Parenting is hard. Harder than I thought. More joyful, more fun, more full of triumph and way more full of failure than I imagined.
I’ve only been at this eight months and twenty-three days.
A typical mom would begin anticipating first steps, first words, physical milestones, developmental achievements.
I’m trying to find appropriate opportunities to hold my three-year old like a baby. I’ve introduced teething rings, even though he has a mouth full of teeth. His therapist says he needs the sensory experience. This is an example of things he missed. His first two years and eleven months were spent mostly alone, or at least in another room while mother chose more untoward activities.
I’m trying to make up for lost time. I’m trying work on things like attachment and appropriate emotional responses to a variety of triggers. I’m trying to instill consequences with both hands tied behind my back. I’m trying to heal and teach and bond.
Nine children have been through my front door. Nine children all hurting, all behind. Not one child did I hold to my breast the first time they opened their eyes to the world. Not one child has immediately known comfort at the sound of my voice. Not one child knows me by my smell. Not one.
I’m at peace with that. But I find the one thing that surprises me again and again is that because the biggest wounds the children suffer are on the inside, hidden from most of the world, they are mistaken for typical, healthy and whole. And so it seems easily forgotten that I struggle too.
I’ve made plenty of poor choices in parenting. I’ve failed. I’ve missed the mark by miles again and again. I’ve done some great things too. I’ve had many opportunities to celebrate and I continue trying for those, I’m not giving up.
Whether it’s been nine months or nine years, I’m pretty sure parenting is always going to be challenging, it will alway be about trial and error, rights and wrongs, triumphs and failures, confidence and insecurity.
I don’t got this. I don’t think I’ll ever say I got this. At least, I hope I don’t. And I hope I don’t ever mistakenly lead anyone to believe that I think I do.
I hope that no matter how long I’m a mom I’m humble. I hope that no matter how many success and failures I’ve experienced I remember how hard it is and how moms have enough opportunity to recognize mistakes. That there can never be too many chances to build up and community with others. I hope that the words out of my mouth are thoughtful, encouraging, flattering and confidence building.
You know, things like, it’s okay, no one’s done it perfect yet… you got this.