This has never been a parenting blog and it’s not about to become one. But with our youngest having just started university I’m now in my third week as an official Empty Nester, and as a result parenting has been on my mind a lot. So FOR ONE POST ONLY, I wanted to write something about raising kids.
Here, in no particular order, are the 12 things I wish somebody had told me before I started.
- The best way to be a parent is the way that allows you to get most enjoyment out of your relationship with your children. This will not be the same way as anybody else’s.
- There will always be parents who are better or worse than you and it is impossible to tell the difference. Get over it.
- Every time you think you’ve got the parenting thing sussed, at least one of your children will move the goalposts.
- You cannot hide depression, not even from babies. Get help the minute you glimpse its ugly face.
- Best parenting advice ever: ‘Do not exasperate your children.’ (Ephesians 6:4)
- If your child’s music practice (read: lack thereof) is stressing you out, have a serious think about why you are still paying for the lessons.
- One day you will share a dish of olives with your fussiest eater.
- Failsafe remedy when the day is going pear-shaped: the children’s section of your local library (I just hope there will be some left for the next generation).
- Regular family meals, sitting round a table, eventually pay dividends of approximately 5000%.
- If your primary aged child has at least one good friend and no major illnesses, the thing you are worrying about probably doesn’t matter that much. (However the thing they are worried about may be very important indeed.)
- Teenagers always start the most important conversations when you are on the point of going to bed.
- In the unlikely event of your having some spare money, memories are a better investment than stuff. (And a bit of help at home may be the best investment of all.)