The Life Lessons of Parenthood
Until now, my sole focus has been on nurturing my business, growing relationships and enjoying married life. I had more than enough time to pour into hobbies, passions and leisure. Don’t mistake where this is going. I enjoyed this chapter of my life – every day of it, but I also knew I was ready to experience something more than just myself and my business. I was ready to experience parenthood…
Just a little more than two months ago, life provided us with the greatest gift we could ask for – a healthy baby boy. As I am sure every parent can relate, he is our personal pride and joy. He is also where we pour nearly all of our love and time right now. Though I am far from a seasoned mother, I have already learned quite a bit. This knowledge is nothing I could have anticipated, but has had a great impact on the way I view life, family and even business. Here are the ten life lessons parenthood has taught me in two short months:
It’s possible to multiply time.
I’ve always been efficient with my time, but parenthood has taught me how to do this to an extreme. It’s amazing what I can get done during a single nap hour. Procrastination is a luxury that simply doesn’t exist in our house anymore. I know that whether it’s household work or client work, now is always the best time to do something because I’m never quite sure when my next free moment will be.
You will cry over spilled milk.
When you feel like you’re always racing against the clock to accomplish as much as you can in the least amount of time, even a minor set-back can trigger a meltdown. And as any mother knows, every ounce of milk represents energy, time and nourishment for your little one. When milk spills, you will most certainly cry over it.
Give yourself 30 minutes more than you think you need.
Having a child is the ultimate excuse to be late. Anyone with kids is extremely empathetic to the fact that the most unexpected things can and will come up. But parenthood didn’t override my need to be on a schedule and run as close to on-time as possible. I’ve found that no matter how well I have my day planned, an extra 30 minutes can always be used. Before, when I would plan for something taking 5 minutes, I know it’s more likely to require 35.
When rest finally presents itself, you will learn to fall asleep within 15 seconds.
Free moments are hard enough to come by, but an even harder task is deciding whether you should catch up on work during this time or catch up on your zzz’s. Sooner or later, the desire to sleep will outweigh all other options and when it does, you will learn to close your eyes and doze off in a matter of mere seconds. Before parenthood, it would take some TV and tossing and turning to fall asleep, now it just takes closing my eye lids.
The little things will become the biggest things.
Never did I think watching someone raise their head or kick their legs would illicit cheers and praise. But as a parent, watching your little human grow right before your eyes is absolutely exhilarating. This has taught me that life’s smallest moments can create the biggest memories. It’s all relative to what that achievement means to each person – and to a mother, I am easily awe struck by these milestones.
Patience can be learned.
I was never a patient person and long ago I let go of the idea that I would ever somehow morph into one. I thought it was a virtue I simply didn’t possess. Above all things, parenthood has taught me a whole new level of patience. Before, I would easily become frustrated when things took longer than I anticipated or didn’t go exactly as planned. Now, I find myself calling upon a new level of calm to overcome such situations – often with a joke and a smile.
Progress is always two steps forward, one step back.
As sleeping patterns slowly begin to stabilize and feeding times spread further apart, I look forward to every ounce of progress we make. But these small victories aren’t a straight line of progress; rather it’s more like two steps forward, one step back. Some days I feel like I have this whole parenting thing down and other days bring me to my breaking point. Whether today turns into a good day or a bad day, I do know one thing for sure—it won’t last more than 24 hours and tomorrow can and will be completely different.
There’s no room for ego.
Just weeks ago, the thought of singing, humming or cooing in public would have made me feel nervous and awkward. Now, I make silly faces and funny noises so regularly I hardly notice whether I’m in front of a crowd or not. Parenthood has taught me how to be utterly goofy all in the name of child entertainment and to never mind what anyone else thinks about it.
You are always being watched.
Long before children can do anything else, they can watch. I have no doubt that my every movement and every sound are being recorded by a very impressionable mind. My actions will only continue to be studied with each passing month and year. If I wasn’t one before, I am certainly a role model now – and this means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Life is a precious miracle.
Above any other life lesson I could anticipate learning, this one carries the greatest impact. I always felt that I had valued life, but never until I became a parent did I realize just how miraculous the gift of life truly is. Parenthood has given me a profound appreciation for life at all ages. I feel so blessed to have a healthy, thriving child. Watching him get to know the world day by day will become the greatest memories of my own life.
Meet the newest partner of Bennis Inc, Holden Scott Shirley, born May 11, 2013