More Than 18 Years of Parenting and I Still Have a Lot to Learn

BY: - 18 Aug '13 | Parenting

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BMWK Family We Need Your Help! Every comment that you leave on this post means that a vaccine will be donated to child in need. 

Son at 18This is a picture of my oldest child when he was 18 years old and a senior in high school.  It’s hard for me to believe that I even have a child that old. 

I almost feel like we have grown up together over the years. I’ve watched him grow into the resourceful young man that he is today.  Yes…he’s very intelligent, he’s handsome, he has a good heart and is very compassionate.  But resourceful is the best way to describe him, because that child (excuse can make a way out of no way. Whatever he sets his mind on doing, he will do!

And, as he’s grown…I’ve grown too. I am not the same scared 20 year old that had no idea what to do with this baby that I brought home from the hospital. Here are a few parenting lessons that I have learned over the years:

My Baby

Who wouldn’t want to kiss this chunky baby all day long!

Age 1/Mommy Age 21: Don’t rush any of their milestones. It’s very tempting to say: ” I can’t wait until he is potty trained”….or “I can’t wait until she is walking.” But before you know it, your child will be 18 years old ‘and you will be missing the times when you could sit them on your lap and kiss them all over.

Age 3 /Mommy Age 24: Keep it simple. For the most part kids are just happy to be doing something (anything) and spending time with you, their friends, or their cousins. I’ve spent time planning elaborate parties, and menus and buying gifts…when all he really wanted was a hot dog, some Legos, and friends to play with.

Age 5 /Mommy Age 26: This one might not happen to all of you…but you might have the urge to fight someone else’s kid.  I am not saying that you are going to act on this urge (I never have.)  But if your sweet baby comes home one day and tells you that ‘Little Johnny’ has been teasing him or hitting him, then the next time you see ‘Little Johnny’ at the bus stop…you are going to wish that you could magically turn yourself into a 5 year old kid for just one moment so that you could tell ‘Little Johnny’ a thing or two.  But then, you snap out of it.

Age 7/ Mommy Age 28 -  It’s OK to try things, but don’t put your kids into activities that they clearly have no interest in.  It’s a waste of your time, their time, and your money.  Here’s a clue: if you are fighting with them about getting ready for practice each time, then it means “they’re just not that into it…”

Son Plays Sports

He played a lot of sports early on. But, we eventually discovered he had a real passion for building things, and computers and technology and science.

Age 10/ Mommy Age 31: Your child is not the only one growing. Hopefully, you’re going to grow and mature as a parent too. As I age, I am striving to be a better person and mother.  Over the years, I have tweaked some of my parenting skills.  And, my son will tell you that there are a lot of things that I am doing differently now with his little sisters.  (i.e – At this point in my life, I didn’t want to hit ‘Little Johnny’ …instead,…..I might have given him the side eye…lol.. I was a work in progress.)

He is 14 and on his way to Homecoming dance. One day I looked up...and he was taller than me.

He is 14 and on his way to Homecoming dance. One day I looked up…and he was taller than me.

Age 15/ Mommy Age 36: Don’t Give up on Your Kids. You might come to a point where you want to stop asking about homework or keeping their room clean…but don’t give up..they still need you.

Age 18/ Mommy Age 39: Your kids may take a different path than you want them to take. You know how your GPS gives you at least 3 different routes to the same destination.  And of course, you will pick the route that will get you there in the shortest amount of time.  Or, since you have some experience in the area, you may pick a different route because you know it is rush hour or there is some construction.  Well when it comes to your child’s life, they may pick a different route than you would pick…they may go over mountains, they may stop at a rest stop,  or they might take a detour. But rest assured… they’re going to get there.

I often hear people say that they look forward to when their child turns 18 and moves out of their home…as if somehow, their parenting days will be over.  But, I quickly came to the realization that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s been 2 years since my son turned 18 and I am still learning lessons as a parent.

Son at 20 v2

The girls had a great time visiting their big brother. We are on the stairs of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Age 20/ Mommy Age (that’s not important…lol):   Letting go is hard…but necessary. Let’s face it, he’s a grown man now and lives over 8 hours away from me.  I really can’t be worried about whether or not he is eating broccoli or going to class. You have to let go for your sanity and theirs. Recently, his little sisters and I paid him a visit.  We were excited to see him, his new apartment, and to meet his girlfriend. Before I left, I scolded him on the condition of his apartment…..when what I really should have been doing was making sure he knows I love him and that I’m proud of him. He’s in school and he’s happy doing what he wants to do.  What more could a mom ask for? Pray for me y’all, I’m still a work in progress!!

BMWK – Please leave a comment below and let me know what parenting lessons you’ve learned along the way.  Or, leave my son a bit of encouragement. Or, just say Hi…any comment will do….a comment = a vaccine.

Shot-At-Life-Blogust-13-Vaccine-CampaignDuring Shot@Life’s Blogust, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about moments that matter. For every comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine (up to 50,000 vaccines). A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. We can change this reality and help save kids’ lives! 

 Shot@Life is an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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    This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Every time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action), up to $250,000, to the Global Moms Relay, to help improve the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide in support of MAMA, Shot@Life, and Girl Up.


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