I was blissfully ignorant.
Still am most days.
I think I had a better parent voice before I was a parent, because I mean, I just KNEW what I would and wouldn't do. And then these kids show up and boy do they throw a wrench in my beautifully laid out plans.
I would breastfeed for 6 months (we lasted 6 weeks). I would sleep train at 8 weeks (child #1 was in our bed until she was 2, child #2 who is almost 4 apparently crawled in my bed last night without my knowledge). I would have all outfits laid out for the week, the lunches of lean meats, fruits and veggies, snacks of scrumptious goodies, the class treats properly pinterested, all the while keeping my house clean, laundry done each day, maintaining a job, friends, social life, etc.
Yep - blissful ignorance it was being a pre parent.
Reality hit with days where cheetos are breakfast, laundry is two weeks deep on the dining room table, supper is eaten on the coffee table in the living room because we want a picnic, a fort is constructed in the middle of said living room, and my daughter wears my 15-20 year old t shirts that I surely can't fit in anymore, but look like dresses on her with tights EVERY DAY OF HER LIFE. Except Sundays. Because she's a southern lady y'all.
During all of this chaos of life, I found my parent voice. I found that it really didn't matter if the outfits were name brand or the school treat was a bag of suckers. It would matter if my kids knew they were loved. It would matter if my kids knew that I am their number one fan, but will also let them fail because I will still be there cheering them on to get up, dust off, and go again. My parent voice was found in the simplest way: love. My kids taught me how to love others how I am called to do as a disciple of Christ. That silly day-to-day decisions are those that can bog us down and question our ability as parents and make us forget the simplicity and importance of showing our kids love.
I know the problems right now are not the same ones we will have in a few more years. My kids are 7 and (almost) 4. The issues will get harder - more emotional. Parenting sure isn't an easy road to travel.
We will all struggle as parents, as human beings. If we aren't questioning our own choices - chances are pretty high that someone else is for us. I am always wondering if my husband and I are "getting it right" for our kids. Sometimes that answer is no. Sometimes we fail them. Sometimes we let them down. But then they show up at home with artwork (pictured above) and we realize that through all the let downs, the oopses, the wish-I-hads... that they are giving us grace for those moments and seeing the overarching theme of love.
So yes, I think I found my parent voice. It's called love.