I’ve been going through some old tweets and instagram photos- and a common hashtag I use is #fatherhood and #parenthood. With two children- it’s a way of life. Parenthood has changed our life forever and I think there is no higher ministry than to my family and children. In light of this, there are a few things I wish I knew before becoming a parent.
1. Kids Change Everything: Ok, I’ve heard this from everyone when we told our family and friends we were expecting our first child, Abigail. And we knew that it would. I just don’t think I realized how much it would change our lives.
Andrea and I were married for eight years before Abbie came along. We went to bed when we wanted to and got up when we wanted to. When Abbie was born, it was a race to get to bed and go to sleep when she went to sleep because we knew she’d wake up. Before Abbie, when we wanted to go to the beach we would roll out of bed, put on our swim suits, grab a book and be on the beach in 20 minutes. Now, going to the beach requires filling up the back of our vehicle with blankets, towels, toys, umbrellas, more toys, food, drinks, more toys, clothes- and the list goes on. (Our first time taking Abbie to the beach, we forgot sunblock and had to overpay for something on the boardwalk!)
2. You’re gonna talk about poop a lot. No seriously, if you’re not yet a parent you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. When a baby cannot talk, one of the best ways to know the child is healthy is the baby’s stool. Because of this, poop becomes an acceptable conversation topic at the dinner table, with other parents, and just about any time you can imagine. Never did I imagine the quantity of conversations that I would have around this subject. Just giving you fair warning.
3. You Long For Silence: Andrea and I like music a lot. Before kids we would listen to music all the time, have engaging conversations about life, dreams, and ministry. Now, between listening to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” for the millionth time, hearing the kids scream, and answering Chloe’s questions that she’ll keep asking until we acknowledge her- there are times when all we want or need is some silence.
That’s probably a healthy thing. Not there there is anything wrong with our kids talk or questions (I love their questions), but there are times when I need to decompress and process what is going on in the day-to-day and process where we are as a family. Before kids, these periods of silence where easy to find and create- but now they are worth a fortune and are like finding the Leprechaun’s pot of gold!
4. Your Heart Grows Even Larger: I never knew how much I would love our first daughter, Abbie, until she was born. She was simply amazing. Holding her and seeing her grow and develop was a real blessing. It was three years with Abbie before Chloe arrived. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about a second child. How could I “share” my love with another daughter. Again, the wisdom from those who have been there before said that you don’t share love- but your heart has a greater capacity to love. Guess what? They were right.
When Chloe arrived, I didn’t have to take any love away from Abbie- but there was the ability to love each one of them fully. While the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes bigger on Christmas morning, I feel like my heart grew even larger than that with two kids. Our capacity to love for children is a blessing.
And here’s another one for good measure…
5. Parenting Teaches You So Much About God: Through much of the Bible, there is language of God as a Father/parent. Being a father for nearly six years, there is much to learn from parenting about God (and more than this post can contain.) I want to give my children every blessing and opportunity possible. I am fallen and sinful- yet this is my desire. How much more is God’s desire to love us, bless us, and protect us? There are so many ways this could be discussed, and we need to consider how parenting can teach us about God.
What did you wish you knew before you had kids? How has being a parent taught you about God?