Chicago mom: Just when I thought I had this parenting thing down

The first time my husband and I saw those two pink lines, we were elated. Then surprisingly, I was extremely confident. Despite all the horror stories I had heard about birth and parenting, I was sure that I could handle everything. After all, I adore babies. How bad could this be?

With the birth of my oldest son, people were amazed at how laid back and calm I seemed. I was actually pretty good at changing diapers, and nursing came fairly easy to me. I read every book there was on sleep training, and I could swaddle almost as well as the nurses in the hospital.

A few months later when we found out I was pregnant with child number two, there was a little more of a surprise. However, I was again elated and thought, well, I have the baby thing down for sure. This will be a no-brainer. I swaddled, nursed, and pureed, and diapered another little one.

Then came the third. Finally, after the peeling ourselves off the bathroom floor out of total shock, I figured, hey at least we’ve done this before. With birth of my youngest child (mind you it was only 33 months after the birth of my oldest), I hadn’t forgotten anything. I kept up with a rigorous nursing on-demand schedule all while parenting and potty training two toddlers.

I felt like superwoman. Like I could accomplish anything.

I often joked that I could easily have a fourth child, and even at the mere mention of this my husband cringed and many times joked back, “Well, it won’t be MY child.”

It isn’t as if this time was particularly easy, it was serious manual labor and a lot of sleepless nights, and cleaning up messes.

However, if there is one thing I am good at it is manual labor.

Then last week, this happened: My oldest started kindergarten. With it came notes, and school supplies, and hot lunch order forms, and allergy medical forms, and new gym shoes, and packing lunches, and bus stops. If there is one thing I am terrible at, it is filling out forms.

This is VERY unfamiliar territory to me. Just when I thought I had this parenting thing down, the kids started getting older, and now, I have no idea what I am doing. Needless to say, I have some books on hold at the library, and for now I am winging it, but I think I will be OK.

After all, if there is one thing I am awesome at it is loving my kids. Honestly, that’s all that matters.

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