Parenting is the noblest job in the world. No rest days, no overtime pay, no holidays off. Its a 24/7 job, whether or not you are physically present. I was left with the task of raising my kids all on my own when their father turned his back on us. I had to be both mother and father - firm but loving, a role model for my daughter and two sons. That was difficult. Really difficult.
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I have been blessed to have found someone who helped me through my rough times. We've been together for almost seven years and counting. He gave me valuable advice on how to deal with raising teenagers. He took on the task of being a father to my children.
The children are all grown now. They have found themselves their own "special someones." It gives me joy to see them happy in their relationships.
Being a parent, I only want the best for my children. Here's my (unsolicited) advice to my children's "special someones."
1. Love them like you love yourself. My children are not perfect, but they are my treasures. I have nurtured them since the time of their conception. Please remember that.
2. My children chose you to love. Although it takes some time for me to get used to the idea that I am no longer the center of their world, I am happy that they find happiness in being with you. Trust one another. You'd never go wrong with that.
3. My children came from a broken family. It is not a disease. Do not take it against them that my relationship with their father did not work out. I did my best to raise them to be morally upright and responsible.
4. Should you find yourselves disagreeing with something, never go to bed without talking it over. Never meet each other head on, as this will not resolve anything. Be patient with each other. Never ever engage in a fight in front of your children. They do not deserve the trauma.
5. Never forget to respect each other's parents. You will not be where you are if it had not been for your parents. Remember that you will not only marry each other, you will also marry each other's families.
6. Do not get lost in the task of raising a family. Always set some time for yourselves. Never lose the habit of going out on dates. Some time spent alone - just the two of you, will keep your relationship healthy. I will babysit the (future) grandchildren for you.
7. Marriage is a partnership. Support each other. Draw strength from one another. In this day and time, practicality is the name of the game.
8. Put God in the center of your lives. Give thanks for the blessings you receive everyday. With Him as the foundation of your family, everything will fall just into the right place at the right time. Pray and pray frequently.
It may still be quite awhile before these pieces of advice are put into use, however, I'm doing this now when I feel the "wisdom" in me, before my hands curl up to be unusable, before my brain gets eaten up by Alzheimers, and before it is too late to even write or speak.
Parenting is really a never ending job, but I am happy to be blessed with the chance to be a parent. It is the greatest gift!