Too often I write about the struggles of parenting. Today I’m writing about how my kids have changed my life for the better. Sometimes these life improvements are hard to bring to mind. Especially when I’m preoccupied. Like when I’m doling out fish crackers in the supermarket to keep my babies from sucking on that disgusting chain that dangles from the shopping cart – every time. Seriously.
No, I reflect on these things when I’m putting Jack back to sleep at 2 a.m., or while I’m going over my to-do list in my head for six hours thereafter.
Here are the top five lessons my kids have taught me in no particular order.
I’m an adult
As a parent you have to lead by example. It’s often hard to do that when you act like a child yourself. I’m half ashamed to admit that I throw my own tantrums from time to time. I’m sure my husband can vouch for that. Stomping around, giving the silent treatment, or transforming into the Hulk when things don’t go my way – it’s not pretty. Afterward, I look at my kids, who are looking at me as if I’ve just stolen their job. They continue on and just ignore me. They’ve taught me what I should be teaching them. Tantrums get you nowhere.
Don’t sweat it
Kids don’t dwell on things like adults do. They’re not sitting up at night fuming over some insignificant moment in life, like a car cutting them off in traffic, or saying the wrong thing at a party. They fart and move on – literally. I watch in amazement as my two-year-old daughter Layla laughs off her mistakes and lets awkward moments just roll off her back. Not only have my kids left me no time at all to sweat the small things, they’ve taught me that they’re not important at all. Time could be better spent playing hide and seek.
To recognize happiness when it walks up and asks me if I’m happy
Layla often asks me, “Mommy, you happy?” To which I always reply, “I am, because I have you as my daughter.” This question (asked thrice daily), has taught me that it’s important to take note about the things that make me happy in life, and that is important to tell those things that make me happy in life, that they do indeed make me happy.
Farts are fun
I know, I mention farts way too much in my posts. But it’s a great example of how the smalls things in life can be fun. It’s not about extravagant toys. It’s about the people you’re spending your time with that makes it fun. My kids teach me this when I’m cutting holes in diaper boxes to turn them into robots, or when they’re giggling away because I’m making funny faces at them.
Every moment is a memory
Doesn’t that sound like a horrible Country song? I gave my Mom a book that I had written down all my childhood memories in for her 50th birthday. She couldn’t remember half of the memories I mentioned, and I couldn’t understand why – until I had my own kids. Everything my Mom did for me when I was a child made a huge impact in my life. Maybe it was insignificant to her (making Jello-shaped pumpkins and bats for Halloween), but it left a lasting memory for me. I’ve recognized this in my own daughter, when every morning she jumps out of bed and spits off every little thing we did the day before. She’s taught me that these moments and memories in life are important – that they’re making an impact. So I strive to make them count.
What have your kids taught you?