As we set out on the journey of parenthood we hear one parenting cliche after another.
We all know each journey is different, but there are some parenting cliches that seem to be universal experiences.
Below are some of those parenting cliches that I discovered were absolutely worth paying attention to…
”The Terrible Twos Exist”
Before having kids you hear terms like “terrible twos” and often just ignore it as lazy alliteration. But then you live through the transition of your darling newborn sprouting into a little kid and you realize the truth: The “terrible twos” are hella real.
It’s the point when kids are generally starting to gain a bit of command over their physical space along with a new set of language skills. They use these new levers to test and control anything and everything.
“Mommy doesn’t need to hold me and push me in the stroller all the time, now? Word. Let’s see how far we can take this freedom.”
“Oh, these sounds that come out of my mouth actually make these people around me do things? Let’s blow this out.”
Each of our four kids hit the terrible twos with their unique styles. All were epic. Do not underestimate the realness of the terrible twos.
”Adolescents Will Rock Your Understanding of the World”
Where to begin.
As men, we approach many of the relationships in our life with strong egos. We often want to run things or at least feel like we’re running things. The world puts obstacles in place to help manage those egos. Raising adolescents (in my case, adolescent girls) will take any ego you have inside and rip it out.
And stomp on it.
And put it back in your body.
And take it out. And stomp on it again.
Going through the process of raising my fourteen year old daughter has been the most humbling experience of my life. And the next exit off the adolescent highway is still a ways off.
Adolescents are so special because they’re very much still little kids, who are transforming — mentally and physically — into adults. And they’re trying to navigate that — while trying to figure out what tools they’ll need for the journey. As a parent — as a dad (with an ego)- it can create tension.
When the kid who you used to wipe poop from starts to approach the world with her own unique point of view — and has the ability to call YOU out out on your own shortcomings — it tests your parenting “skills”. The relationship can be combative; you’ll sometimes feel the need to defend yourself. And then in the same breath, you’re reminded that you’re still dealing with a kid. It’s a complex set of circumstances.
Here’s another true cliche for you. The best way to work through these years? Communicate. Over communicate. With the child and with everyone helping to raise them — spouse, teachers, coaches, friends, friends’ parents, extended family. Everyone.
Watch an NBA player like Kevin Garnett actively communicate with his teammates on the defensive end of the court. Head on a swivel. Never stop talking.
“They Grow Like Weeds”
Remember when you were kid and you’d be forced to visit your parents’ friends and listen to them spew things like:
“I can’t believe how much you’ve grown”
“Last time I saw you, you were this tall!”
As a kid you rolled your eyes. But, damn if those old geezers weren’t right. Your kids grow right before your eyes. Forgive your parents’ old friends for the eye rolls. It truly is amazing.
You here this one all the time.
“Get your sleep now,” they say. Can that really be true? Can a tiny newborn completely disrupt your precious sleep patterns? The answer is an emphatic…YES.
But here’s the dirty little secret, it doesn’t end there.
When your kids get older, they have bad dreams, bladder charged accidents, etc. All in all, kids will keep you from sleeping. Not to mention that lack of sleep that comes from the basic stress and anxiety over raising children.
My wife and I joke that we haven’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep in over a decade.
We’re half kidding.
“The Days are Long But The Years Are Short” (aka Time Flies)
Time flies. Perhaps the grandaddy of all cliches.
But nothing accentuates this one like raising kids.
The daily grind can feel like just that…a grind.
But you look up and they’re walking; then you look up again and they’re starting school; and then you look up and they’re graduating. Nothing can slow it down.
It’s always amazing how fast time truly does fly.