Go check out my giveaway here and then come on back orrrr read this, then go enter! Mmmm, soup!
I’m far from an expert, after all, I’ve only had this gig for six years, but there are so many things that I’ve learned. They have to be only the tip of the iceberg, though. Being a mom teaches you so many things. So many. I’ll start the list with ten, but I really want to know what being a mom has taught you (ok, or dad or aunt or uncle or just a person who hangs around kids.
My Top Ten Things I’ve Learned As A Mom
10. Kids have a reason for everything they do. We may not understand that reason. The reason may leave us rolling our eyes or groaning or sighing in frustration, but they always have a reason. It’s part of our job to figure out what that reason is and help them understand if it’s a good reason or not and figure out how to best reason their way through the situations they come upon in life.
9. There will always be something I regret. Who didn’t think they were going to be a perfect parent – or at least “better” than our parents? Nonetheless, there will always be moments where I wish I could hit the rewind button and do it over again. And yet, we do the majority of things to the benefit of them. They’ll turn out well in the end, even though we’ll have days that we wish we could forget.
8. Sleep is for the weak. I remember (vaguely) the days when I wouldn’t wake up until the afternoon. I remember lazy days when I may not have actually fallen asleep for a nap, but I came awfully close. I remember being exhausted from a long week and going to bed when I got home from work. Now? I laugh. Those first few months as a mom – especially as a second time mom – I still look back on those days and wonder how I survived on so little sleep. I functioned – not just managed, but actually functioned – with almost no sleep. While sleep is nice, we can do without. And we do. Regularly.
7. Things really aren’t that disgusting. Vomit? Ok, so I still don’t do vomit. Fortunately the wee ones aren’t pukers, and Mister Man is good at making it to the toilet on the rare occasion when he throws up. But drool on my hand or shirt? Please. I don’t even notice it now. Wiping someone else’s bottom? Ha! Blood? Well, I’ll be honest and admit that this never bothered me before children. But really, some of the things I do? I just step back and shake my head sometimes. Before I was a parent, no way could I do half this stuff.
6. Simple decisions, aren’t. How hard is it to choose an outfit for the first day of school? How hard to choose a doctor? What sports do they play? How many? Should we encourage this friendship? Is this the right school? Are we putting them on a path to be happy in life? The things we have to decide, day after day, are sometimes heart-wrenching and sometimes silly. But oh how I wish I had a crystal ball to know that the decisions I’m making are the “right” ones – even knowing now that there is no one right answer.
5. I’m far more patient than I ever thought. I have yet another talent I never thought I did. I never saw myself as a patient person. I had my fair share of instances where I grew frustrated over something insignificant, where I just couldn’t deal with any more. But since kids? My well of patience grew. Maybe it’s something in the hormones that finally lets this part of your brain develop, but oh the things that I let roll off my back now that before children would have had me spinning in circles….
4. I want better. As a childless person, I thought I had my life pretty well under control. I did the right things with regards to recycling and eating well and balancing my life. Now that children arrived, I realized how shallow so much of that was. There is so much more that I can do and that I should do. I’ve realized what’s really important in life, and I strive to get there. I don’t always succeed, but that view of what is better and what I want is right in front of me every day. And I’m never going to stop reaching for it until I get there.
3. I can have more fun for free than I can for $500. Oh how my priorities have changed. While I was never a spendthrift, I had my time in life where I loved doing “big” things. I loved going on ski vacations with my friends where we ate out at fancy restaurants at night and skiied all day. I loved going to benefits for my favorite charities where I dressed up in my formal duds, bought my expensive tickets, and won my silent auction items. I can’t tell you the last time I did any of those, although I know it was before children. Now my fun consists more of squatting on the floor trying to make the perfect Lego creation or chasing the wee ones around at a park or working together to make our favorite granola.
2. There’s never a happy medium. Before children, my husband and I saw both sets of our parents about the same amount of time, in fact we probably saw his more due to visiting for football games. But since the wee ones were born, my in-laws have visited three times. When they visit, they sit on our couches all day or visit the casinos. They don’t have or push for a strong relationship with their grandchildren. My parents? Oh, I’ve written about them before. They love the wee ones. They moved ten minutes away from us. They are my childcare, and the wee ones frequently prefer their (spoiling) company to ours. Too much or nothing at all. We make it work, of course, but somehow I wish for the right balance.
And the Number One Thing I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Parent?
I love more than I thought I could. Watching the wee ones run up to me with a smile on their faces? It warms my heart. Seeing their joy brings me joy. Watching them in pain destroys me. And it isn’t just them. Watching the world around me, they color it – and me – with joy. Strangers touch my heart far more than they did before. And really, that’s one gift I wouldn’t trade for all the sleep in the world.
So what have you learned?