Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's A Journey, Not A Destination

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My one and only sister had her first baby a little over two months ago. Despite the fact that she is the opposite of me in about every way, she is following Babywise. She has watched me raise my children over the last five years and loves what Babywise produces. She is doing a fabulous job of it!

She called me last week stressed out. We all can relate, I am sure. She was feeling like she was failing somewhere. Her little 8 week old girl was sleeping at least 8 hour stretches, going down for most naps without a fuss, and sleeping perfectly for her first two naps each day.

Here is the problem. She was having a rough go with the last two naps, and especially having a rough time in the evening. She has witching hour.

My sweet sister was truly worried she was doing something terribly wrong since her baby wasn't 100% perfect. I guess it isn't just type A personalities that get this way; it is a mom thing :).

I gave her a pep talk. I told her that her daughter was doing awesome. Overall, things were going very, very well. I reminded her that she is only 8 weeks old. I also told her that for her first baby, she was doing very well. And much to my sister's credit, her daughter was not born as one of those easy angel babies you can't go wrong with. She worked hard to get where she is. They both did. This baby is also in the 90% for weight and 97% for height. She is doing so well.

As I rambled on with my pep talk, I came to the key phrase: "Remember, it's a journey, not a destination." This was it. The perfect line. It totally clicked for her. She loved the phrase.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that raising children is not about accomplishing some goal and then we are done. Yes, we have our overarching main global goal that our children grow up to be happy, serviceable, kind adults who contribute well to society. But that takes at least 18 years to achieve.

It's a journey. Not a destination.

I mean we need to enjoy each day for what it is. There will always be things to improve on and fix. There will always be things that aren't perfect. You will never achieve perfection with your children (for more than a couple of hours anyway). You will always have something you are working on. It might be sleep related, food related, or behavior related, but there will always be something.

It's a journey. Not a destination.

I mean you can't spend your life saying, "As soon as my baby can sit up, life is going to be perfect." "Once my baby is two, I will be much happier." Sure, some ages are easier for some than others. But life will not be roses once you meet some milestone you have marked in your head. There will always be challenges you are facing. If you spend your life wishing away your todays, you will find you regret your yesterdays.

It is a journey. Not a destination.

There will be challenges along your journey. There will be sweet joys along your journey. You will set and meet goals along your journey. You will have hard days that make you want to cry and you will have great days you wish you could freeze in time. All the while, it is a journey, not a destination. You will always be moving forward. You will never be at any point long enough to dig and pour a foundation. Putting up a tent might be too much work for the amount of time you will spend in one location. You won't just work for a couple of years and then sit back and sip lemonade for a while (maybe that is what grandparent years are for? I don't know yet :) ). So long as you are raising your children, parenthood is a journey, not a destination.

So stop and smell the roses. Enjoy what you see around you. But don't get too comfortable :) And don't get too uncomfortable. You will soon be moving on, whether you are ready to or not.

Parenthood is a journey, not a destination.



Linds said...

It's funny you post this, as I just wrote a blog post not too long ago about how we tend to wish ourselves out of the stages of life we're in. Not just with children, but in life in general-- from teh moment we are young we are always saying "if only i was 16, or if only I was married, etc." I think it's so important to keep that focus that it's just a phase during those hard times and that this too shall pass.

Nikki said...

Great post. Too many times I say, As soon as he is (such and such) age then it will be easier. I can't keep doing that. Every age is going to have some difficult thing to work through. I doubt it ever gets easy!

Heather said...

I **sooooo** needed to hear this today! Rught days are hard, yes, but when my little girl looks up at me with that genuinely happy smile of hers ... well, it's true what they say: nothing else matters!

Kelly Ford said...

SOOOOOOO true :-) I think this is right up there with understanding the "why vs how". These two things are really great reminders. Great post, as always.

Mom-mode said...

Thank you for the reminder as a new mom of a 3 month-old, I've been trying to implement babywise but we've had MANY interruptions. We live overseas and have had many visits as well as an unexpected transatlantic trip. This week we are still dealing with jet lag and I was getting frustrated that my baby still isn't sleeping through the night. Thanks for this reminder.

Jessica said...

thank you, thank you! very well said! just recently my daughter turned 1 and we were doing so well and she started really pushing our buttons with her attitude. I'm reminded by this post to enjoy every moment, every season no matter how tough it may be! :)

Kelly said...

Thanks for the post, Val. I needed to hear that.

Talita said...

Wow, I love this post!! You really have a way with words and the way you put it pretty much summarizes everything: "Parenthood is a journey, not a destination". I've got to remember that. = )Thanks!

Kristy Powers said...

I have to add my thanks as well. Your post almost brought tears to my eyes. My younger son just turned one, which for me is one of those tough stages, and my older son is testing his independence and determination on me. But there are great things that happen every day, too, and I cannot wait for some day in the future to enjoy those things. They will have changed into other things by then. Your post touched a chord!

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome everyone!

Thanks for all of your added thoughts, also :)

Kristin L. said...

Great post! I need to remind myself of this DAILY! I often approach parenting as an over-bearing, GOAL oriented job with a million checklists that I need to keep checking off!!!!... I'm sure I would enjoy motherhood much more if I treated it as a journey! : )


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