It seems as though I am constantly telling my kids not to do this, not to climb on that, not to hit each other, not to, not to, fill in the blank.
But every now and then, I stand in amazement when I see them do something pretty badass (and inspirational as well)—things that I’ve considered doing that would change my life for the better.
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING, MAKE A LOT OF NOISE
Reality: I simply cannot turn on the TV and actually hear anything because of all the noise my daughters make. It’s a Murphy’s Law thing. It’s usually Mama gimme that toy. Mama’s tired, maybe a little later? Mama gimme that toyMama gimme that toyMama gimme that toy..….I get so fed up that I find myself actually giving in. Pretty much every time.
Takeaway: If you really want something, just keep asking for it, and chances are, you will receive it.
Reality: This one is huge. You can only feel this if you have a child of your own (although I’ve also heard the same thing from pet owners). I sometimes need to remind myself that (for now) as their mother, I am the biggest part of my daughters’ world. Even through tantrums, time-outs, and the other difficulties in raising a child, I feel so lucky that they still keep running back to me.
Takeaway: As much as possible, love without conditions and feel gratitude in your heart always.
Reality: Pumpkin and Peanut fight ALL. THE. TIME. Over anything. A piece of paper. A plastic cup. I’m basically their referee, breaking up their arguments and forcing them to kiss and makeup. The thing is, when they hug and say sorry to each other, they immediately begin to play nicely with each other (for the time being). They also don’t hate me very much for lecturing them either.
Takeaway: Don’t hold onto grudges, even if it feels like that’s all you can do. Life’s too short to stay angry at anyone, especially over a plastic cup. It may seem important now, but will it really matter in six months?
DON’T PANIC IF YOU MAKE A MESS
Reality: My kids are really good at this, as in, making a mess, and then not panicking about it. I, the commensurate neat-freak (hey, I love clean lines, ok?) am not cool with this. Well, I’m a little cooler with it now, because, hey, that’s life folks. Life gets messy and then you clean it up. Or your kids make a mess, and then you clean that up too.
Takeaway: Messes can be cleaned. And the house doesn’t need to be perfectly spotless all the time. Lighten up.
SMILE WITH ALL YOUR TEETH
Reality: I love to tickle my kids. Especially when they’re not expecting it. They have this smile—mouth open wide, all teeth and no shame. They laugh until they are breathless, with no inhibitions.
Takeaway: Don’t be embarrassed to smile wide and laugh loud. Happiness is nothing to be ashamed of!
TAKE A SIESTA
Reality: My kids, one a toddler, the other a preschooler, still take naps. At the same time. Praise God. Not only does this give me a little peace and quiet, but it allows me to take a little nap—er, siesta—of my own. Whoever said naps were just for kids has never benefited from the restorative powers of a good siesta.
Takeaway: Take a break during the day, if only to close your eyes or listen to relaxing music. I promise you won’t be cranky later!
GREET EACH MORNING WITH GLADNESS
Reality: Almost every morning, my kids wake up with a smile on their faces. Peanut immediately starts singing a song from a cartoon, or asking for breakfast over and over. Pumpkin reminds me of the story she heard at bedtime the night before, and then runs off to start a new adventure with her toys.
Takeaway: Instead of complaining about how tired you feel in the morning, be thankful for the day, embrace each moment, and write a whole new page in your story.
What important life lessons have you learned from the children in your life?