anyway;
- Transitioning from "Don't do that, you might get hurt" to "Whatever... as long as we don't have to go to the hospital later on";
- Choosing to ignore what other people think when one of my kids goes for the tantrum world record in the worst possible place, at the worst possible time, because I can't be mortified and be a patient mom at the same time;
- Learning that what look like bumps in the parenting road for other people feel like mountains when I get there myself;
- Finding out that silently congratulating myself on being a decent parent somehow triggers almost immediate outrageous behavior in my children;
- Understanding that I can't fix everything... and sometimes I can't even make it better (this one's hard!);
- Realizing that being smart and resourceful is no guarantee that I'll have any clue how to handle a given parenting situation;
- Discerning which part of my conflicts with my children is, ummmmm, my own fault;

- Discovering that ranting is more likely to hurt kids than it is to change their behavior (sigh);
- Remembering that the amount of laughter in the house is a good gauge of how well we're doing;
- Learning all of the above, a second and third and fiftieth time.

Anyone have more to add?


  1. Realizing that I don't have to be in lockstep with the other parent - I'm more lenient in some things, he's more lenient in others, and vice versa - and that's okay.

  2. Maybe learning not to disturb them when, suddenly, they are happily engaged in something together and, for once, not yelling and name-calling and bitching and moaning. It might be bedtime but maybe we can let the magic last just a little longer. As long as that magic doesn't include a magic marker.

  3. Realizing that my mother loves me the same way I love my girls--and being able to deal with a lot of her foibles accordingly!

  4. Realizing that it pays off in so many ways, to teach them how to do tasks to help you. I let the kids pick out fruit at the store, sweep the floor, mash the tuna fish, set the table, match the socks, etc.