I didn't think it would be EASY, mind you. No, not easy. I had watched too many parents in their struggles to think it was easy.
But I had no idea how hard it would be.
Parenting is the hardest job in the world.
And somehow you are supposed to do the hardest job in the world - and do it well - while completely exhausted.
Might explain why it's not easier?
Two imperfect humans (if your extra blessed to have a partner in the journey - single parents - I don't know how you do it!) trying to train, guide, correct, instruct, and prepare for life - another imperfect human.
All while trying to insure that our own issues don't end up being their issues, too. Because they will surely have their own to deal with.
And the scariest part of all? You literally blink . . . and you are out of time with them.
Our date night on Saturday was spent discussing how to deal with the current issues and conflicts and areas we are struggling with.
This doesn't need to be done once. Or twice. Or yearly.
With eight kids it needs to be done almost weekly.
OK. Sometimes we just talk about FUN things on our date nights.
But most of the time it needs to be a productive time where we catch up and discuss and plan. This week? A new standard for picking up their rooms - and appropriate fines. Think Starbucks fund for mom.
After 18 years?
I know I shouldn't be. No babies. No toddlers. No potty training or diapers or bottles or night-time feedings (I've done my share.).
No. Now it's teens and pre-teens and responsibility and teaching and (still) training and discussing and staying up with them to talk when they are "chatty" and we are worn out. And yes, we still have a six year old, too.
The Lord knows.
And maybe rather than trying to be the perfect parent (having already failed in that regard), it's more about being a real parent. Loving our kids - imperfectly. Laughing a lot. Being willing to ask forgiveness. Doing the hard thing.
Which sometimes means (for this soft-hearted mom) being tougher on them than I'd like to be. My apologies to Son #1's future wife. I have no excuses - I've cleaned his room much too often.
So grateful for a man who loves me even when I fail. Grateful for kids who are happy and fun and put up with this momma who doesn't always know what she's doing.
And grateful for my Heavenly Father. The only perfect parent ever. And some of His kids? They've had issues, too.