1. If you want to be the parent that spends time with your kids and raise them the way you dreamt, free time is only a few minutes. Or the few moment before you give whatever energy you have left at night to your spouse.
2. Boys and girls are so very different, and that is brilliant. My son figures out things that my daughter hadn't at his age and vice versa. He is physical energy all day except nap time. She is mental/emotional energy all day. They are amazingly different which makes a fun challenge.
3. The commercials of parents being thrilled when their children go back to school are ridiculous. I feel very sad when my daughter goes back to school and can't imagine how I will feel when Jason goes with her. When you love someone so deeply, joy comes when they return. I'm not saying I'm crying every school day. I'm very happy she's happy and learning. But I can't deny having a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when coming back from the bus stop alone.
4. Put the technology away. I admit I like my iPad and iPhone. I text and work from both. However, I do not want my son and daughter to remember me as hunched over looking at an iPad and not them. Jason actually reminded me of this when he was 17 month old. Laura and Jason were sitting cute on storage cubes and I was engulfed in email. He came over, stooped down, looked at me, babbled something pointing to Laura. Then he ran back to sit with her. I felt like he was telling me, "Put that away - we are growing here!"
5. Parenting styles can be completely different between spouses. As a couple, you laugh, get along, communicate and are loving. Then they tell your children something or ask them to do something and immediately you see red!!! Parenting as a couple can be as challenging as marriage. But stick with it, have an open mind and communicate.
6. Like Willie Nelson sings, "You are always on my mind," so are my kids. I try to think three steps ahead and help them live life smoothly. But things will break, feelings get hurt and things will be forgotten. However, I strive to tell them how much I love them by words and actions.
7. Love is amazing. Act in love, speak in love and let love bring happiness. Being stern, mean, rude or a disrespectful parent is so much more a boring horrible life. Let love bring the joy because that creates the best memories.