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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: Parenthood: Keeping It Real

Apr 29, 2023 12:48PM ● By Today's Family

By Stacy Turner

Regardless of the age at which you first become a parent, books like, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” can never truly prepare you for everything that happens when you leave the hospital to head home with your new baby.  As we began that new adventure, my husband looked at me in the backseat, where I had just strapped our brand-new infant into her brand-new car seat.  He wondered aloud what we had both been thinking: how did the hospital staff trust the two of us with this tiny, helpless human?  Where were the real adults?

But like all new parents before us, we adjusted.  And even though we didn’t always feel like it or feel we looked the part, we became the real adults.  We changed nasty diapers and found routines to help our little one discern daytime from nighttime.  We held jobs outside the home and continued to feed and care for our baby and ourselves inside it, while functioning on very little sleep.  We rejoiced with each little win, like learning that long walks outside with the stroller were soothing for us all.  And that the soothing voices on NPR could convince our fussy toddler to close her eyes and nap, since clearly, nothing exciting was going to happen. 

We were blessed to hit each growth milestone without major delay or injury, and somehow managed to keep not just one, but two children alive and thriving as our young family grew.  We navigated through meltdowns (from grownups and babies alike) and have now made it through elementary school and into the teen years, where we’re all adjusting to new sleep patterns, new meltdowns, and new experiences.  Through it all, we continue moving forward in ways that work for our family. 

When they were small, I’d wash and bandage my girls’ skinned knees, kissing their boo-boos to make them feel better.  As they’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to let go, a little at a time.  Because as much as I’d like to clean up every hurt for them, part of my kids becoming healthy adults is learning how to do this for themselves.  

Once as a young mom dealing with a temper tantrum in the middle of a crowded store, I longed to be past the hard phases.  If a well-meaning older mom would tell me to enjoy my little ones, because the years will fly by, I didn’t really want to hear it then.  Now, I’ve become that older mom.

I’m not sad about it, though.  As my children get older, I find that each new age becomes my favorite age, with new things to do and learn and experience.  But I still find comfort when I catch glimpses of their baby selves here and there, even as they follow their own paths forward to the young adults they’re meant to be.

And even though motherhood is a precious gift, it’s also hard sometimes.  We’ll lose our cool and we’ll make mistakes.  But as long as we keep moving forward and loving our kids, we’ll all make it through.  Because we’re the real adults and we’ve got this.