- I’m going to jump into this because I hate those blog posts that say they are a recipe and you have to scroll through ads a mile long and some personal story that no one cares about to find the damn recipe. Anyway. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that being married to a woman has nothing to do with how we raise our kids. Our sons are normal, monstrous, horrible, temper trantruming, sweet and loving four year olds. They breast fed the same as kids raised by straight parents. They learned to walk, talk, and potty train exactly the same as kids raised by heterosexual parents. They say that they love us, and we say we love them. On the regular. They’ve figured out they have two moms. They’ve figured out that some kids have Daddies and not Mommies. They don’t care. Neither should you.
- Consistency is key. If you say you are going to go home if they act out one more time. Go home. After they act out one more time. It seems simple. But I hear so many empty threats made by parents. Then they complain their kids don’t listen. If you can’t tell I’m eye-rolling. Hard. I’m not a perfect parent. I lose my shit. I swear in front of them. And I still put on Jackson’s socks because he freaks out if I don’t even though Declan’s been putting on his own damn socks for months. It’s one of those battles I’m just not going to fight. Declan talked back to me twice. He hasn’t a third time. Because he didn’t like the consequences that happened after time number two which he was warned of after time number one of talking back. Be consistent and follow through no matter what. Trust me.
- Take time for yourself. Everyone says it. Few actually do it. Hot yoga makes me a better mom. Taking the time to get myself on my mat and exercise in a space where people know me as just me, not as a Mom is empowering. It reminds me who I am. I own a business and am self employed. I work hard. I want my sons to be proud of me. It’s not selfish to take time to be yourself. After being pregnant, giving birth, and nursing there was never a time I felt so out of control of my body. It didn’t feel like it belonged to me anymore. It took me some time, and I’m not done yet, but it’s definitely back to feeling like mine.
- My life will never be about me ever again. (See above. Hence the importance of time for me). When I was hospitalized for my asthma all I could think of was being with them. And as soon as I got home those babies were all over me. When my Dad died I didn’t get time to grieve. I went to work that week and Mama’d just like every other day. I don’t get time off from being a mom no matter what is happening to me personally or professionally. It’s incredibly draining emotionally and physically. It wasn’t healthy for me to not have time to grieve. But I had no other options. Self-employment doesn’t come with PTO/vacation days. I needed to work. The boys didn’t need to see me as a wreck. I had to keep it together around them. I know that will get easier as they get older. At least that’s what I tell myself. Every day. It’s not about you anymore! Get over it. Don’t be a martyr about it. Because thats annoying.
- Don’t listen to anything anyone ever tells you about parenting. I received so much bad and unsolicited advice from people about parenting. People who had never even met my kids. They potty trained at 3.5. We went without diapers one day. When we felt they were ready. People had been telling us to do it from age 2! They were not ready at age 2. They were not ready at age 3. They were ready at 3.5. They’ve had minimal accidents and no pull-ups ever overnight from the start. I knew my kids. I knew how they would be able to handle it and when. I shut every one out. I did what was best for them. Would I have liked to not have diapers in my life a year sooner?! Absolutely. But my kids weren’t ready then. People asked why I was bringing them to the dentist so early. Guess what, Declan has an enamel deficiency. I brought them very young because I felt like he had some plaque in his teeth and I thought it was weird. The dentist told me I was right and had I waited he would have a mouth full of rotting out teeth. So yeah. Don’t listen to anyone but your own gut. You know your kids. Tune out everyone else.
Mostly I’ve learned to just survive, don’t judge other peoples parenting even when they are giving you really bad advice and not following through on multiple empty threats…yes even then don’t judge. Because we are all just trying to get through the day with happy and healthy kids.
I feel grateful for the last four years. I feel incredibly blessed to have these boys in my life.
Oh and one more thing. NEVER tell a parent who has a two year old that “Three is so much worse” or any other age combination in there. Because that’s wrong on so many levels. You don’t know what they are going through. They may be hitting rock bottom and you are kicking them when they are down. Every stage is different. Three’s were not harder than two’s in some ways. In other ways they were. Don’t spread negativity about parenting, we all know it’s hard. Maybe be supportive and positive.
My business partner has twins who older than my boys. She’s never told me how bad certain stages sucked. I appreciate that about her. She’s given me goals- once you make it through…it gets so much easier! She provides me with hope that life gets easier. Do that. Spread hope.