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Parenting and the Juxtaposition of It All

 jux·ta·po·si·tion

jəkstəpəˈziSH(ə)n/

noun

the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

Thank you www.dictionary.com 🙂

Is it just me or is parenting basically a wonderful, exhausting game of checks and balances?  Constantly juggling can be so hard but it’s also incredibly rewarding.

The other night I was playing with my 18 month old daughter and I was telling her she was “so strong.”  She was literally doing pull-ups trying to climb up into her crib to “rescue” her teddy bear. I started thinking about how great it is that she’s strong, not only physically but also in her temperament. I mean, this girl is STRONG willed. She has an opinion and although she isn’t talking yet, she sure knows how to express herself. I know that the years to come may bring many obstacles and that strength will be a great asset for her and also a great challenge for me and her dad!

IMG_8509 copyThis got me thinking about how my own strong willed tendencies have been both a blessing and a curse. I’ve had to learn over the years that while it is good to have an opinion, it is also important sometimes to stop talking and listen. You can stand up and be a leader without having to coerce or manipulate. You should also take a step back when there is an opportunity to learn from those around you.

The world is full of all different kinds of people and that is what makes it so wonderful!

You can be who you are and make your own choices. But you also have to let others do the same. So I decided to tell her that she is strong but she can also be flexible.

Then the parenting contrasts just kept coming to me.

I want her to be eager to learn about the world but also cautious of the dangers that are out there.  I want her to be carefree and enjoy the simple things in life but also be ambitious enough to chase after her dreams with dedication and persistence. I want her to be funny and laugh with her whole body but also be kind and aware of intentions so that no one is suffering at the expense of a laugh. I want her to be smart and confident but also open-minded to learning new things.   I want her to be sweet and innocent and enjoy childhood as long as possible but also learn, gain experiences, and grow up to be a wise woman who can make her own choices.

It all sounds so idyllic doesn’t it? If only it were that easy. I’m almost certain there will be times that I will be pulling my hair out just to get her to look up from her phone or table or robot, or whatever they have in the future that my daughter will surely be playing with. But I will be persistent, and will also learn as I go.

There seems to be a common moment for new parents where you look back and realize that maybe your own parents had no idea what they were doing. Suddenly you see your parents as simply people, people who were headstrong but also clueless, who tried their hardest but still made plenty of mistakes. I will never forget the moment, after I had my daughter, when I talked to both of my parents and told them how much I loved them and appreciated them and also asked HOW THE HECK DID YOU DO IT?! They just laughed and said they had no idea but as long as my husband and I do the best we can, our daughter will thrive and will most likely ask us the same question some day. Isn’t that just the best answer?

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