As a huge 'fan girl' and a Mom of a 'little rebel' (see what I did there?) I must admit that a huge portion of my life revolves around Star Wars. I blame my older brother and my mom. They ruined me for life. The object of my geeky fan obsession grew into a model for how I would be handling motherhood. As I have grown into my own as a parent I have come to realize much of this life is about learning to be Jedi AF. Much like Master Yoda and Luke Skywalker, it doesn't matter how late you enter the game you will struggle, and that is how you will learn. The Force will be with you. Trust me.
Padawan Phase: This is the Jedi Parent in training. During that first year everyone goes through the ups and downs of learning what to actually do with your youngling. These are the times when everyday brings something new to learn and through those lessons you become more and more "force sensitive." Don't worry. You will get the hang of it, but in the moment it all seems like foreign territory. You'll be peed on, pooped on, and barfed on, and to make it really awesome, probably all of those at once while at Target or some really special family occasion. The first time this happens you will undoubtedly freak out. It's ok, we all do it. I know it seems like other parents have it all handled; they seem to have it all under control. Here's a secret, they didn't the first time. Real Talk: No one really has it all together, we are just more prepared now. We can sense the dark side because it's all too familiar at this point.
I had a Padawan moment pretty early on. I needed to go run some errands with him in tow. He seemed fussy, but I figured it was gas. I was told to rub his back and pat him gently if he had gas and constipation (which he did) so I rubbed, as instructed by some Jedi baby nurse...but she failed to tell me to beware of projectile poop. My beautiful little rebel shat all over me, the carrier, his baby blanket, and somehow it even ended up in the diaper bag. The only lucky thing about this situation was that it was in the parking lot of Whole Foods, not actually in the store. I was able to quickly change him and get him somewhat cleaned up...but I drove home with baby poop all over ME. Good times. I thought he had exploded like the Death Star, and we both smelled more like a dead Tan-Tan. Needless to say, I haven't left my house without a full change of clothing for both of us in the car for three and a half years!
These youglings don't just come to us with a handbook, nor does any really hand you a your child and say "I'll be here 24/7, just in case you need me, and I will teach you everything you need to know and hold your hand the entire time." Reality check! That doesn't happen!! This is, however, the point in your training to learn to rely on your Master-Padawan relationships and learn from your friends and family...cause they have been in the battle and they know their skills. Get to know other parents with older children, lean on family, and have a group that you can trade tips with, even online support like FB groups have helped me in the past.
Padawan Parents, you will be forced out of your comfort zone, made to endure things you never thought you would do. You will have to let down your guard and be willing to admit you need help. It's totally normal. None of us know what the hell we got ourselves into for the first year or so. (If someone tells you different, they're lying!!) Try to remember, this is also the parenting phase when all of the amazing firsts happen. First smile, first tooth, first awkward roll and clumsy crawl, first giggles and babbles will melt your heart. It's all a balance of wonderfully excellent, beautiful, terrifyingly awful and very, very gross...all in one.
There are levels to this whole deal. Just when you think you have Padawan phase on lock, you graduate to "Jedi" and then the struggle gets real...
Keep following me for the next in this series The Jedi Parent.