Parenting is the gift that keeps on giving. Each day I learn something new, laugh at something that is beyond my control, and worry and wonder if we are doing this right. 

There are lessons that I learn over and over again. It’s like when I eat too much dairy. I know it’s a mistake, but yet I do it and I suffer the consequences. 

Parenting teaches us humility (among many other things), and in this spirit, I share with you the parenting lessons that I learn over and over again. And again. 

I am the boss. 
I have to say this to myself again and again. They are so good at manipulating, twisting, negotiating, etc. Sometimes I just have to take a breathe and remind myself who is in charge. 

They are always watching and listening.  
I enjoy a Diet Coke from time to time and I do drink it in front of the kids even though they are not allowed to have it (and they’ve never asked for it). My four-year-old asked me the other day, “When I have a boyfriend, can I drink Diet Coke?” In other words, she wants to know if she can drink pop when she is an adult. While this is a simple example, I am telling them they can’t have soda because it’s not healthy, but my actions show that it’s okay. I didn’t even realize that my daughter noticed I was drinking Diet Coke. They are always watching. 

I am not alone.
Parenting can be lonely. For me, mornings provide some of my toughest moments. Packing lunches, finding shoes and backpacks, remembering that today is “wear your favorite sports team shirt”, pushing them out the door … it’s a recipe for frustration. And it happens five days a week. I mentioned this in a group of girlfriends and the group erupted with their own stories, frustrations and solutions. I am not alone.  

I need to let them figure things out for themselves.
My six-year-old was playing a game with a friend and as I was eavesdropping I could tell my son wasn’t keeping score correctly. I stepped in to referee. After a few points, it was evident that I needed to mind my own business and let him work this out with his friend. 

Parenting is hard. Keep learning. 
Humans have been parenting for thousands of years, and it amazes me how much we still have to learn about child development. The one thing we can all agree on – it’s hard. In moments of frustration, I have to remind myself that it’s not easy and there are many right and wrong answers. 

What lesson do you learn over and over again? 


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