I was at the older boys’ basketball session the other day and sat near a man that I knew years ago. We hadn’t seen each other for many years and now were reconnecting with our sons being in the same basketball league. He had brought one of his friends to come watch and I sat beside this man and “eavesdropped” on their conversation about parenting.
Naturally, I was not silent for long before I just “had” to share some of my favorite parenting books (for boys, it’s currently “Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys). This got the conversation going about what does it take to be a good parent. After realizing that we were clearly depressing the man who was about to become the father of a newborn in a month (you will never get good sleep again, no book could possibly prepare you for this, there’s no guaranteed-to-work discipline technique, we did remember to throw in some of the “good” stuff.
– Remember to forgive yourself. You are doing your best….and new mercies for the day begin every morning.
– Parenting is an opportunity to see the world again. Things that we have forgotten or have forgotten to look at become brand new through the eyes of a child – the flower, the bee, the sunset, the water droplet…
– Parenting will help you identify all your “faults” and “issues” – just in case you want to work on them for “growth” and “maturation.”
– Baby wipes can clean anything.
– You will never get good sleep again – except for the times when you go away for the night – and it’s really important to do that regularly.
– Most importantly, surround yourself with other parents who are willing to be “real” and not just pretend that it’s the easiest, most wonderful thing they’ve ever done. There are parents who really do experience that….I salute them with one of those fake “good for you” smiles….but really, you need people who will vent and laugh and cry with you. For you will laugh and cry often at the same time….especially if you have boys….as you try to figure out exactly why he felt the need to kick in the basement window?!?!?!
– Make sure that you laugh more than cry :).