I graduated as a “State Licensed Child Educator” in Germany. My education includes five years of classes in education accompanied by several Internships in different institutions. I worked with “regular” and special needs children of different ages and in different stages. I thought I knew it all after graduating. I gave voluntarily parenting advice whether it was needed or not. I judged parents harshly for spanking their kids and other German moms for not teaching their kids German. I was pretty sure that the world couldn’t go on without my enormous wisdom until I had my own children.
1. From a “Know it All” to a “Know little”
There is a difference from rearing a child only eight hours a day and raising them twenty four hours a day where rational decisions are often influenced by emotions rather then an education. As a parent, I am pushed to the limit. Learning self control was a must and very challenging. In an institution/ organization we developed plans and establish bench marks. Feelings are kept in check as the education in the base to where we are going. When emotions like Guild, Anger, Anxiety, and Tiredness are taking over all rationality is thrown out of the window. What you thought you knew doesn’t have merits as you have to deal with yourself first in order to deal with the child. The connection was at first almost impossible which turned me into the “Know Nothing” as I mention in the paragraph. For example for a little while I didn’t know when it was appropriate to take the child to the hospital or to see a doctor. I” lived” in the ER at first until the third child came around when I started to make up my own care plans until I almost missed a severe Asthma attack. As an educator I know the benefits bilingual children will have later in life. I have tried to explain my then two year old that an “apple” can also be an “Apfel”. She didn’t understand correcting me telling me that apple means apple. I gave up unfortunately.
2. Schedule evolves around my children instead of me
When we sat to create schedule we ensured that everyone works at the day’s best fitting to them. I took off for concerts, outings, friends, TV Shows, etc. Nowadays everything turns around the children. It’s their sport, parents’ night, Christmas performances. Having to be at home at certain times to breast feed and naps made me feel tied up when they were younger. However I learned to appreciate the time I have with them.
3. The dog turned into a dog
When we got our dog I constantly worried about the amount of attention and care she got. I walked her three times a day, got her the best dog food and allowed her to sleep in my bed. But she gradually changed from a “child in a dogs body” to just a dog. She eats inexpensive dog food now and is walked when we have a chance. I also don’t hire an extended amount of dog sitters or friends anymore to take care of her when I am longer then eight hours absent. She is a great family addition but she is just a dog.
4. Life just got slower
There was a time when I could slip in a coat and jump in the car. As parents we have to make sure that our children are dressed appropriate for the whether, the shoes are on the right feet and their faces are cleaned. It takes at least thirty minutes after swimming for everyone to be dressed and ready to go while it would only take ten minutes alone. A twenty minute stroll through a park can take hours with your children. Taking your time however and getting pulled into the wondering minds of your children can be rewarding and getting you to focus on what it’s important.
5. I turned from Sandra into Mom
There was a time when I was called Sandra but now I am mom. I myself started calling me mommy from the day my oldest was born. Whenever I talked to her I talked of me. Sandra seemed to disappear and I found myself in a role I have to play. Of course being a mom of three wonderful children is one of the proudest moments of my life and I am privileged to be called Mom by them. At times I seem to reappear in my children’s expression, voices and their actions. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. My hopes and dreams I had for myself are now placed into my children. Caution is required as I still have goals to establish and they will have their own dreams to chase after. Finding the right balance between being a mom and me is challenging but it can be done.
Being a parent comes with obstacles and changes. It allowed me to see my strengths and weaknesses. It is the most difficult job even with the amount of education I received. But I feel special knowing that I have the privilege to give all my efforts, love and ideas to someone I deeply care about knowing that my efforts are not wasted in generations to come.