As a parent there are many, many things I wish I could just stick my head in the sand about. But that doesn’t help anybody. Accepting the following things early on makes them much easier to deal with when they actually happen. You don’t feel blindsided.
1) My kids will hate me. I’ve seen other parents react with genuine hurt when their sweet, precious children say “I hate you!” I remember saying it to my own parents. Hell, I remember sobbing in my room wishing that they would get hit by a car so that I could be an orphan because that had to be better than…whatever it was that they had done. Or wouldn’t let me do. I’m sure whatever it was I forgot about it an hour later. And stopped hating them. So I kept all of that in mind when I became a mom. And the first time my son told me he hated me, I said “OK, that’s your right.” And walked away.
2) My kids will think they’re smarter than me. Whatever. If that were actually true, they would have figured out a way to move out on their own by now. No matter how smart they think they are, they still need me. They can roll their eyes all they want and mutter under their breath that I don’t know anything, because I am 100% certain that they’ll appreciate me someday, after they’re off on their own. I can wait.
3) Independence is a good thing. We tend to celebrate the early firsts – the first steps, the first words, the first teeth lost – in a way that we don’t celebrate the later firsts. There’s an urge to freeze our kids at a time when they’re safe and close and small, because the world can seem like a scary place. But a child who wants to be independent is a child who has curiosity and confidence. I’m proud that my kids can do things on their own and go places on their own. I’m glad that they crave more independence, that they’re not afraid of the world.
I worry about them like crazy, but I don’t let that stop me from making rational choices about what they can and cannot do.
4) My kids will do dumb shit. It doesn’t mean that they’re dumb. It doesn’t mean that I did a bad job raising them. It just means that they’re kids. Doing dumb shit is part of the process, as is living with the consequences.
5) My kids will have sex…some day. My kids are both going through puberty. They will have crushes. They will have boyfriends and girlfriends. And they will have sex. I hope it’s later rather than sooner, but it’s going to happen eventually. And the best thing I can do for them is to prepare them. Start conversations, answer questions, and try to make them feel comfortable talking to me (or my husband) about anything.