Let me break this down for you. From the time our children are born and turn 18, there are 940 Saturdays. Think about that. 940 Saturdays. Once our kids reach high school, there’s a mere 200 Saturdays left. For my husband and me, this boils down to 168 Saturdays left before our oldest turns 18. Then it hits me—I have probably spent a majority of those Saturdays surviving parenting, not growing or thriving as a parent.

When You’re Surviving Parenthood

I remember when I was pregnant with our oldest. I read every baby book, magazine, and article possible. I was going to follow all of the recommendations on when to introduce vegetables, fruits, whole milk, potty train, etc. I was bound and determined to have this parenting thing down—to thrive as a parent.

In all reality, my husband and I were trying to survive a colicky baby, sleepless nights, a baby that hated everything she slept in except her car seat, survive a new job, a new town…actually, we were just surviving. I absolutely don’t want to just survive the Saturdays I have left with her.

There definitely is a reason our second child’s middle name is Grace. Her strong-willed personality will move mountains some day. But seriously, could her strong-willed personality just listen to me now? She is teaching me the importance of standing up for what you believe in, yet I’m also learning plenty about grace. I absolutely don’t want to just survive the Saturdays I have left with her.

Our youngest…he pretty much has known nothing other than being carpooled around to all of the various events we attend. He also is growing up with two moms in the house (yes, our middle child thinks she is also his mom). If he had his way, the girls would be forced to quit everything, and we would stay home and relax. I absolutely don’t want to just survive the Saturdays I have left with him.

How to Thrive, Not Survive Parenting

I often reflect on what I can do better to thrive as a parent rather than just survive. Looking through photo albums, through my Facebook memories and just looking at my children, I remind myself, “Extend yourself some grace, Shelly. Some days may feel like you are surviving, but look at how your children are thriving.”

Knowing my children are thriving makes me realize I’m not done growing as a parent. One area I want to grow in is simplifying our home. Lessening the distractions we have in our house so we can enjoy our time together. My husband and I did something drastic at the beginning of January—we cancelled our cable. Now this may not seem like a big deal, but I want to tell you that this is going to be one big step toward thriving as a parent. We have just simplified our lives, and I decided this is going to allow us time together to:

  • Sit around the table a little longer
  • Serve others more
  • Have family game nights
  • Encourage more reading

I don’t want to just survive parenting the next 168 or 377 or 500 Saturdays. I want to thrive as a parent. I want to be present more, share a little more joy, and enjoy the adventures. Most importantly, I want my family to have the best of me.

Spend Time Together as a Family with Bryan Kids’ Club

Looking for fun ways to spend time with your kiddos ages 3-12? Join Bryan Kids’ Club. Throughout the year, Bryan Kids’ Club hosts fun seasonal activities. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and create lasting memories. Join today!

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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