Back to the Future: A glimpse in time and a forward note sublime
In a previous post, I mentioned my love of pictures and videos that are now containers full of treasures from the past. I pull them out every once in a while as reminders of progress, especially when I am drowning in family chaos.
In the early 2000s, and now in the archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Back to God Ministries, there are video stories about our tribe called Busy Families and Dad’s Home respectively. One story is before we added child Number 4 and the other is shortly after Number 4. Be sure to check out our videos page to see both stories!
As I re-watched the videos and smiled, I also thought about what I would tell my younger self now that I have gained some “wisdom.” Here is that note:
Dear younger parenting self:
The minute the parent child ratio changes from two-on-two to three-on-two, life will pick up speed, compounded by the fact that Number 3, your first son will only have two modes -- run and sleep.
A nice mom who has sons herself, and recognizes the panic on your face as your boy runs, laughs and refuses to sit down during music class, will reassure you that this is normal boy behavior. She will point out that he is listening as she can tell by the way he follows directions, just not from a seated position like the other children.
She is one of many moms who will recognize your anxious expression at each first-time parenting moment and instantly reach our to reassure you with words that wrap you with comfort -- the kids will be okay.
And, oh, by the way, your own mom will be right many times over. You will be annoyed, when in the heat of the moment she says, “this too shall pass.” You won’t want to hear that when you freak out as your child has a breakdown in the midst of her perfectly planned birthday party, or your child is inconsolable after an age-appropriate “crisis.” Mom is right. The moment will pass and your child will recover a lot more quickly than you do—stay calm and save the adrenaline.
Speaking of stress and adrenaline, you will be tempted to worry a lot about the way you and your husband decided to raise the four kids, with him being the primary, at-home parent. You have faith in your husband -- that is not the question. No doubt, he will do things differently than you, and that is okay as he is a man and you are a woman. You will worry about the lack of longitudinal research on families where dad is the primary family manager. Please, listen to me, and do not waste any energy on this worry. It will save you from countless hours of stress and guilt.
The kids, all four, will be compassionate, empathetic young adults, each with their own stories, challenges and triumphs. Number 3 that I mentioned earlier, will still be a character, but as a teenager, he will call you on the way home from his part-time job and say, love you mom. Number 4 will be loud, as most youngest children are, but he will artistically express his emotions beyond your expectations. And the girls are well on their way to their own dreams.
You picked a good guy in your hubby. He doesn’t like to dust and your differences in planning ahead are going to make you feel temporarily insane at times. You will go to marital counseling a few times and shed some tears. You will, however, also have a lot of laughter, exchange friendly banter, and most importantly live out a shared vision for a family.
Stress less and enjoy more. In the heat of the moment, remember this too shall pass.
To read more stories from Kori, check out ZagZig Parenting: (Mis) Adventures of a Career-Driven Mom and a Stay-at-Home Dad. The book will release on April 25. You can pre-order it today on Amazon. Be sure to check out our videos page to see both stories!