Parenthood is the most amazing, rewarding, and often frustrating journey you may find yourself on. Parenthood doesn’t just come from giving birth to a child; it also comes to those who adopt, foster, marry into an already existing family unit. And even through inheritance, so to speak. Parenting someone else’s children doesn’t even require marriage. It can be due to loving their parent and being involved in their lives.
Why, you may wonder, am I talking about this? Well, my husband was a widower.
Parenthood at its best is fraught with challenges, but when you add family dynamics from other households it can become overwhelming. If you’ve felt this way, with or without the additional family dynamics, please know you’re not alone. We’ve all felt overwhelmed, some more frequently than others.
Not only did I have to learn to be a parent, I learned in trial-by-fire ways… My husband is a professional firefighter so most of these battles were being fought by me alone. because if he wasn’t at the station he was at his part time job. Initially I worked full-time, but when changes with my employer meant I was being forced into a new position with hours that weren’t compatible with my husband’s schedule, I quit. I went from trying to “find time” for kid things, to trying to find time for myself, my ever-elusive yet important self-care. The lack of intellectual stimulation and adult interaction was a huge personal loss to me.
Despite all the early challenges the hard work and perseverance has been rewarded. I now have a 15 year old who has actually thanked us for being “hard on him, even though he didn’t like it at the time, “because we’ve given him the foundation of good habits that will help him achieve his dreams & has put him in a much better place than most of his friends.” Never in a million years did I expect we’d hear something like that from him as a teenager. He is a very self -motivated straight A student, who made and played on his varsity hockey team during his freshman year. For his Sophomore year he was asked to take part in the school mentorship program.
Don’t be afraid to have consistency and toughness be part of how you love your children. Somehow I’ve managed to find the balance I didn’t realize I was looking for. Between being a parent and a friend. I wish I hadn’t forgotten about the importance of taking care of myself, for so long. But I’m glad I’m at a point where I’m taking care of myself before others. Much like putting on your own oxygen mask on an airplane before helping others. Because of my own struggles with ADHD, and similarities I’ve seen in my children’s struggles. I’ve been very frank and honest in my discussions. I’ve let them know about the bad habits I have due to going undiagnosed until my 20s, such as poor organization skills and lack of time management, with the hopes that my honesty will make it easier to instill better habits in them. Parenthood is so much more than blood and genetics, parenthood is purely amazing, rewarding, frustrating, and loving.