My parenting journey seems to be a series of “I never thought I’d…” events. Like this one:
When I had my first baby, I swore I wouldn’t give her sugar until her first birthday. I sneered at the parents giving their babies candy. And here I am, 11 years later, giving a lollipop to my 9 month old after his breakfast of half a banana and some pickles.
I also swore I wouldn’t have a toddler who ran around with a pacifier in their mouth; then my second baby had hers until she was nearly 3.
In the past, I downright refused to consider homeschooling my kids, because my husband and I were both sorely unsatisfied with our own homeschooling experiences. Now we are not only homeschooling, but unschooling, and adamantly opposed to the entire notion of “school”.
When I think about it, my whole life has been a string of “I never thought I’d…”. From the seemingly small and mundane (I never thought I’d eat raw onion, I never thought I’d cut my own hair) to the life-changing (I never thought I’d have a home birth, I never thought I’d share a bed with my baby), my existence is one long failed expectation. Or is it?
There are some things that have happened that I’ve always known, always held fast to. I always knew I’d be a mom. I always knew I’d fall in love and get married. I always knew I’d travel. I always knew I wouldn’t circumcise my baby. I always knew I’d parent my kids differently than I was parented. I always knew I’d never stop asking why and learning about life. Isn’t that what this is all about?
I’ve learned so much over the last decade, I’ve changed my mind on so many things after reading, researching, discussing, and pondering. All these things that I never thought I’d do have been a result of knowledge I’ve gained, information I’ve discovered. While I know the importance of goals and dreams, morals and values, we should never be afraid of questioning those things. In fact, I think they should be regularly questioned. If they stand up to the test of questioning, then we can hold onto them. If we find something lacking or that no longer fits in our lives, we shouldn’t hesitate to discard it and move forward. Change is a continual part of life. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. The next time you think “I’ll never…”, remember that never is an awfully long time. And maybe this reminder will help us all judge each other a little less harshly.