12 Lessons I’ve Learned In 12 Years Of Parenting.

My wife and I have been in the parenting business for nearly 12 years now. To say that it’s been an adventure would be quite the understatement. It’s been more than an adventure. It’s been an adventure, doctorate study, Mount Everest climb, parachute jump, and journey to Middle Earth all wrapped into one! (I’m not really sure how Middle Earth made it into that list :-)).

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Through pain, and joy, and sadness, and struggles, and happiness, and (sometimes) difficult life circumstances, we’ve learned so much. We’re still learning, in fact. Here are 12 lessons we’ve learned over these 12 magnificent years…

Life is unpredictable.

Back in the day, when my wife and I were in college, we drew up a plan. It was nice, and dreamy, and filled with wonder and awe. And then real life started. Kids showed up. Then the bills for those kids showed up. And somewhere in the vault of our life that original “plan” remained. Today, if it could be found, it would probably have about 3 inches of dust on it. Never saw that one coming. Yep, life is unpredictable!

I’m stronger than I realize.

If you would have told us in our early 20’s what we would have to walk through with our children, nearly 2 decades later, we probably would have started crying, a lot! In our immaturity and childish minds, we would not have thought we had the strength. But something amazing happens when trials show up at our doorsteps. Fibers we didn’t know existed in our souls, begin to bind together and become strong. I have realized that I have more strength to face trials than I may have thought a long time ago.

My wife is a rock.

She’s amazing, on so many levels! You can read all about her awesomeness here.

Kids are stubborn.

I don’t really need to clarify this, do I?

Parenting is a marathon not a sprint.

It’s also a journey and not a destination. More on that in a minute. We’ve learned that we are in the parenting biz for the long haul. Just as a runner has to prepare for the 26.2 miles he or she has to run, and make sure they have what it takes to make it all the way, so it is with parenting. Each mile is a milestone, each minute is another benchmark reached. Really, you never stop running…

I’ll never stop being a parent.

Til the day I breath my last breath, I will be a father to my children. I will always be an influence in their lives. It will change over the years, and there will be a season where I’m not the strongest influence, but I will always be an influence. Even when I’m old and gray! This really is a journey that is ongoing. It’s not a destination. There is no end.

Life is more fun with kids.

Last night we had an impromptu showing on our house (it’s for sale). It was last minute and dinner was about to be placed on the table. The only solution was to load everyone up in the car and head for a local park, crockpot full of stew and all. We ate dinner and then we played a mean game of tag for the next hour around the swing sets. It was so much fun. My kids laughed, and played, and enjoyed one another’s company. Life is just more fun with kids!

New parents have no idea.

Sorry newbies, but you don’t! Know why I know? Because I was once a new parent. Actually before we became parents, I remember us saying things like, “Man, their kids are out totally of control…they need to get a grip and start being a parent!!” Annndddd, then I had kids. I never said those words again, and never will, for the rest of my life!

Kids cost money.

The other day I was going through our budget and just before I asked my wife where all of our money went, I remembered…. there’s 8 money-vacuums with my last name walking the face of the earth!

Pooping and barfing could be olympic sports.

Last week, as we drove to Florida for vacation, one of our kids threw up four times in the car! And if that wasn’t enough, after my wife had crawled to the back of our van (all 4 times) to deal with the explosion of epic proportions, our dog decided to get in on the action and threw up on my wife’s lap! We don’t deal with dirty diapers any more but when we did, they were epic too!

I may never sleep again.

To date we figure we are at least 12 years behind on sleep. If you factor in 8 children and multiply them by 12, that’s a grand total of 96 years! We actually may never sleep again.

Drama isn’t contained to Hollywood.

Oh my Dear Lord in Heaven, the drama! Ohhh the drama! Everything from “HE LOOKED AT ME,” to “EVERYBODY HATES ME AND YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE,” to “IT’S NOT FAIR, I WANT AN IPHONE BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE HAS AN IPHONE!” to “HE CALLED ME A POOPY HEAD!” If only the Academy knew about my family, we’d have quite a few friends named “Oscar” hanging out on our mantel!

Question: What are some lessons you’ve learned in your parenting career? Share away! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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