The photographs above were taken on my mum’s last night in England. Ronan was ready to have is photo taken and posed and Maddox was still holding on to his feelings of being upset. To his defense he did pick the flowers for me and out of love, but unfortunately it was not our garden. However, I love both photographs because they showcase the ups and downs that is raising children. Before I had kids I envisioned a happy little family of laughter and giggles. You do not think about the stresses and challenges that come along with your growing bundle of joy before having kids.
I love my children and I love my weekends because it is all about family time. I cherish those moments most as an expat living abroad. I try to leave my Sunday posts open to flexibility so if I need a day to just write thoughts or share photographs I can do so. So many of my friends as of late are starting to have babies or adding more children to their family. So the thought of kids and parenting has been on my mind frequently. Today I share five things that I have learned personally since becoming a parent. While these may not agree to you, they fit my family. My husband and I understand that just because it is different, it does not make it wrong. If you do read through this and can relate, feel free to join in the discussion at the bottom by commenting. Hope you are all having a great weekend!
1. When you become a parent you take on your own style of parenting.
The way you parent may not necessarily be the same way that your parents raised yourself. Nor will you parent the same way as one of your siblings. Your best friend in all the world who shares all your common interests may too parent differently. This does not make either party right or wrong. In fact the same parenting style for one child may not even work for your second or third child.
2. Families can be both extremely helpful and also overly complicate matters after children come along.
It really depends on the family, specific family matters, and the situation. I can be around my mum , sister, and uncle and have no issues arise while they praise the boys for how respectful and loving they are and accept my parenting style. I can also be around the family of my inlaws and have every parenting choice put into question, be over stepped as a parent, and treated like a sixteen year old instead of a married mother in her thirties. The thing you have to remember is when it comes down to it what is important are the parents and the children. Block out the negative outside opinions and influences.
3.When kids are hungry they will eat.
My children spent three years of their young life growing up in Hawaii and so they were introduced to a variety of foods that included but not limited to: fish, sushi, pho, pancit, and jiaozi. Instead of eating out at typical ‘american’ chain restaurants we went to our favourite local spots for Vietnamese, Philippine, Chinese, or Japanese food. Fast forward to today and we eat a lot of vegetables, fish, and meat with what is closely related to a paleo diet. All in all I know my kids eat foods now that their cousins back in the US will probably never eat until they are adults. My husband and I also do not allow picky eaters at the table. We serve them just enough that they would be able to eat and expect them to eat it all or most of it, depending on what is served. If my son eats everything but leaves one thing and goes right into ‘i do not like it’ then he is told he has to eat it and do it quickly. My sons have yet to be stubborn enough to sit at the table for hours without eating the food and more often then none exclaim that they actually like the food after eating it.
They will probably be sick of this story once they are teens but I always tell them that learning to eat something you may not out right love will train them to be amazing travelers ready to experience new foods in any country they visit. They will learn to eat something and smile so that they will always be respectful to their hosts when living abroad. Again my children are not other people’s children and I am aware that they have had a broaden world view already for being kids with American citizenship. However, from experience I have realized that my kids will eat if they are hungry or motivated enough. Sometimes a little dessert bribery can go a long way.
4. Having boys is a lot different from having girls.
I say this as a mother of two boys with no daughters and as a girl who grew up having just one sister. I honestly did not know what life would be like living with a guy until after my husband and I were married. I now live with three guys and it is quite the experience sometimes. I remember growing up as a girl and being able to spend an entire day indoors reading or playing with my dolls. Keeping my sons inside the house for too long and they will find a way to bring outside play into the house with running up and down the stairs, loud shouting, toys being thrown and explosion noises being heard from their location. I recently was watching a group of girls in varying ages at the park play and just realized how differently they played compared to my sons and their friends who were running around the grassy field nearby. I would love to have a daughter next, but after eight years could not imagine my life without my boys.
5. Being a mother is comparable to being a broken record at times.
I honestly say the same things over and over in one day, in one week, and through out the month. You would think that once it has been understood you have progressed enough to not have to look over the same situation again. However it is different when raising kids. I also would love to learn how to say something to my boys in my normal voice and be taken seriously. I do not like having to raise my voice or call in the big guns, my husband, for things to get done. I am exaggerating slightly but it seems to be a thing all my friends who are mothers deal with when parenting.