In the past five years of being a mother, I can say without even an iota of doubt that every day has been an adventurous ride that has brought with it a new set of learnings. From all the late night parties and spontaneous getaways with my partner, to the breastfeeding woes and potty training sessions with my kids, I have come a very long way over the last couple of years — courtesy all the successes and failures.
Here are the top seven things I have learned as a parent of two…
1. My instincts are almost always right
When I was expecting my first child, I used to read a fair amount of parenting books, all of which specifically highlighted the significance of maternal instincts. At the time I thought it was just something the writers of those books wrote to make their readers feel empowered. Only when I had my first baby did I realize that it’s true indeed! I could well differentiate my baby’s cry for hunger versus her cry for sleep. My second child just further reinforced my faith in my gut feeling.
2. Asking for help is completely fine and even necessary
Handling two kids all by yourself, especially when one of them is just a few months old, isn’t easy. I figured this soon enough after my second child was born when breastfeeding her on one hand and making lunch for my kindergartner on the other was humanly impossible. I realized that no matter how much I denied the need for help, I needed it; not just for my benefit, but my kids’ as well. I have hired a nanny to help me, and on days when she’s unavailable, I reach out to my mom or my friends for assistance.
3. Obsessing over EVERYTHING is pointless
As a parent, it’s not unusual for me to be overly concerned about my kids’ wellness and safety. I am extremely particular about what my kids eat, how well clothed they are, whether they’ve slept enough, et. al. Despite doing my best, I have learned that there will be times when my kids will fall sick, put something inedible in their mouth, or develop a weird rash — and that’s completely normal. I have realized that jumping to conclusions, panicking and thinking of the worst-case scenarios won’t help; being vigilant and logical will.
4. I am a lot stronger than I thought
I have also learned that being a parent is the greatest test of your physical, mental, and emotional strength. Each day when I hit the bed, and my mind runs its chain of thoughts I get surprised how I can endure all the issues faced during the day without backing down.
5. I have mastered the art of patience and planning
Six years back from now, patience sure wasn’t a virtue I could boast of. As a parent, it has indeed become one of my greatest strengths. I have realized that it saves me a lot of unnecessary stress and can even surprise me at times. Along with developing the knack for patience, I have also become a master planner. Prioritizing and planning have helped me streamline a lot of daily tasks for myself and my kids. It has eased my life in a big way!
6. But planning doesn’t work all the time
This may seem contradictory to the statement above, but it’s true! I have learned that there will be times when all the planning goes kaput, and you just need to go with the flow. There are days when either me, my partner or my kids just want to spend time at home, doing fun stuff together, and that’s totally fine. The ballet lessons and the football classes can wait.
7. I discover something new about myself every day
In the journey of trying to make my kids discover their passions, be it art, science or music, I have discovered numerous unknown things about myself, and it’s thoroughly fascinating! Whether it is my artistic inkling, or a flair for teaching, as a parent of two, I learn something new about myself each day.
What has being a parent taught you about yourself?