Friday, 13 May 2016

#6 Embrace Parenting

Embrace the stages of parenting - don't wish them away - savour the moments instead

Mothers Day has been and gone, and it reminded me of the different stages of motherhood I've been through.....and how easy it is to wish time away when life gets a little bit hectic or out of our control. We can start looking back or looking forward to "better" times and miss the lovely moments that are happening right there and then.

The baby stage
I remember those sleepless nights - when I'd feed my new baby, tuck their warm little body back in their bassinette and then I'd slip gratefully back into bed next to my sleeping husband........only to be woken in what seemed like 5 minutes later, to a whimpering baby looking to be fed again or who was just feeling unsettled. I thought those endless nights would never end! Plus there was the vomiting up of that precious milk that I'd just gotten into them, the dirty nappies, the piles of baby stuff that had to be taken with us when we went out, the endless washing (nappies got washed in those days). All added on to the normal chores of cooking, cleaning, shopping etc

For me it went by in a bit of a blur and I wish I'd stopped now and then and just enjoyed those little babies. Being tired, worrying about finances, worrying about being a good parent, worrying about spending enough time with my husband....and the list goes on, sapped some of the joy of that time. If I had a do-over, I'd slow down and worry less and savour it all a little bit more. I'd take more photos too - there were no mobile phones back then that caught the moment or videoed the first steps or first words, so photos were few and far between compared to today.

The teenage stage
Fast forward to those years of parenting teenagers (I can skip over the bit in between because that stage was relatively easy) but those teenage moments where I wondered if it would ever end are still floating in my memories. Helping them decide what they wanted to do with their lives, guiding them (surreptitiously) towards making good choices when it came to friends and how they spent their leisure time, checking homework, teaching them to drive, helping them find part-time jobs, steering them towards using their hard earned money wisely.....and the list goes on. 

Keeping the lines of communication open in the hope of jagging a decent conversation (and slipping in a little bit of advice) was also hard work. Sometimes I longed for the easy childhood years when they told us everything and couldn't wait to show us what they'd been doing during the day. But the hard work was worth it in the end when those teenagers grew into independent, strong, wise young adults who could support themselves through university, found jobs and made good decisions.



The young adult stage
I can't believe how time has flown. I don't know where those years of baby rearing, school runs and teenage wrangling have gone. I look at my two children who are working in their dream jobs, married to really good people, settled in their own homes and making lives of their own and I smile and relax a little. I love seeing photos of them looking happy and enjoying the lives they've created for themselves (there's a couple in my sidebar).

Part of me sometimes wants to go back to having more say in their lives, holding a little hand, or proudly watching them go to a school ball in all their finery. But part of me also appreciates the fact that they are now their own people and starting their own journeys into parenthood. First it was with a pet to practice on, and now our son and daughter-in-law have produced a beautiful daughter of their own to continue the legacy. They will be great parents and I get the added blessing of becoming a grandmother - what better reward is there for all those stages of parenting?

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Embrace the stages of parenting - don't wish them away - savour the moments instead

44 comments:

  1. You know Leanne I feel that being a parent in the early years is such a blur and I wish I could go back for a while and really enjoy the moment. We all felt pressured to be perfect back then where as now I think although it is still hard, women realise that we should just really appreciate the time with our precious babies because they grow so fast. Enjoy your granddaughter - it is truly a lovely experience. xx

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    1. I have hardly any memories of my children as babies Sue - I was so tired and it was just a day to day thing. I intend to be much more present in watching Sophia grow through this baby stage (and being able to sleep at night might keep my memory fresh!)

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  2. Leanne you are absolutely right you got your best reward.. Congratulations on becoming a doting granny.. your family pictures are lovely... and yes its so gud to know that r kids have turned into beautiful human beings..

    http://serendipityofdreams.blogspot.in/2016/05/celebrations.html

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    1. Thanks Deepti - I am so proud of my kids and where they are going with their lives - such a reward for all those years of being a mum :)

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  3. Parenting must be the hardest and yet the most satisfying job on earth, when you realize that your children turned out well. Pretty soon, you'll be in a position to give grandparenting advice too, Leanne. ;)

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    1. I'm trying really hard to keep the grandparent advice to a minimum Corinne - I don't want them to be dreading talking to me because of the unwanted tips I pass on. Advice only when asked for is my motto!

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  4. You did a wonderful job of capturing the joys and regrets of parenthood. It is hard to understand when you are a parent of small children (or exasperating teens), juggling everything - that you need to enjoy the now. I didn't get it, most of us don't. But I love how you ended the post. My boys have also grown to be caring, loving, successful adults. I had a hand in that and that's comforting.
    Thanks for the post.

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    1. It's a lovely feeling when you see your kids doing well and knowing that maybe you had a little bit to do with it - I'm just so proud of how they've turned out :)

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  5. I think it must be so wonderful to see how well your kids have turned out and now with the precious baby. You know that you have done a terrific job!

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    1. It is a nice reward for all the effort Rena - you don't think about it at the time, but it's nice to look back and see how far they've come :)

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  6. What a beautiful family! It looks like you did everything right. For me, I amaze myself on how well my kids turned out. I lucked out.

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    1. I feel like I lucked out too Rebecca - we did all that we knew how to do (but that was surprisingly little really) I think good intentions help :)

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  7. Excellent work! "when those teenagers grew into independent, strong, wise young adults who could support themselves through university, found jobs and made good decisions."

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    1. that's what I thought Anna - seeing them stand on their own two feet and not need to be constantly propped up was a good feeling. They knew we were there for them if they needed us and they took off from there.

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  8. It's all so bitter-sweet. How you'd love to live it again. In short bursts . . .

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    1. I think a few of those sleep deprived nights would happily send me back to this age and stage Di :)

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  9. Funny...I posted a blog on this today as well!

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    1. Yes Tam - I just read yours and thought it was an amazing coincidence :)

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  10. What a beautiful piece on parenting! It is wonderful to be fortunate enough to see children grown into strong, good people. I only wish my parents could have seen how well my daughter turned out.

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    1. It's such a lovely feeling seeing your children making lives of their own - knowing you did your best and they are taking flight from that foundation - sorry your mum didn't get to see that in the next generation Nancy x

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  11. You're right about those passing years. Children grow up and we actually miss those days ....

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    1. I don't think I'd want to go back and do it all again though :)

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  12. I talked a bit yesterday to a mother of two teens - both children are disabled (both were medically fragile when younger, too) and one may never be able to live independently. Her experiences were so different from mine. But those years pass for all of us who are parents or caregivers/teachers of children. Our lives change forever, too. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. It would be so difficult knowing that your children may never have the joy of complete independence - and you will be hands on parenting for a long time to come. It is definitely different for a lot of people isn't it?

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  13. I feel so much the same way. All of those stages seemed so tough, and to move so slowly, but in retrospect they are over in a flash. Thanks for sharing at the Blogger's Pit Stop.

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    1. I can't believe that 30 years have flown by in a heartbeat Debbie - and it's lovely to look back but I don't think I'd want to do it again in a hurry!

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  14. I wish I'd slowed down more during the baby stage too, I worried all the time too about everything. I wish I'd known that what everyone says is true and that the time does truly fly by.

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    1. I was a bit the same Rosie - so busy being the best mum I could be that I missed a lot of it - being tired all the time probably didn't help either!

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  15. Not a parent myself and don't plan to be but these are some good tips. Communication is so important especially with teens! A large number of families I work with have problems communicating!

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    1. Building solid relationships with your children so you can still communicate when they are teens is a key part of parenting Sanch - and I have a sneaking suspicion you will end up parenting one day :)

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  16. I am SO enjoying your writing, Leanne, and this post is great -- really nails so many emotions! I read it twice! :) I've always said the best part of being a parent is being able to say at every stage, "This is my favorite age!" You have said so many things that have been swirling around in my own head/heart for several weeks. :)

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    1. What a lovely thing to say Wendy - thank you so much - parenting holds so many special little spots in our hearts and I love that there are wonderful memories from each stage to look back on.

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  17. LOVE this! It's tugging at my heart strings as I'm in the thick of the baby stage right now - and DO find myself just trying to get things "done" instead of savoring it as much as I should. And pictures - I need more pictures! But with three kids now I am finding it tough just to get them all fed and happy LOL. Thank you for this reminder today.

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    1. Three kids fed and happy is all you can ask for - just remember to take lots of pictures of Number 3 baby because my husband says the youngest always has less pictures than the oldest! And the baby stage is the BEST!

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  18. Love this! It's funny how sometimes I'll look at my hairy faced teen (who now towers over me) and I'll see the tiny face I held in my arms at night. It's an amazing journey, and only another parent can understand. You've captured it well here!

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    1. I look at my "boy" who turns 30 in a couple of weeks and then I look at his little newborn daughter and think that he was once like her - the journey over those last 30 years seems like no time at all and yet so much has happened!

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  19. WE didn't believe our parents and our kids don't believe us--when we say HOW FAST TIME FLIES!!! It's incredible. I am counting down the days until I will become a grandmother for the first time and I am beside myself with anticipation, but I'm also having a hard time really grasping the notion that MY baby girl is now having one of her own! How is that possible???

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    1. I know Lee! How can our children be having children?? I am loving the new Nana stage and finding the balance of how much time I can spend visiting. My daughter-in-law says her mum is around all the time and driving her a bit crazy so I think being a reasonable distance away might have blessings to it after all!

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  20. This is a great post on the stages of parenting and entry into grandparenting. My one and only child turns 33 yo tomorrow and his birthday always takes me back to that day when I met him for the first time and my life changed forever. And now I have two grandsons who are growing up way to fast. Congratulations on your beautiful new granddaughter and for raising some great kids.

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    1. Thanks Molly - you do wonder where the time went sometimes don't you? Two grandsons is also amazing and this whole grandparent thing is just fabulous!

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  21. Lovely post, and so happy about your granddaughter! I know you must be a wonderful grandmother! :) Pinning and tweeting #FridayFrivolity

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    1. thanks Sarah - I'm loving being a Nana and having a baby that is mine but not mine - she's just beautiful!

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  22. This is lovely! So right about not wishing away the time, & trying to remember and appreciate these fleeting moments ('the days are long, but the years are short' & all that). But also nice to know that there continue to be great positives as time passes - I do already worry about how fast my children seem t be growing out & how fast the child stage will be gone. My mum says grandparenting is better in many ways than parenting, though!

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  23. I'm still in the first stage - and trying not to let it slip through my grasp too quickly.

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