“’Have kids!’ they said. ‘I’ll be fun!’ they said,” has become a pretty funny catchphrase for internet memes and conversations between parents. When little Johnny has decided to smear his poop all over his bedroom, or little Suzy thought it would be adorable to use eyeliner to color on her baby sister’s face, parenting isn’t very fun.
By Nicole Nowitzki
Parenthood is the most unpredictable job on the planet, and you never fully realize the irony of parenthood until you are a parent. It is God’s little nod and giggle to help remind you to say, “Thank you for not dropping me off on the church doorstep,” next time you see your parents.
Whether you’ve waited your whole life to be a parent or decided to become a parent later in life, you probably have these big, beautiful ideas about how the next eighteen years. You have made a list of things you will and won’t do in your mind, and you’ve started to imagine how your child will win some sort of Amazing Child of the Year award for being so perfect. I can assure you that eighteen years is a long time for a child to look, act, and be perfect.
Many different aspects go into parenting. A lot of influences affect parenting styles. You may decide to raise your children exactly how you were raised because you had the most amazing parents ever, or you may choose to do exactly opposite of what your parents did. You may remember a friend’s parents raising them a certain way, and you thought that would be successful for you. It’s nice to have a plan.
You probably remember doing experiments in science class, and the teacher would have several different experiments going on at once. The one that was the most important was the constant variable. It is the one that all of the other experiments were compared to. You are the constant variable, but then you remember that your child has another parent, and you realize all of the room for error in your perfectly laid plan.
Now, your spouse may not have this perfect list in their mind about raising kids, but I can assure you that many conversations should be had in order to make sure you are on the same page. What if your spouse wants to do the polar-opposite? Who wins/loses/settles? These discussions are going to be interesting.
I’m also going to throw this little zinger out there…children are ALL different. My three year old was the easiest baby ever. My twins were the most impossible children even, and my youngest is right in the middle. You never know who God will give you.
I was talking to a ranch matriarch, in Buffalo, SD, about three years ago. She went on to tell me that her first child was so amazing that they assumed his behavior was due to their wonderful parenting and thought they should write a book about how easy parenting was. Then, they had their second son. He only wore one color, red, because everywhere they went, he sprinted in any and every direction. Luckily, he was never lost, but they had to think long and hard about having their third child. She went on to say that she threw everything they thought they knew about parenting out the window and started over with him.
Ultimately, you can plan amazing picnics, pack a basket, and fantasize all you want, but sometimes, it’s just going to rain. Hopefully, you remembered your muck boots!