1. Things are not as black and white as I tend to think they are. Period. Life, and parenting especially, is just more gray and that's O.K.
2. Some kids are just plain hard to raise. This is not the fault of the parent, I repeat, this is not the fault of the parent or because the parent lacks good parenting skills. It's also not because the child is rotten. This has been a big eye opener for me. Some children are simply harder than others. If your child is generally easy and you have more good days than bad, thank the Lord. If your child is more strong-willed/high maintenance/needy or whatever you want to call it and you feel like most days are a struggle, pray for strength and get some supportive friends who acknowledge that your child is a tough one. I find that when other people acknowledge my reality, it makes me feel better. This is not to excuse bad behavior that should be corrected, it's just to say that some kids require A LOT more energy to parent well than others and that's O.K.
3. I'm more "career minded" than I thought. This has been very difficult for me to come to terms with. Here I was, a stay at home mom, doing what I had always dreamed of doing and yet I found myself frustrated, lonely and generally unhappy about the reality of a whole day with nothing to do but care for a 1 year old. It's hard for me to even write this because so much of my pride did not want to admit that I wasn't actually loving my staying at home reality. (Disclaimer: not to be confused with not loving and adoring my child, just not loving the stay at home lifestyle with a very young child). I put a lot of pressure on myself to love staying at home because I knew it was the "right thing to do". And by the way, I still believe that.
I still believe that parents need to raise their children and that a child's mother is irreplaceable in the early years of life. However, what this looks like practically speaking has changed for me. I personally am still committed to being home with my children when they are not in school. I'm happy with that decision and I feel it's right for our family. However, I'm pursuing some work from home ventures that are very fulfilling for me that require me to work outside the home a couple hours a week. At this point, I have a babysitter come about once a week for a couple hours so I can get some work errands done and then Jackson covers any other time I need. At this point in our life with pre-school aged children, a few hours a week outside the home is all we are comfortable with. However, when my children are in school, I'm certain that I will want to increase my work load. Before I had children I would have told you that I did not desire a career outside the home in any capacity. The bottom line here is I've learned to give myself grace and that there's freedom in how every family works this stuff out. What is right for us may not be right for you and that's O.K.
4. A full quiver for us might mean 2 kids. If my mother-in-law is reading this she is probably cringing or crying :) Of course, we will take it one kid at a time but we're thinking this baby might complete the Andrews family. It makes me laugh to think that before Parks I went around telling people I wanted four, or five (gasp!) children! Ha. Ha. Ha. The joke was on me. If I had four or five children I can honestly tell you I would be in an insane asylum. You truly have no idea what kind of parent you will be until you have a child. And, equally as important, you cannot predict what kind of child you will have. Parks is a wonderful child, I had just underestimated the amount of sheer effort and energy it would take to raise him and frankly, I'm not sure I'm up for more than 2. And guess what, I'm learning that's O.K.
The overarching theme here as you can see is "It's OK!". It's really ok. I feel like there should be a Bob Marley song on right now in the background. Two years of parenthood have mellowed me out, and I think it's a good thing.