A new era came upon us when my older kids hit three and developed a seemingly implacable will – I wasn’t scrambling with excuses anymore. Whining and hitting was the new norm. Sharing was a catastrophe. Life at home was definitely not as blissful anymore. The one good thing was more people laughed and snorted and identified with my new responses.
After an especially trying moment I picked up a couple parenting books. One read led to another and I’ve wound up with over a hundred parenting-related books by psychologists, therapists, moms, pastors, writers – everything from 1-2-3 Magic to How to Really Parent Your Child to Mitten Strings for God. Basically, I was creating “DIY Mothering 101.” I keep track of all my learning and applications to real life on my blog, Learning Mommy.
In all my readings, my (mostly) wise author-friends have led me to a simple discovery that has changed my life: Parenting is supposed to be hard. It’s a journey that, among other things, challenges me to become my best self. My children are my companions on that journey. As they cope with the stresses and challenges of expressing themselves respectfully, controlling their feelings, listening, and problem-solving, I am also learning, ahem, to express myself respectfully, control my feelings, listen and problem solve.
Trying moments? Of course. But those are really miraculous opportunities to obtain the very best gifts life has to offer.
Melissa Puente is a Los Angeles-based TV editor and a stay-at-home-mother of two sets of twins, 4 and under. She documents her journey to be a better mom on her blog, Learning Mommy.