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What Parenthood Teaches You About Life

What Parenthood Teaches You About LifeLife can take the wind out of your sails, smacking you in the face with unexpected surprises.

Take, for example, being a parent. Before you were a parent, you probably had some strong ideas about how you would raise your kids. You knew what was right and what was wrong. What you would do and what you wouldn’t do. How your kids would behave and how they wouldn’t behave. Lucky you. You were blessed with ignorance.

Then the kids arrived. What a humbling experience.

So it got me to thinking… What does being a parent teach us about ourselves and life?

Once kids arrive, you now know that what you thought was easy is not. What you thought would work doesn’t. What you believed was simple and straightforward is infinitely complex and complicated. In short, you recognize that you didn’t really have a clue about what parenthood entails.

But you hang in there and learn these important lessons:

  • Though you struggle to stay true to your beliefs about what’s right and what’s wrong, you also appreciate that the best solution to many a family quandary is — “Whatever works.”
  • Family life, from afar, may seem charming. Yet, close up, it may be more accurately described as chaotic. There’s the external chaos (the stuff, the mess, the tug of wars) you must deal with as well as the internal chaos (your worries, disappointments, exhaustion). But you don’t give up. And you do your best to find moments of tranquility and, at times, revel in the chaos.
  • You thought that housekeeping was difficult before kids. Ha! Now, despite having lowered your expectations, it’s still a constant struggle to create order and organization. And yet you continue to work hard to make your home a comfortable place with enough order to locate whatever you’re looking for.
  • The wish to impose order in your life is not only about housekeeping. It’s also about not losing yourself. You want to be a person as well as a parent. So, you try hard in your busy day to not only take care of your family but also to do something to enhance your own well-being.

As you become older and wiser, you do not lose your cool when someone is absolutely certain that you’re handling a family matter all wrong. For now you know that to be absolutely certain about what’s right and what’s wrong, you must know very little about it.

What Parenthood Teaches You About Life

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Dr. Linda Sapadin, psychologist, success coach and author is proud to announce the publication of her new book, Overcoming Your Procrastination: College Student Edition – Advice for 6 Personality Styles available on Amazon. Now more than ever with remote learning, this book is a must-have. If you’re a perfectionist, dreamer, worrier, crisis-maker, defier or please, grab your copy. No longer a student? Get my book How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age – 6 Change Programs for 6 Personality Styles. Visit to subscribe to my free e-newsletter. Contact her at

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APA Reference
Sapadin, L. (2018). What Parenthood Teaches You About Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 21 Jun 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.