As busy as my life is now with science projects, PTA and helping my nine-year-old discover his inner athlete, I’m assured by those who have passed this way already that these are the best times. And I think I know what they mean. After all, my boys are old enough to play independently and fix their own breakfasts and young enough for me to still have nothing but great expectations for their future. They’re healthy, smart, polite and handsome. The sex and drug talks that I know I must have are still at least months away, and they still think “shut up” is a bad word. It’s a beautiful thing.
But even when I’m told this is the easy period, I’m wise enough to recognize that each phase I go through with my boys is special and will be missed when it’s nothing but a memory. That doesn’t stop me, of course, from having those moments when I wonder if I’m the only mom in the world trying to squeeze 30 minutes of “me time” in what feels like a 48-hour day.
But in the end, I know, like any good parent, that children are an investment, and what we put into them now will determine who they will become as adults. And even with that, stuff still happens. The scariest part of parenting is the moment we come to grips with the fact that we’re never really done. Whether your “kid’ is five or 55, if you’re a caring parent, that child is still yours, and you will always share their joy and pain.
We can’t protect them from heartaches or guarantee they will never have money issues or that we will always be able to bail them out if they do. What we can do is instill in them the kind of faith that they can count on when we aren’t there for them.
Another thing we can do is give them a healthy start. As we wrap up “Take a Loved One to the Doctor” season on the “TJMS,” I encourage you to take your children for regular checkups to the doctor and dentist – and believe me, as a single mom, I get that it’s easier said than done. Between, work and school, it becomes a major juggling act. But somehow, we’ve got to make it a priority.
While I’m blessed to have health insurance that covers my children, even with that, the cost of prescriptions are no joke. And for people with no coverage, sadly, the emergency room is often their only option. I can imagine how it is for a parent to have to wait until their child is sick enough to require emergency care before they’re able to get the attention they need. I’ve experienced watching my child lay in a hospital bed while in the intensive care unit – and thought they were going to have to admit me right along with him.
But whether it is their spiritual, emotional or physical health, preventative behaviors are always the best. Not to make you feel like you’re in nursery school, but an apple a day really does keep the doctor away.
That’s the best I can do on five hours sleep, but if you’ve got tips, prayers, idioms or anything else to help moms like us get through the rough times, send them my way!
Nikki Woods is senior producer of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.” The author of “Easier Said Than Done,” the Dallas-based Woods is currently working on her second and third novels. You can friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter: @nikkiwoods.