Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Filled Under:

5 pieces of parenting advice that make a lot of sense now that I have children

-->

 

 

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.


I got a lot of advice before having children. Not all of it was good. Here are a few nuggets of advice that I didn’t buy, or flat out pissed me off, before I had children. But now, after having three kids, it makes a lot of sense.

Kids will melt your heart: Mel and I were meeting with our Ob-Gyn. This was with our first son. We got to know this doctor pretty well, and one visit I was a little too honest. I told the doctor that I didn’t really like kids, and I wondered how I would be as a father. She was a stout brunette who never wore makeup. She gave me a half, awkward smile, and told me a story about when her four-year-old daughter spilled milk on the carpet. “I was crazy mad over it. And I know, I’m not supposed to get mad over spilled milk, but I was.” She laughed. “My daughter looked up at me as I was scrubbing the carpet and said, ‘I’m sowery mommy.’ Suddenly I couldn’t be mad at her. Your own kids will really melt your heart.” At the time, I thought her story was total garbage. No child had ever melted my heart. Now it seems like my kids melt my heart everyday. Sometimes I wonder if this ability to melt a parent’s heart is how children live through childhood.

Getting up in the night will make you crazy:  I was 24 and in college when I had my first child. I was chatting with one of my college professors. When he found out that my wife was pregnant, he said, “I love my kids, but here is a warning. There will be a time when your baby has kept you up several nights in a row. She will be sick or something. She will be crying and you won’t know what to do and you are going to get really pissed off and want to slam that kid into the wall.” He paused for a moment and looked me straight in the eyes. “Don’t.” He laughed and shook his head, and I recall being really offended by what he said. But then, one night, when I’d been up with Tristan several nights in a row because of a virus, I felt anger, exhaustion, and frustration, and surprisingly, I thought about what my professor said, and I stepped away from the crib for a bit. I let Tristan cry while I sat in the other room and calmed down.

Nothing will change your life like having children: I heard this from a number of people, and I had a really difficult time understanding what it meant. I was in my early 20s when we had my first son. I was real cool. Or at least that’s how I saw myself. I recall assuming that even with kids, I would find some way to still be cool. And for the first few years of being a father I tried really hard to stay cool. But slowly, I started losing touch with what cool was because I was so busy raising a family. I used to think a lot about my life before children and how free I felt. Now I can’t even remember my life without children. And as dismal as all this sounds, I am actually happier and more satisfied with my life now with kids and a family than I ever was as a single man. Sure, I’m not nearly as cool, but I feel a sense of purpose that I’d never felt before.

You will never be ready for kids: I kind of freaked out when my wife got pregnant two years into our marriage. I was still in college, young, and afraid that I wasn’t ready for kids. I was chatting with one of my old scoutmasters about all this and he said, “You are as ready as you will ever be to have children.” I remember thinking that he was just trying to make me feel better. There was no way I was ready to have kids. I didn’t have a good job, or a degree. I didn’t feel mentally prepared to have children. I still felt like a child. Now, after having three children, I understand that this advice was very right. I don’t know what a person could do to be ready to have children. It is hands down the most amazing, life changing, and stressful experience of my life. Each year there is a new challenge. Each child is very different. And no matter how little or how much money I make, it never seems to be too little or too much. We seem to always be just getting by. Even at the tender age of 24, I was as ready to have kids as I ever would be.

You will learn more from your kids: This was advice I got from my grandmother who raised me from ages 14-18. I’d gotten in some trouble at school, and I was apologizing. I told her that I had a lot to learn, and she said, “You know, I learn more from you than I think you learn from me.” I looked at her for a long time, confused by her statement. She didn’t go into to much detail. She just said, “It’s true. When you have kids, you will see it.” I’ve been a father for 8 years, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I looked back at this advice and realized she was right. Even though I am in charge of the classroom, it seems like my children run the lessons. Or something like that. I’ve learned a lot about keeping a level head, motivation, and my relationship with other people from raising kids. Grandma was right.

You would also enjoy, Foulest things I’ve done as a parent


Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.   



0 comments: