Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Two Biggest Challenges Facing Every Parent

I had the unexpected pleasure of caring for these identical twin girls today in the nursery at church.  Aren't they adorable?? 

This picture reminded me of something I've been wanting to blog about -- two parenting tasks, that while not identical, do share a lot of similarities.  In my opinion, these are the two most terrifying tasks that all parents face in their quest to raise responsible adults who are prepared to take their place in society:

1. Potty Training

2. Driver Training 

These two tasks will challenge the best of parents!   If you can overcome these challenges with grace and dignity, you can handle anything!  I mean, this is really where the rubber meets the road and where your true character is revealed!

While obviously not identical, these tasks are really very similar in many ways, as they both:

  • require readiness on the part of the child and the adult

  • necessitate patience and perseverance from both parties

  • have the tendency to be a bit messy at times

  • test the parent-child relationship

  • require nerves of steel and a strong stomach

  • make simple errands, like going to the grocery store, an adventure

  • require discernment over when to grip tighter, and when to let go; when to intervene and when to let the child "do it himself"

  • require the parent to acknowledge his total lack of control over both processes; while the child/young adult must take responsibility for his actions

  • require that the trainee learn how to perform within set boundaries, or as my husband would say, to "keep it between the ditches"   (Some find this harder than others in both arenas!)

I have reached an important milestone in my life.  Not only have I potty-trained all ten of my children, I have now "driver-trained" half of them!  Only five more to go!   Hooray!!  :)   However, I must admit that I need a breather before starting on the second half!!  I hope Christopher won't notice the fact that he is turning fifteen in October and that most 15 year olds get their learner's permit . . . .

I really think I need a new plan.  I just remembered that I can't take credit for potty-training all ten of my children.  Tiffany and Ashlyn helped me train a couple of the younger ones (I thought it was good preparation for their futures!), and independent little Bethany totally potty-trained herself!!  Perhaps that means I can draft some of  the older kids (who are over 21) to instruct the younger ones, and who knows, Bethany may teach herself to drive!  I wouldn't put it past her!!  At age 5 1/2 she already watches me closely while I'm driving and asks lots of questions!  Knowing her, she will pretty much have it figured out by the time she is 15!

So, as you've probably guessed by now, we have a new driver in the family.  Friday was the big day, as Joe passed his driving test and can now drive without me!!   (The truth is, it really should have been on Thursday, but someone we all know and love wrote down the wrong date on her calendar, so when we got over to the DMV, the nice lady at the desk quietly informed me with an amused look on her face that his appointment was on Wednesday, not on Thursday, and we had missed it and would have to reschedule!!)   Joe was very disappointed, but graciously forgave me, especially after I agreed to take him to Sonic for lunch and pointed out that I got him out of school for the afternoon anyway!  Fortunately, we were able to get an appointment on Friday afternoon, and he easily passed the test.  He really is a very good driver!

Congratulations Joe!

Just remember to keep it between the ditches . . . .


linked up with;

A Little R & R


Kristi Lea said...

How funny!! This post is so true and so hillarious! Congrats to your new driver! He looks great with his liscence...I'm sure he's just thrilled!

Mom's Coffee Time said...

Congrats on your milestone mom, I'm in the process of potty training our youngest and haven't even touched the drivers thing yet.... I CAN WAIT!!!! :) Great post, congrats to Joe, maybe we'll see him on the roads :)

dyslexic different thinking me said...

How true! Both are such milestones - PT & DT (Potty Training & Driver Training)
God's call in my life shows His sense of humor in that my girls have been PT'd and have had their driver licenses for years whilst I don't even have my young son PT'd yet! :-)

6blessings said...

Yes! I totally agree with you! But I have the added blessing of letting my husband head up the driver training. Which is great because he really didn't to his share in the potty training department. LOL:)

Trisch said...

Oh, how funny! Yes, many similarities, there, but like dh taught our oldest to drive!

And the others aren't interested yet! ;)

Hope you're doing well!



mommyx12 said...

HaHa, great post. I suppose moms with lots of kids get a couple things figured out by the time they're done!! But it still doesn't change the challenges! My twins came as babies 8 and 9 and I don't think I've overcome that challenge yet. Maybe when they're all grown up leave the nest I'll feel that way!!

Noel said...

Oh please don't tell me driver training is as bad or worse than potty training! This was funny and congrats to your son and you!

mommyx12 said...

Oh Yea. Did I leave a comment about the book? Can't remember. Anyway, I don't have your address anymore so if you want to shoot me another email I'll get that book out.

Have a great week.

Happy Busy Mama said...

I LOVE you. So, so funny. Congrats to Joe. Amy is right on his heels-driver's ed next week. With #5, I was overwhelmed with pregnancy, so John trained that one. His nerves are much better than mine for driving. My terrible depth perception has me hooping and hollering thinking we are going to hit something. Hilarious!! When they ride with me and I forget the are driving, then they know they have arrived. :-)

Rebecca's Refining said...

I loved your story! And the pictures, how adorable!!

I think the drivers training has been my toughest challenge. Though potty training can be frustrating, it does not become a matter of life and death like sitting behind the wheel of a car! It is really a reality check of how I like to be "in control"! It was a struggle for me to let the girls drive, but a good reminder to just sit back and pray, and remember God is in control of all things! :)

Abigail has hit the "legal age" herself for getting a drivers permit.....but it will be a while yet before we let her get behind the wheel of a car.....after all she still cant ride a bike straight....then there is the ADD personality.... and lack of maturity.....need I say more?

Congrats to Joe! And to have manageed to stay relatively "gray free" during all your many stressful milestones!! :) (so not fair!!!)

tlmalcolm said...

Loved your post! Reminded me of the difficulty Eric had potty training (he had such a strong willed personality that he decided this was one area he had total control of the situation) and this strong willed personality also came into play when he learned to drive. He learned with ease but challenged the rules in HS with a couple of speeding tickets. One of which caused him to loose his license for most of the summer and I had to drive him back and forth once again. I told him I was so happy that he had lost his license the summer before he headed off to college because we had the opportunity to visit more during our car rides. He did not appreciate my humor!:) And the part of you missing Joe's appt. reminded me of Tim's experience getting his license. In NH the day you turn 16 you can get your license. I wanted to wait until the next day but he told me he couldn't as he had waited his entire life to get his drivers license and it was just too much to ask to wait one more day!! Congrats to Joe! He looks so happy behind that wheel!!

Jules said...

lol! We have one son left to teach to drive. Considering he got into and moved his father's brand new work van at just 12 years of age without marking it, I think he's going to be the easiest of the lot! But if anyone wants to know why I've suddenly sprouted so many grey hairs in recent years, the answer is from teaching my teenage sons to drive!

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathy - mom of many said...

Cutie-pie twins! I have to agree with your assessment and comparison of potty training and driver-training. I only have one driving on her own. Nine more to go. If I didn't already have gray hair, I'd surely get it now.

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

I'm thanking you for the warning.

I'm getting ready to teach our 9th to use the toilet, but we haven't yet gotten to the driver training yet. So thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Terry said...

These are the two things I really could do without when it comes to child training! I can soooo relate! We have two left to teach to drive. I can't wait till that is over. The two youngest are 17 & 15 - we are a little slow to get the last ones started!

AngieC said...

That was funny. My oldest is 15 and youngest is 2... so this is the year to tackle both at once for me -the potty and the driver training!

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