A friend of mine recently sent me this New York Times Article about life lessons a woman learned in her 40s. At one point she says, “Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.” It made me think, we as parents are always so hard on ourselves and others about parenting, and really we are all just trying to get through the day. Maybe there are some life lessons so far that I have learned in the 5 years of being around my nephews, nieces and my own girls. Here they are:
- There are not many right and wrong ways to do things – do what works for you and your children.There will ALWAYS be people around you that will judge you – but at the end of the day, they are not living in your home, with your supports, and your kids. So, don’t pay anyone else any mind. Just keep going.
- Kids are resilient. If you feel like you are ruining your kid – chances are you aren’t. As long as you are doing your best to give them their necessities – which some people have blown out of proportionate reality – then they will be fine. Love and support (alongside basic human needs like food water and shelter) go a long way.
- Forget the rat race… It seems these days that because other people kids are in karate, swim, dance, tumbling, gymnastics, singing and art at the age of 3, there is some unspoken pressure that your child should be doing all those same things. I really believe that kids just need the chance to be kids. All these activities are fine, but not when they consume their entire life. My fondest memories are of playing in the backyard and making Double Dare challenges with melted cheese!
- Take time out for yourself. If you are energized and rested, chances are you will be a LOT more tolerant and patient with your kids. If someone offers help, take it. If your grocery store has a little kids area where you can leave your toddlers for books and games, use it. If you feel like you need help, ask for it. You would be shocked at how many friends that offer to help actually mean it (granted these are mostly the friends that don’t have their own kids yet). Take turns with other parents where you watch all the kids one night so they can go out, and they can watch another night so you can go out! Even though kids are our world, there is still much needed ME time!
- Enjoy the moments in real time. Get away from your phone, computer, iPad, etc. In today’s world, we are all so busy capturing the moments, then spend time editing, posting, sharing, tweeting, insta-ing, FB-ing. And in ALL the time you just spent doing that, you missed the cute gesture that happened right after the picture. If you can, spend the time really being there and enjoying the moment, you will more likely remember it and it will be a part of you, rather than capturing it in a picture and then trying to remember what actually happened right before/after that picture. I agree that some things are worth capturing. But in your every day lives, give yourself and your family media free time to just enjoy being who you are and who your children are becoming! Here is one of my favorite videos depicting this very phenomenon!
- Lastly, enjoy this age. Whatever age your children are, enjoy them! Enjoy their current interests, curiosities, friends, etc. Sometimes we are all so busy, that we forget to look at how much our babies face changed since she got teeth, or how long her hair is when the curls straighten out, or how she just had a 2 inch growth spurt in 4 months, or that your little ham is obsessed with walking/running around with her hands in her pockets! Yes, these are the little things that when you look back in 15 years, you will want/try to remember. It really does go by SO fast!
What are your life lessons that you are learning as a parent, friend, relative, babysitter of little ones? Please do share!