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When I was young, all I ever wanted was to be a mom, specifically one who is home with her children. I had lots of ideas and perceptions of what parenthood would look like. Admittedly, I remember saying, “If those were my kids, I’d….” Or “I would not….”
Maybe I should write a letter to my young, naive self because life and parenthood and reality have a way of changing how you see things. And, me? I’ve learned a thing or two because kids are the best teachers, you know. 😉
You don’t live life as a mom and not learn these life lessons, but I thought I’d share with you some lessons I’ve learned along this journey in case you’ve missed a few.
10 Life Lessons for Parents
Kids will show you who you REALLY are.
Sometimes that’s scary. We’re good at putting on the mask or hiding behind what we want people to see and believe about us, but at home, when it all hits the fan, that’s when the truth of who we are shines through.
Which is why kids will show you your need for Jesus and His grace.
Once you see that person lurking deep down, you see how ugly and vile she really can be. What’s more, is that kids will show you over and over, so you never get too good at pretending you can do it alone or that you’ve got it all together.
Parents need alone time.
You need dates and quiet down time with your spouse without interruption. In order to maintain some semblance of sanity, you need a break. We, as parents, need to connect with each other and time to recharge! Check out these ways to get “away” when you need to reconnect but you can’t actually get away.
It takes a village.
I hear this all the time. While I believe that’s true, I do not believe that we live by that. I think most of us would agree that we need help with our little ones, but for whatever reason, we are reluctant to both give help and to receive it. Somehow we think we give up our “self-sufficient” card if we ask for help. For heaven’s sake, let us give it up already and lean on one another!
Kids are honest.
Brutally. I’ll never forget that day standing in the mile-long, only-cashier-operated line at Wal-mart when my toddler said, “Mama, you breaf don’t ‘mell good.”
I think I turned 10 shades of red, all the while praying no one overheard. Geez. Thanks, kid, now I’m scared to breathe, but at least I know you shoot straight…except, that is, when you lie to cover your little sneaky behind!
So that brings us to the next one: Kids are liars.
We don’t have to teach them to be; they just are. One of our littles had a habit of saying, “_____ hurt me.” What that means is that someone made her mad and so they “hurt” her–her feelings, maybe. Maybe?
But seriously, some of the things they lie about…just why?
**Please tell me mine are not the only ones pulling a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act?
Making big, elaborate plans will leave you frustrated.
With little ones, it’s best to plan small or at the very least to leave lots of room for quick change. I’ve had to learn to set small goals. Planning small and making attainable goals cause much less stress and more of a sense of accomplishment.
Vacation is optional.
It’s probably best spent at home, especially with littles. Personally, that would be my pick, but I’m not good with lots of noise plus the struggle of so many little people. There will come a day when we can all go on a big vacation again, but right now I’m happy to be right here in my little corner of the earth with my favorite eight people in the world. Or throw up a tent somewhere so they can be as loud as they want, which is a valid option and one that can make everybody happy.
Check out my friend Shan, The How-to Guru, for lots of great family travel tips even with traveling with little ones. I’m going to get brave one of these days and just do it!
Kids will throw you under the bus.
At VBS one year, one of my kiddos told the teacher: “Little boys don’t say ugly words, only mamas do.” Yes, thank you, only mamas can say ugly words. I’m still so proud of that moment. *sheesh*
Baths really are optional.
When my big kids were little, they had baths every night, religiously. It was very freeing indeed when I was enlightened to the fact that I don’t have bathe all 4 little bottoms every.single.night. As long as they don’t have dirt beads and smudges, and they appear clean for outings such as church or doctor visits, it’s all good.
Bonus Life Lesson: Love.
My kids have taught me more about love than I ever could have imagined. The love I have for them helps me to somewhat understand how God loves us. Only He’s perfect, and His love is more amazingly deep than we will ever realize this side of eternity!
Surely you can relate. I’m certain you have some important life lessons you’ve learned because, really, kids are the best teachers.
I think our lives will be better if we share those with each other so that maybe we clep a few lessons. The Cliffs Notes version, if you will. Maybe we can be better prepared?