Things I Have Learnt Since Becoming A Parent
Becoming a parent can be one of those things you know you want to be right from when you are still growing up in your parents’ house. It can be a lifelong aspiration that seems like it’s going to be the most fulfilling thing you ever do in life.
Well, yes, it absolutely is. But that is just one aspect of becoming a parent. There is so much more than just changing nappies. Parenting is challenging, especially for children who require special needs. Here are a few more things I have learnt since becoming a parent.
Parenting has no formula
You know those things that your mum and dad did to you that you either loved or hate, they are probably not going to work with your child. Yes. That blown up face you found funny may scare your baby, and they may be clingier than you expected.
Every child is an individual. They come with their own quirks and personalities. Since they cannot express themselves yet, it is up to you as the parent to also study and note down what works and what doesn’t.
This means you will also have to rely on a lot of experimentation. In that time, you will end up messing the relationship you have with your children and if you choose to be callous, end up severing any connection they may have with you.
You have to improvise as you go, and do your best to do what is right for them. Sometimes they will hate you for it, give you the cold treatment but in the end, it is for their utmost benefit.
Autopilot doesn’t just exist on aircraft.
Autopilot seems like this revolutionary feature that eases the burden for pilots and allows them to handle other tasks around the cockpit. In your case as a parent, it is a by product of having to do a lot at the same time, it just becomes second nature.
Yes, you learn to multi task; yell at the kids while making breakfast and ensuring the youngest is dressed warmly before stepping out into the cruel world. You will learn to handle stress at work, pay the bills and still make time to do your child’s homework for them because the X at the base of the triangle on the maths textbook isn’t the answer the teacher was looking for.
You learn to juggle tasks, some actively, some subconsciously while still planning out your entire day. Even a self-driving car doesn’t have this much clout, experience and confidence to beat what a parent can do.
Start investing in SD cards, external and cloud storage.
The thing about having kids is, you never know what they are going to do. It may be funny, it may make your heart grow several times larger, it could be something akin to Richard Hammond’s luck with cars. Whatever the case is, you may always want to remember these little moments in their lives.
How best to do that? Whip out your smartphone and capture that moment!
Over time, you realise that these moments have become large and take up a tonne of space on your phone storage options. You don’t want to delete any, so your best option is to store them off the phone.
By the time your child is two, you will have recorded and taken photos of so many moments, your 512 Gb iPhone will be full to bursting. You have no option but to invest in various storage options, especially if you have a number of children.
This issue is so serious that I and a few friends of mine decided to invest in cloud storage because we just couldn’t keep up with all the memories we were recording. You may not be the sentimental type, but your children would learn a great deal about themselves from the media you record.
Form over function isn’t limited to architecture and design.
Raising children takes a toll on many things in your life. Your home stops being your best design entrant and turns into something that is safe for children. That love seat you and your partner utilised so much disappears into oblivion, and the home basically becomes their colony.
It is at this point when this realisation, coupled with the exhaustion of all the work involved, conspire to throw out any vanity that you may have gathered over the years. What ensues is a period of unlearning, learning and relearning about every single thing that is in your home.
Are those accessories necessary in your quest to raise your kids? Will that piece of clothing make it easier for you to do your job? These and other similar questions will inform everything you do.
It amplifies everything that is within.
Parenting is sort of a super soldier serum. Everything about your personality will be brought to the fore. Your kids will test your strength, your patience, your tolerance and so much more! Perhaps what is important here, is how you react to all these stimuli.
If you are the kind to give in to every challenge that comes your way, you had better realise that you will suck at this. If you are the kind to explode with every little provocation or things that don’t go your way, all that will be exposed.
Parenting will test your limits. It will give you a new lease of life. It will give you new abilities to tolerate the mundane and the infuriating. Parenting will change you. What you need to note, however, is that you must be willing to go with the ebb and flow of the situations that are presented to you.
You become the super soldier who has never set foot at bootcamp. Well, scratch that. The first six months of raising that child will be all the boot camp you need. You will also learn to become sort of a US Marine, in that you will have to improvise, you will have to adapt if you want to overcome the myriad of issues that will come with parenting.