Parenting Is…

If there is one thing I am learning as a parent, it is to be more flexible and to try harder to go with the flow when things don’t go as expected or hoped for. Tonight I planned/hope for a smooth bed time. We have kind of gotten out of our normal school year routine with the kids going to bed later than normal, so this might have been wishful thinking based off of our recent experiences. As I began bedtime by myself while my husband was working, my 6-year-old Gabe came running into the kitchen crying with blood flowing all over his foot and the kitchen floor. A ceramic art project had gotten knocked off his shelf onto his foot leaving a big cut. I thought at first that I would have to take him to the emergency room as it took several minutes to get the bleeding under control, but I finally did. This is while his two sisters were worried for him and crying in the background the whole time. After I finally got things under control and everyone in bed, the thunder began outside. Again, I heard the pitter patter of feet and my name being yelled. I was again on mom duty for the next 30 minutes trying to calm the chaos.

Some things in life are predictable, but not parenting. Parenting is the stress of figuring out what to do when your child gets sick at the beginning of a long vacation. It’s when your child throws up in the car one hour into your road trip and you realize that there is not a single wipe in your car to clean it up.  It’s calling a friend to cancel your get together when your child is having a meltdown. Parenting is trying to figure out what to do when your babysitter just canceled on you when you have work the next morning.

But parenting is also when the teachers at school tell you that your child is amazing and such a great student and listener, when you struggle to get him to follow through with the most simple requests at home sometimes. You beam with pride as you remember that your child really is a great kid. It’s your heart filling with joy as you spy on your kids playing and laughing together. It’s when your child tells you that you are “the best mommy ever” after a hard day. It’s when you watch them frolic and play on the beach, completely lost in their imaginations, and you just want to freeze time.

My children living it up at the Oregon Coast last weekend.

My children living it up at the Oregon Coast last weekend.

There are so many ups and downs with parenting. Some days truly do feel like an emotional roller coaster, and I feel like I have no idea of what I am doing. But tonight after the calm after the storm of a crazy bedtime, I peaked in to see if my kids were sleeping. And as I heard their deep breaths, I realized that I wouldn’t trade this time in my life for anything. Parenting is the hardest yet most rewarding job I will ever have.