Everyone tells you about the diapers and sleepless nights, but no one ever tells you about these things.
  1. Setting a good example
    I want to drink wine, be glued to my phone, and binge-watch Netflix all week long, but I want my kids to eat healthy, be active, and read books. Do you think they'll notice the discrepancy?
  2. Junior High
    When my kids come home and tell me about all the mean, painful, confusing things they experienced it literally feels like it happened to me. It's like going through adolescence all over again with more awareness but less control. It's almost the worst thing in the world.
  3. Letting them take risks and make mistakes
    I want my kids to grow up to be brave and confident, and this means letting them make certain decisions for themselves and take certain risks. Every time my daughter walks to the park by herself I still worry that I'll lose her. That would be the actual worst thing in the world.
  4. Keeping my mouth shut
    A young friend once told me that when he talked to his mom she gave advice, which made him feel judged, but when he talked to his dad he just listened, which made my friend feel heard. So when my kid complains to me about her day, and I want so badly to give advice & fix it for her, I instead repeat this mantra: "I'm so sorry sweetie, that sounds awful. Is there anything I can do to help?" Sometimes she does ask for advice. Sometimes she just needs to be heard.
  5. Not taking things personally
    All I did was ask how her day was and she flew into a rage! <Teenagers have hormones. Teenagers have hormones. Teenagers have hormones...>
  6. Exchange student year.
    Having the courage to allow them to travel thousands of miles away from home for a year, to live with people you've never met, in a country where the average person doesn't hold a passport, and admitting afterwards that it was a beautiful success!
    Suggested by @boeing
  7. Being empathetic when they get hurt after you've told them not to do something 800 times bc they'll get hurt.
    Suggested by @ameliaville
  8. Remaining Calm
    Suggested by @natashac
  9. Knowing there are times your teenager hates you and they can't wait to go to college and leave home
    Even though you think they've got it way easier and have a way better life than you did when you were a kid
    Suggested by @TheAnne
  10. Making Time for Your Spouse/Partner/Dating
    Romance is HARD once kids are in the mix, and that's throughout most stages of childhood. If you have a partner, it's so important to reconnect with him/her on something outside of parental responsibilities. If you're a single parent, making time to date is even more difficult. Babysitting ain't cheap, y'all!
    Suggested by @dreadpiratemama
  11. Accepting that they are growing up and will soon be out in the big, scary world on their own.
    While trying not to think too hard about what life will mean when they aren't underfoot anymore.
    Suggested by @bluepuddles