Hindsight

Yesterday my oldest turned 13, so I guess I am now officially a member of the “parents of teens” camp. Honestly neither of us feels much different; just another step on the path, really.

It seems like an apt time for reflection, however, on the journey so far. In five short years my first baby will be an adult. My second is a tween {recently 11} and my youngest is firmly out of the little kid stage {8.5}. We have entered a new era of parenting and family dynamics.

So if I could go back—knowing what I now know—what would I change, especially about the early years? What would I do differently? What would I put more effort into? What would I worry about less? 

The truth is, not much. 

Hands forming the shape of a heart against a sunrise.

A lot of “warnings” new parents become inundated with turn out to be bunk in practice. Sadly too few people have the energy to set the record straight once they’ve emerged from the baby/toddler fog themselves and so bad advice perpetuates. The reality is, though, unless you’re doing something truly evil or abusive, you’re likely better at this parenting gig than you give yourself credit for.

If I had to start over, I would still spend most of my waking hours holding babies. I would still breastfeed toddlers. I would still share sleep space for as long as they needed. I would still be available at night. I would still be one of “those” people who considers their kids to be friends. 

The only thing I might not do is send the girls to preschool so early. I was ready, but they weren’t. Looking back, I could have tried harder to find a better alternative for me to get a break from early childhood antics a few times a week. Like many, I saw school as a panacea and didn’t bother searching for options.

Sometimes parents of teens/tweens can come across as condescending to new parents. I have been on the receiving end of that scoffing, and I have no desire to sustain it. No matter where you are in this wild parenting expedition, you are welcome here. I cast no stones.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. It’s so important to remember all the wonderful moments of parenting x

  2. Love your reflections on warnings and even expectations. It takes a lot for one to acknowledge the journey of growth – even with its faults and challenges. A wonderful piece. Thank you.

  3. It is so important to take a minute to reflect. That’s so nice that you are pleased with so many of your past decisions. I have tweens and teens, too.

    1. Valerie

      Thank you, Karen. It certainly is comforting to look back without regret. Navigating tweens and teens is a whole new territory, though. Hoping I will feel the same in 5-10 years time.

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