Parenting: Simple, But Not Always Easy

Parenting: Simple, But Not Always Easy

Parenting: Simple, But Not Always Easy

Having a child seems like a simple enough decision. It’s a fulfillment of lifelong dreams for some; others agonize over the decision as if they can predict just exactly how a child will fit into their well-orchestrated lives. As if a child is something like a new couch or a vacation that can be scheduled neatly into our busy days, and we will not only know exactly when it will be delivered but are assured that we will meet all our connections and the hotel room will be ready when we arrive.

I was one of those people, I must admit. I was that woman – a natural born organizer, a teacher used to lesson planning, assessing, and holidays right on schedule. How could a baby be that difficult for someone like me, right? It should be easy if I plan it right.

Even the delivery nurse tried to warm my mom shortly after my firstborn entered the world. “It’s women like her,” she whispered, “that have the most trouble, you know.” Little did I know how true her words would become.

I never thought, really, that when that first little person, and then another, entered my life, I would be so shaken. I never thought about how hard all the transitions would be for me-it just seemed like I should know how to handle it, just as if it was a disruptive student in my class. I could surely lesson plan for this little being to become a part of the fabric of our daily lives, couldn’t I? If I could handle a room of tweenagers, surely a child of my own would be simple.

It turns out, simple is relative. Did my maternal instincts kick in? Absolutely. Did I realize how painfully difficult and gut-wrenching parenting could be? Not in my wildest dreams.

I surely didn’t plan for the abundance of love I would feel for these two beings-a love that would create strength I never knew I had. I didn’t realize that every decision, every plan in life from here forward would involve them. It went way beyond the logistics of car seats and strollers; having children simply altered my perception of life and why we live it. And I most definitely didn’t plan for the heartache I would feel when, eighteen years later, my firstborn is ready to leave.

Simple doesn’t mean easy, that’s for sure. The simple part of parenting, I realized, is watching your child grow and reach and try and be curious about everything life has to offer. Sometimes, though, simple is easier said than done.

This post was inspired by the novel  The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson. At the age of 44, Rosie finds herself suddenly single and pregnant. She tries to hide in her grandmother’s home but meets two men that will change her life forever. Join From Left to Write on April 8 we discuss The Opposite of Maybe. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

The Opposite of Maybe

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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  1. Oh dear, I’m the opposite of organized, everything is one big pile of mess, sorted in my mind according to my own personal file system. Having children actually forced me in the other direction, to pay attention to schedules and nap times, to clean piles of neatly folded laundry and puzzles put away with all their pieces in order. . My simple life has been turned upside down in the very best way. And the idea that nine years from now they might leave? Absurd! They’re here forever! Right?

    1. I love this comment, Ally- it’s so contrary to what most moms say about motherhood! The years really do just evaporate before you know it- but knowing my daughter is really to be on her own is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment! Thanks for commenting!-Jennifer

  2. I think one of the most valuable lessons that children give to us, their parents, is an education in how little control we really have over Life! We influence, we educate, we encourage, but their personalities emerge in their own way, and we have very little control over that emergence!
    Janaki recently posted…Too old…for an engagement ringMy Profile

    1. Janaki, I completely agree! I think that’s one reason having my first child was so hard for me…as a teacher, control is my game! Luckily I realized that I don’t need to control, I need to support. That’s made all the difference. Thanks for commenting today! ~Jennifer

  3. I have found motherhood to be a very wild ride. The highs are amazing and the lows can be devastating. I don’t think your life changes as much as you get a totally different one. You really are never, ever the same. Thanks for letting me know about this book, it sounds wonderful!
    Kathy Radigan recently posted…Time to Take Care of MomMy Profile

    1. Kathy, a wild ride is accurate, for sure! I have loved every second of it-sometimes I didn’t realize it at the time, but now, I know that every moment we spend with our children is a gift, and we only have this amazing experience of childhood for a very short time. Thanks for commenting, and yes-the book is wonderful, and so is the author, Maddie Dawson! ~Jennifer

  4. Wow–what a great post, Jennifer! It’s amazing how we adapt to things, isn’t it? And how one set of skills (organizing and being a great school teacher) doesn’t necessary translate into having an easy time as a parent! I can’t get over that delivery nurse’s observation–but I’ve seen it in my own life, where people who had strict schedules and didn’t appreciate disruption can’t get over how strange their lives get once a baby enters it. Having children humbles us like nothing else. Thanks for all these thoughts!
    Maddie Dawson recently posted…The Opposite of Maybe is coming in March!My Profile

    1. Thanks for commenting, Maddie! I find this topic endlessly fascinating-just as the experience of parenthood has been for me. I have always wondered how I would get from one stage to the next-how I’d survive the ache of missing their little fingers wrapped in mine, or the hugs they so generously gave as young children. What I’ve learned is to revel in the joy of each stage as long as I can, and find the beauty in them as they change and grow…I love being a mom! Thanks for writing such an inspirational book-I loved it! ~Jennifer

      1. I’d agree to that in some ways…but right now, with my daughter preparing to leave home for college, it doesn’t feel very easy. My heart feels like it’s going to explode when she moves into that dorm room in another state….I hold onto the hope that I’ve laid a good foundation, and she will come back home occasionally! ~Jennifer

    1. I’ve found that easy is so relative, Kim. Sometimes I’d give anything to have those challenging toddler days again, if it meant I could slow down the time clock and have my teenagers living her for one more month…enjoy those babies. Enjoy every second. ~Jennifer

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