Parenthood is a huge challenge and an awesome responsibility. If you also want to instill character, values and morals into your children, being a good parent is close to impossible.
I knew when I married my non-Catholic husband that having children and raising them well would be challenging, but my parents belonged to different faiths and it hadn’t stopped me from developing into an upstanding adult with sound principles.
Baby no. 1
When our home pregnancy tests came back positive in advance of our first baby, the thundering reality of motherhood hit me, perhaps for the first time. I was going to be responsible for growing a new life. Suddenly it became much more important to take care of myself; after all, my body wasn’t just mine anymore.
When our son was born two weeks after his due date, he was 9 pounds, 11 ounces and took 36 hours of labor to deliver. Holding Ben, feeding him, rocking him to sleep – these things felt natural and right for both my husband and me.
Baby no. 2
Our firstborn was full of energy and it took four years for us to gather enough strength to have a second baby. Our second son came along weeks after his due date at 11 pounds, three ounces in a six-hour, natural delivery.
He has always been a big boy. At 24 years old, he stands 6 feet, four inches and weighs 240 pounds.
Baby no. 3
When we found out we were unexpectedly expecting for a third time, I spent a few weeks in shock. Thinking our family was complete, we’d purchased the perfect home for four people – accommodating five would make things cramped.
Welcoming our only daughter made everything worth it. This time the baby arrived six weeks early; Emma Rose had to spend seven days in the CHOC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but she emerged perfect and never had a lingering health issue.
Today she is spending a semester studying in London and will transfer to a UC campus this fall. She plans to teach at the college level like her professor father.
The rewards of raising three great kids
When the kids were small, it seemed we would never get enough sleep. We joke that the ’90s are a lost decade for us, because we operated in a constant haze of exhaustion.
Surely, I thought, this is the hardest time to be a parent. Little did I know how challenging the teen years would be. Or, how hard it is to see your adult children making questionable decisions.
Thankfully, my husband turned out to be a nearly perfect father. We agreed 99 percent of the time on the best course of action when it came to child-rearing.
Our united front was a blessing. Both of us knew that we had each other’s backs and that we had everyone’s best interests in mind when we made decisions about the children.
Our three kids grew up knowing that Mom and Dad were strict but fair, kind but firm, and loved them more than anything in the world.
Whether it was because we raised them well or they are inherently good people, today we are pleased that they are adults with solid work ethics, excellent intellects, and deep reservoirs of concern and compassion for others.