Did you see what I did there? I know, pretty clever considering you’re reading a blog about how parenting is more similar than you might think to…plants.
Yes, that’s right. One thing I know a lot about is houseplants. And as a postpartum doula and mom to two elementary school-aged kids, I know a little bit about parenting too. So what do the two have in common? More than you might think.
1) Everything Needs Sunshine to Grow
I’m a bit of a collector when it comes to house plants. Right now I have over [bleep] different kinds of plants (sorry that number had to be redacted for my own confidentiality lol) and while they might thrive in different growing conditions, the one thing they all have in common is they need SUNLIGHT.
Sure some plants might need more than others. But they all need it.
And YOU do too!
Parenting is hard. When you have a newborn, your days start to run together in an endless loop of feeding, changing, burping, repeat, repeat, repeat. Throw in some sleep deprivation and you get the picture. Life with a newborn is not always easy. And even if your kids are older, it doesn’t make things any easier. Add a few more kids and things can be downright chaotic.
So take a deep breath and go outside. Soak in some Vitamin D. Feel the sun on your face. If you have a fussy baby, the change of scenery can be enough to calm them down. Take a walk with those older kids to get the wiggles out.
No matter what you do out there, just get outside and get some sunshine. It will make you feel better, promise.
2) Patience. Patience. Patience.
Sometimes I expect immediate results. Like, I exercised four times this week, how come I haven’t lost all the weight yet? Or, I just fertilized you little plant, grow, grow, GROW. I also habitually check plants that I am propagating, looking for new roots.
And then I remind myself, plants take patience. And so does parenting. A lot of it.
Whether we’re struggling with getting breastfeeding established in the very early days or praying for a night of uninterrupted sleep or wondering if our toddler will ever use the potty, we all need patience. Especially when we feel like comparing ourselves to all these perfect parents we see on social media.
Give yourself grace and patience. These parenting milestones don’t happen over night.
3) It’s Okay to Get Rid of What Isn’t Working
There are some plants that thrive in my front room and make me feel like I have the greenest thumb around. My trailing golden pothos, my lovely green jade, even my sunny star croton is loving life right now. But then there are other plants that make me hang my head in shame - I’m looking at you fern. No matter what I can’t seem to keep certain plants alive. But that doesn’t make me a bad plant mom.
I give myself permission to get rid of what doesn’t work and find what makes me happy.
I’m not telling you to get rid of your kids if they don’t spark joy. Sorry. No, what I’m saying is that it is okay to change course.
Maybe you said you’d never let your baby use a pacifier or you’d be the type of mom that made all their baby food from scratch. But if you’re in the weeds with parenting, it is OKAY to do what works and makes you (and your family) happy. Buy some squeeze pouches from the grocery store if that makes life easier. Let your toddler watch a little more TV while you take care of your newborn.
Find what works for you, even if it’s not what you thought it would be.
Remember as you go through life, we all grow at different speeds - plants. babies, and parents. And that is okay.
(And if you can’t keep your houseplants alive, you’re probably over-watering them. But don’t forget to give your kids water - parenting and houseplants are not alike when it comes to that.)
So tell us, are you a plant person? Or do you wear your Plant-Killer badge proudly?