What I have learned from a decade of parenting

Family time
This week my twin girls will be celebrating their 10th birthday. What??! How the heck did that happen?
My friend once told me that it would drive him wild when his older sister would tell him ‘the days are long but the years are short’ when he was in the weeds parenting. I can understand how a saying like that might make you want to roll your eyes when you are in the thick of it with little kids, but once they get older (say around 10ish?) this expression really does ring true. Don’t get me wrong, some days are still numbingly, painfully long, but I truly can’t believe it has been 10 years. 
We had to walk a long road to have our girls and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on our parenting journey so far (the good, the bad and the ugly). Here are some things I have learned parenting these past 10 years:

The girls around 6 months

1.We tried for years to conceive and in the end needed to go the route of IVF (I will talk a bit more about our infertility journey next month). I thought because our road to conceive was long and heartbreaking at times, that I would always feel grateful and recognize the ‘preciousness’ of being a parent. I do not. I have a confession to make, I find parenting hard. Like, really hard, and I am not always grateful. I remember when I was trying to get pregnant and couldn’t, nothing would set me off more than hearing a parent complain about how hard parenting was. I wanted to scream at them to count their blessings. Now, here I was complaining! After a decade of parenting twins, I am okay with saying, I find this tough. I love my girls more than anything, and I am grateful, AND (not but) some days it literally sucks the life out of me. 
2.I have learned that I need a lot of time to myself (which is a laughable concept most days). I often hide in my bathroom pretending to go to the bathroom just to zone out and be alone. I seriously keep a candy stash and some magazines and books in there for that purpose. I had no idea how much I need ‘space’ until I had kids.
3. Having children later in life can create the perfect storm of parenting young children while simultaneously experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause. This is not a good combo friends. I hear myself sometimes and cringe. Who is this cranky, irritable, angry person? Certainly not the same one that swore they would saviour every minute of being a parent if they could just finally get pregnant? For while I was in the habit of writing out 10 things I was grateful for at the end of the day. This forced me to look the good stuff throughout the day. I need to start doing this again.
4. I have two very different kids. For twins, these gals are about as different as they get. I have had to parent them both differently. Not one ‘method’ fits all. Thankfully having twins has taught me no one has the ‘golden method’ of parenting. I seriously have to work at parenting these girls in a way that works for them. Oh, so humbling. 
5. Having kids makes me want to be a better person- even though I often feel like I am a horrible mom at times (see # 3). Despite needing space (and not getting it), having raging hormones that make me feel unstable, knowing I have to continue to diversify my strategies, and almost never getting a moment to myself without hiding in the bathroom, this past 10 years has taught me that having kids makes me want to be better. A better mom, a better person, a better friend, a better wife, just better. Thank you, my beautiful girls, for this wild ride of a decade. 
– Jody

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