The UGH- Stages of Parenting

I’m not really sure where I am going with this but let’s go with it for now.  When you have a baby, your first baby, you think, this will be so fun.  You get to pick out all the cute bedding, adorable, teeny-tiny baby clothing, accessories and cool baby toys, right?  Then you get them home from the hospital and you realize they are a lot more work than you could have ever imagined, even though they sleep 90% of the day at first and are up most nights.  But, you smell them…and you forget how sleep deprived you are.  They are these helpless beings and you are responsible for their food and their clothing and providing them with shelter.  You enjoy the feeling of being needed.

 

Little Walker

 

Then they turn into little walkers and babblers.  Only you as their parent can translate what they are saying and while you think it’s cute, you hope and pray that what seems like gibberish will eventually sound like actual, real words.  When they do start speaking, all you here is MOM…MOMMY…MAMA….24/7 and it makes you want to shove stones in your ears so you don’t have to hear your new “name” being called at all different times of the day and in all different tones.  You then think, who on earth taught these little beings to talk…and why?  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the baby and toddler years.  I am the one that was usually talking to them {and not in a baby talk way…like, real people talking…come to think of it, I never, not once used baby talk when talking to my kids} and I loved having them call me mom and even to this day when my youngest who is 10 calls, “mama”, my heart melts. 

 

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Then they enter elementary school.  That’s when all the “she isn’t my friend today“, or “I don’t want to play with her” begins.  I have always told my kids that “in the real world, you are going to be with people that you have to work with whether or not you want to.”, “Sometimes there are things that you cannot change.”, “Sometimes mom isn’t going to be there to bail you out of a tough situation.”,  and “Sometimes you will be required to think on your own.”  Now some may think that is harsh for a 1st grader to hear and comprehend, but the sooner they are able to realize they CAN think on their own and handle various problems and situations that come to them on a daily basis, the better they will be as young adults going through schooling and eventually adults holding jobs.  I have never been a helicopter parent.  I couldn’t be.  I am not going to hold their hand through life and protect them from the cruelties of the world, but I will be there to support them and to back them up if they ever need it.  I would never judge them or the decisions they make, and I’d be there to help guide them through tough decisions, but their decisions will eventually be their own.    

 

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Then they hit middle school and you can only {again}, hope and pray that they survive with the skills you have instilled in them up until this point.  This is where I have a lot of issues with parents and with children of this age group.  Middle school is such a hard time these days.  Everything is based off of “I want” instead of “I need” and sometimes the two get mixed up and they think they “need” something when they merely “want” it.  Kids are way more advanced technologically these days.  They are always one step ahead of parents.  It is essential for parents to be “hands-on” during this phase of their lives than ever before.  This is where the kids change and start to develop good & bad relationships with peers.  So many parents {and yes, I am generalizing and not speaking to any one in particular} are either too busy or too tired to spend any time with their kids or when they do, they want to be their friend and not their parent because they want their children to “like” them.  Parents, you need to wake up!  Your kids NEED you more now than EVER before.  They need you to guide them, they need to you be there for them, they need you to just listen and not give your opinion or your input on how to “fix” things.  They just NEED you to be there in a non judgmental way.  Parents, it is not hard for you to find out if your child has a twitter account.  It is not hard to find out if your child has an instagram account, or kik, or ask.fm account.  You need to ask them…then you need to dig around and make sure.  Yes, you want to give them space but sometimes that space is often abused and you’d be surprised to see what kids really say on various social media outlets.  Check out their friends accounts… I’m telling you from experience, you’d be surprised at what you read.  Kids also need to know the safety and the dangers of social media.  They need to be constantly reminded that what they put out there will stay out there…FOREVER.  So when potential colleges look them up, or potential bosses do their checks, they can get a great idea of the kind of person they will be admitting or hiring and how they will represent them.  We even know that companies look for backgrounds to determine insurance rates and whether or not you are approved for a loan.  This is no different, it just starting at a much, much lower age.  My point, you NEED to be there.  No one can help guide your child better than you!

 

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Then they hit high school and you are up for a new set of challenges and scary moments.  Letting them go.  Not in the literal sense, but you have to let them go so they can really flourish.  They need to discover who they are.  This is when peers are there, but more so, this is a time of self-discovery.  What do they want to be when they grow up?  What college do they want to go to?  How do they get their first job?  Will they be safe drivers?  Will they make the right social decisions?  Will they be happy?  The first time I let my daughter go out with her friends in a car by themselves, I am not going to lie.  I used the “find my iPhone” app to track her whereabouts.  Not that I didn’t think they weren’t going there, but because I wanted to make sure they got there!  I was up with anxiety until she came back home.  I imagine this will be my life indefinitely moving forward.  I know her friends, and they are all good kids.  It’s funny because she will tell me that so and so thinks is so cute that we all eat dinner together and I’ll inquire how they eat, and she said they all just eat when ever, what ever they want.  That makes me sad actually because these kids WANT that.  They NEED that sense of family, that sense of belonging.  They need that feeling of security and if they don’t get it at home…where are they getting it from?  It make me wonder.

 

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I haven’t been to the college level yet, but when I do think about it, it makes me sad.  I don’t want to say good-bye to any of my kids and I joke that they will all live with me forever until I die, but they know that isn’t reality…not now anyway…just wait until they see how much everything costs!  They’ll be back! 🙂

 

 

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2 thoughts on “The UGH- Stages of Parenting

  1. This is a great summary! I have one in college, one in high school, one in middle school, and two in elementary school. I’ve noticed my oldest has started to say things already that let me know she appreciates us a lot more now that she’s away. Music to my ears! 🙂 Visiting you from mommy needs a time out.

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