July 8, 2008

Kids R' Me

I have four kids, ranging in age from an almost 2 month old up to a 9 year old(soon to be 10). Our 9 year old is off visiting her birth father in Texas, our 6 year old is going to through her sneaky, lying phase, our 1 year old is discovering independence and that crying can get her anything, and our almost 2 month old is learning to babble and hold his head up.

It's truly amazing to watch them all at their different stages and know that the youngest will soon be running around, arguing, jumping on the trampoline and watching Disney instead of PBS. And, it's scary to think that just as soon our oldest will be dating, complaining about pimples, be driving and on their cell phones for hours with their friends(while we protest of course).

The greatest thing about being a parent is knowing that no matter what happens to you, that you created a new life and it will change the world (for better or worse).

The most terrifying part about being a parent is worrying that you're not doing a good enough job and that everything you say and do can change the things they will say and do in life.

I have four kids, I'm 25, and I'd do anything for my children. I know that it's going to rip my heart out when they move on with their lives and go through their own battles, victories, moments of happiness, pain, sorrow, joy, regret and love. But, I also know that my wife and I will be there for them no matter what; gay or straight, good or evil, the right decision or wrong ones. I know there will be times when they don't want us there and we'll both fight the urge to push them out of the drivers seat and take control, and it will be hard to fight that urge. Yet, I believe enough in my ability as a parent and the things we teach them, that they will be strong enough, smart enough, and have learned enough from us that they can make it through the bad times and laugh, smile and relax during the good.

My 10 words of advice from one parent to many:

  1. Don't overdue it, let your kids make mistakes.

  2. Let them know that you're there for them, no matter what, they need to hear it.

  3. Tell them that you love them as many times a day as you can possibly squeeze in, they need to hear that too.

  4. Remember your own childhood, remember how hard it was and that some of the things that your parent(s) tried to teach you is worth teaching to your own children.

  5. Don't be to easy on them, spoiling leads to un-realistic expectations of the real world.

  6. Never take out your own anger at life on your children, they don't deserve it.

  7. Believing that you need to stay in an un-healthy relationship with your husband,wife, partner, or significant other is like believing that if you throw that over cooked chicken back in the oven, it will taste great.

  8. If your child comes to you with a problem, just listen, because if you don't they may not ever come to you for help again.

  9. Come to the realization that you need your children as much as they need you.

  10. If you're a parent, don't ever be so selfish enough to believe alcohol, drugs or any other form of addiction is more important. They will be the ones visiting you in the nursing home when none of those things matter anymore, and/or the people who will be there to love you when the end of your life has come.