If I Had To Parent All Over Again

So, funny story. 

First, let’s get the TMI stuff out of the way. I’m deep into my 40s, but my monthly cycle has been very regular. (There’s a reason I’m telling you this, sit tight.) We took a trip to France recently and I was scheduled to start my period while on the trip. Well, my very regular cycle never arrived. “It’s the stress of travel and time zone changes, that’s all it is,” I told myself. 

It’s true, travel and changing time zones does impact your hormones and, in turn, a woman’s cycle. We returned from our trip, and still … nothing. I am of the age when our cycles stop being regular so this is totally normal, right? But I was starting to panic. I was 14 days late. 

Breaking The News

I carefully walked up to Penn as he was editing a video. I tapped him on the shoulder and he slid his headphones around his neck. I said, “Hey babe. I’m sure I’m not. I’m sure it’s just my age and the travel, but ….”  I trailed off.

His eyes widened and he calmly said, “Please finish your thought.”

I squeaked out, “What if I’m pregnant?”

He had an audible gasp that made the dog jolt awake. 

We love our children. We love being parents. I start hiccup crying just thinking about the day we move them into their college dorms. But we are also eagerly planning our “empty nest” era. I wipe those tears and think about the long weekends we can take and plans we can make when our schedules become ours again. 

Penn sat down on the little couch in his home office and said, “First of all, I’ve had a vasectomy so there would be some questions.” We both laughed, but at the same time we’ve all read the stories of the vasectomy failures and those later in life “surprises.”

What To Do Next

Quickly, we started to think about what life would be like with teenagers and a newborn.  I said, “I’d move us to a beach town and never sign this new one up for any sports that required weekend play.” We laughed about how we’d do life differently if we had to parent from the beginning again. 

I absolutely love the people our children have become, and I know they are these people partly because of how we’ve raised them. But I can’t help but think:

Did we worry too much about things that don’t matter?

Did we take them to too many practices for sports as opposed to prioritizing time with friends and family?

Were we too strict with bedtimes and naps? 

Did we rescue them from situations instead of letting them build more resilience? 

We circled around this topic for days waiting for my body to reveal the answer. (I was too embarrassed to walk into a store to shop for a pregnancy test.) So I logged on to Instacart and added a test and about 10 other things I didn’t need so it would really confuse the poor delivery driver… as if they’d care what was in the order. 

What I Knew All Along

When the tiny pink box arrived, I felt 29 again. I took a deep breath and peed on the stick. The panic of just thinking about life with a newborn made my breathing shallow and I started to sweat. The 30 seconds it took to reveal the answer felt like four days. But there it was, just as all reason and logic would suggest, I was NOT pregnant.

Like clockwork, I started the very next morning but the conversation continued. Do we need to make a shift in our parenting? Are there rules we can relax for the sake of our sanity? 

I don’t know the answer but it has made us both more aware of the way we’re raising our teenagers now. I know there’s a lot of parenting ahead, and that it doesn’t stop when they leave the house. 

So now, I ask you… if you had to parent all over again, what would you do differently? We want to tackle this topic in an upcoming podcast and include your responses! Email us: podcast@theholdernessfamily.com or leave us a voicemail: 323-364-3929. 

Thanks for reading… Xo.