Reading and answering her questions was very enlightening about where I am and how I think two years in to this new experience for me. To see the truth of my feelings that I sometimes don't say enough of or that I try to hide. Also where I would like to be.
I thought I would share my responses to those questions on my blog, maybe some parents can relate. Or others can ask themselves and find clarity on their thoughts. Thank you Loren for allowing me to do this project and vent a bit. Great self reflection:)
1. What was the biggest life adjustment after becoming a parent?
Finding Balance in all areas. When you become a parent you immediately lose a large part of yourself. Some necessary, some unfortunate. You find yourself over consumed with your child, and always putting yourself, your marriage, and your dreams on the side. What happens is that you begin to realize how unhealthy it is, but you really don’t have a solution. You have something that you always want to protect and give your 100% to. Then there is you, yelling for some time. Finding the balance to that has been extremely hard, especially now with 2 young children under 3.
2. Are your parenting skills similar to that of your parents?
I find myself realizing at times I am placing what I have been brainwashed with respectively into my parenting style. How my kids should act, how I should raise them, etc… In some ways I deeply respected the ways my parents raised me. Instilling faith first, family time of importance, even things such as a sit down family meal every night are expectations I carry from how I was raised. The one thing I differ from is I allow my child his/her own freedom to be unique. I always find myself even on the toughest days telling myself not to stifle who he/she will want to be. I want them to have their own special place and I never want to feel that I’m passing to them that they are not enough or that I want to control who they are to become. I want them to be able to just be kids. To have time to think. The most important difference is I always want to validate their feelings. I never want to tell them how to feel or it is wrong to express any thoughts or emotions. No matter we always can thank our parents for showing us what we want to do and what we don’t when it comes to parenting.
3. How did you decide your parenting methods, such as discipline?
You think becoming a parent it will be simple such as discipline. What you fail to realize is every child is different and you must work hard to find a way to relate in a way that works for all involved-it doesn’t happen overnight. This has been a huge challenge for me. What works for most may not work for your own. You have to find and be consistent with whatever you want to instill in your children. Time is key. Also I am a huge parent of routine. Being a stay at home Mom we are very scheduled. I knew I wanted that security and structure for my kids well-being. We are also very affectionate parents. Where there is discipline we always relay love.
4. What made you decide to have a child?
I have always wanted to be a stay at home Mom. Having a stay at home Mom myself I realized this was something I wanted to be. I have always taught kids, babysat, etc…They say you are born with it, I was. The one thing I’m glad I did was know and accept only when I was fully ready. I waited to get married until later and was able to do a lot of things personally I wanted to do before my life settled down. I knew after 3 years of marriage it was time and God showed me it was—I am proof positive it was his perfect timing. I think every woman has a maternal instinct it’s whether they want to embrace it or not. Some dive in head first, some has no desire. Either way it is only fair to yourself and your future children to make sure you are with no uncertainty.
5. How has having a child affected your marriage or relationship?
For most they will tell you it really had a negative effect for them. Not enough time, struggling to co-parent and feel appreciated, etc.. For us it has had the exact opposite effect. The one thing my husband and I share the most today is the love for our kids and our appreciation for our family. The things we do as the four of us are the greatest times of our lives. Our greatest agreements have come in parenting styles and we have amazing communication about our children. We have been a team since day one and I appreciate my husband and affirm him always about the Father he has become. I think you must realize up front when you decide to have kids your marital relationship will change. Not for the worse just a different type of love and basis will become. A much more respected and deep relationship. There is no time for selfish struggles, it’s amazing what can become when you do watch each other grow as a Mother and Father and affirm it to each other. It’s amazing.
6. What were your biggest concerns about becoming a parent?
Raising them to find the Lord. I think what I realized through the whole child bearing experience was what a miracle and blessing each child is from conception. Nothing other than the Lord could even describe the perfection one could create. I always dreamed of raising my children to be upstanding citizens and loving God. Being different in the fact they could be unique and successful all while praising God and inspiring others in such a different society. My fear is how I do that. When do I start? How do I begin? If I do too much too early will they burn out? Should I let them find them through their experiences? I want them to always be appreciative of the one who gives them everything. I know I am their teacher designated to do this, a lofty expectation to fill.
7. How did having a child change the way you handle your finances?
You are much more conscience. I never have a day I don’t look at our debt, our savings, our bills etc… I find myself thinking in terms of 10 years, private school, and college. Even when they are 2. I rarely put me first anymore and I find myself buying for them before I ever do for me. I realize the best way I can teach them about being responsible is living it. I’m their greatest example and I know that is a struggle for me. I have started researching ways to become better and the best ways to lead this part of my life. It’s a great priority in my life where it never had been before. You realize you want to provide for your kids what you never had.