Ask almost any parent and they’ll tell you their child teaches them almost as much as they teach their child. It’s one of the best things about being a parent, if you ask me. Some of the lessons aren’t direct lessons from child to parent, but rather, are indirect lessons learned because of brand new situations you’ve never experienced before. I call these moments of sudden shifts in your view of the world “New Parent Revelations” and I’ve compiled a top 5 list of the most “enlightening” below.
New Parent Revelation #1 – The Environment
I always considered myself a pretty socially aware and contentious person, but after I had my son this awareness increased – dramatically. I think it’s part of being a parent in general – you just become less selfish in a lot of ways. I realized that it was MY responsibility to make sure that my son inherited an earth that was not polluted beyond repair. I didn’t go out and join the Sierra Club or Greenpeace or anything, but I am a LOT more responsible about the environmental issues I have control over. I recycle EVERYTHING, I conserve resources when ever possible and I support laws and legislation that takes the world and its natural resources into consideration and seeks to preserve what we have and restore what has been lost.
New Parent Revelation #2 – Sleep
My definition of what is “early” has shifted dramatically since I became a parent. Early when I was a teenager was anything before noon. In college, I had a few “early” classes that started around 10 a.m. I had to drag myself out of bed most mornings to make it there on time.
Sleeping in past 7 a.m. is sleeping late. Of course, if I stay up past 10:30 p.m. I’m living life in the fast lane. Parents realize very quickly that sleep comes at a premium once you have children. You take it when (and where) you can get it. You relish those few and far between days your children sleep later than usual (after you wake up in a panic, that is).
Sleep is more valuable than gold to a parent.
New Parent Revelation #3 – Heights
I’ve never been a huge fan of heights – you know, not like airplanes or even tall buildings. I was more afraid of hanging holiday lights up on the outside of my house and changing that hard to reach light bulb with the extension ladder. I’ve grown out of most of those fears now that I’m a parent. Most. But not all.
I’m now afraid of heights as little as a couch. Or as short as a dining room chair. Or even the second step up on a flight of stairs. Why do these heights scare me now? Because my nearly 2 year toddler can climb up on them and he has an uncanny knack for falling off of them! Thankfully I’m pretty sure toddlers are made out of the same material that Gumby is made of.
New Parent Revelation #4 – Peace & Quiet
Shhh… Do you hear that? Well, if you could hear what’s going on here, you’d be listening to a college football game, two dogs wrestling on the floor at my feet, the afore-mentioned toddler running around yelling at the top of his lungs, “GO BUCKS!” and me, banging away on the keyboard of my laptop. There is pretty much no such thing as peace and quiet in this house except when we go on vacation. Parents come to find out very quickly that peace & quiet can be very relative. It’s amazing sometimes, the amount of noise and commotion a parent can tolerate once they’ve gotten used to the shift in noise that having children brings. In fact, too much peace & quiet kinda creeps me out a little now. TOO quiet means they’re up to something!
New Parent Revelation #5 – Mortality
Everyone will leave this earth a some point. We all know that. Some of us figured that out at a very young age. For me, it was when my childhood pet, Mandy, “ran away from home” when I was about my oldest son’s age. Of course, she didn’t really run away and I didn’t buy the story when my parents tried to convince me that’s what happened. That was my first brush with mortality. I wouldn’t really come to know it intimately until my mother passed away when I was a teenager, though.
The revelation new parents have sooner or later is on a different level than revelations had as a child and even as a teenager. New parents realize that THEY are mortal. They also realize THEY are responsible for another life. Woah…I know. I have to sit for a minute, too…
We see ourselves becoming our parents.
Our parents become the grandparents.
Life marches on at its own pace. We are just along for the ride.