If you knew everything there was to know before becoming a parent, would you still have had children? Did you hesitate before answering? I’ve come to the conclusion there is a reason we don’t know everything ahead of time. It’s an adventure, a journey! One we might choose not to take if we could see into our crystal ball and understand all it will demand of us.
While I wouldn’t want to know EVERYTHING there was to know, there are a SOME things I wish I’d known. Things like:
- Potty Training – it’s hard work. and not fun. and it won’t work unless Mom is ready to work. I mistakenly thought it would happen when they were ready. No big deal. Here’s the pot, this is what you do, isn’t this nice? Bleh. Didn’t happen that way. BUT, it’s nice to hear from parents who had big kids and adult kids who
- Time is your friend, and your enemy. I’ve learned if you give almost any kid enough time, they’ll figure things out. But it’s a two-sided coin. It seems there’s never enough time! Raising children takes a lot of time. They suck time right out of the continuum. It flies by faster than you ever imagine it could. But they fill your time with joys and rewards and fun, too. They are worth all that time you spend on and with them.
- No two kids are alike. I knew this, but I didn’t. I figured if I figured how things work with my first, then the next one would be easy. Right? Wrong. Eight children later, I’m still figuring things out! Each person is created uniquely, individually. No copy-cat parenting allowed.
- Becoming parents will draw husband and wife closer together. This is true. But also not true. There’s nothing sweeter than becoming a family of three, then four, or more. But it also brings in an element of competition that was not there before. A husband has to share his wife. A wife learns her expectations of her husband as a father may not be in sync with his expectations.
- I would need a secret stash. Remember that old commercial “Calgon take me away!” Yeah. I had days like that. Only I’d cry “Pepperidge Farm, where are my Milanos?!” I kept a supply hidden in odd places – in frozen veggie wrappers? the ceiling fan? under the mattress? a hollowed out book? Possibly. I had no idea before parenthood I’d guard such secrets so closely!
- My children would have unbelievable radar skills. It’s their Super-Hero power. Needing some time to myself, I would try to wake in the morning an hour before they did. Everyone sleeps until 7? Great! I’ll get up at 6. And then so would they. No matter how quietly I close the bathroom door, a little someone will need something.
Oh, how I remember the joy of becoming a mother! I was going to do EVERYTHING right. I was a natural, I was going to rock this mother thing. It wasn’t long before I realized there was a whole lot I didn’t know. Over the years I’ve been grateful for ladies who’ve journeyed down this motherhood path before me. Friends who were willing to share and encourage and come alongside to cheer me on.
I found the same type of encouragement in a book I recently read. Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents by Gary Chapman with Shannon Warden was a joy to read. It cheered me on as a parent. I love reading a book that doesn’t claim to give me a magic formula. This one says, “Hey! Parenting is tough and hard and rewarding and joyful! You can do this!” (I liked it so much I want to choose one of you, my readers, to receive a copy – details at the end of this post)
“Theory and reality are very different.”
The authors share from their own parenting experiences and also from things they’ve learned in their own research and practice as counselors. Things I Wish I’d Known is written for all parents (or parents-to-be). It is positive and encouraging, giving a real life view of parenting with real life helps for making things work. Any parent, veteran or newbie, mom of one or mom of many, will find inspiration
About the Authors:
Dr. Gary Chapman is an author, speaker, and counselor who has a passion for people and helping them form lasting relationships. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages® and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. He and his wife have two children and several grandchildren.
Dr. Shannon Warden is an assistant teaching professor at Wake Forest University where she teaches in the graduate counseling program. She is also the director of counseling and director of women’s ministries at Triad Baptist Church in Kernersville, NC. As a professional counselor, Shannon has counseled children, families, young adults, women, and couples since 1998 and has served as an assistant to Dr. Gary Chapman since 2003. She and her husband have three children.
There are chapters on topics such as setting boundaries, marriage, time, money and even potty training. Each chapter is stand-alone, easy and enjoyable to read. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions that are thought provoking and could easily be used as a springboard for discussion privately between parents or even in a group setting.
Does this sound like a book you’d like to add to your own parenting library? You can purchase a copy <here> (my affiliate link) or at your favorite bookseller – or you can enter to win a copy by leaving a comment below telling me what most surprised you about becoming a parent. Maybe you’d rather share your greatest joy or biggest struggle as a parent? That’ll work too!
Giveaway details: One winner will be randomly chosen from the comments on this post. A copy of Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents will be sent directly to the winner. Winner will be contacted via the email that is entered upon commenting (but which is not visible to the public). Once contacted, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. One entry per person. See all giveaway policies here. Comments must be left on the post itself. Emails and Facebook comments will not count. This giveaway will end at 10 p.m. Eastern time on November 6, 2016.