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Parenting 101

I remember as a child thinking that my parents knew everything. They always seemed to have the answers. Before I was a teenager, I looked up to them in awe of all that they knew. They were my heroes.

However, when I was a teenager, my view of my parents changed. Then I was the one who knew everything, and they didn’t know anything, and couldn’t possibly understand me. Of course, as every child does, I vowed that I would raise my children differently, and I would let my kids do anything they wanted.

Now that I’m a parent myself, I find my view of my parents coming full circle. They seem to have all the answers and are my heroes once again. I understand what they were thinking and why they said, “no,” to things. Funny how I seem to find myself saying the exact things to my kids that I always hated to hear as a teen.

How come our parents never told us that being a parent was hard? That they didn’t have all the answers? That they were just doing their best or what they thought was right at the time?

By far and away the most challenging thing I’ve ever done is be a parent. Just when I think I’m starting to figure it out, then something changes. Being the parent of more than one child is even harder.

It’s hard to find the time you want to spend with each child. It’s even harder to know how to parent each child. They are all different, and what works for one doesn’t always work for another.

I’ve had to make peace with the fact that as a parent I will never have all the answers. That I will never truly have it all figured out. That all I can do is my best. That sometimes I will fail and that all of these things are okay.

If you’re a parent I just want to let you know that if you’re trying, then you’re doing a good job. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever have, but also the most important.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.


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