A few years ago, I quit my full-time job to stay at home with my newborn daughter and 6-year-old son. At the time, my husband was deployed to Afghanistan and my sisters moved in to help me raise my babies.
Now, between my husband and myself, he definitely got the mommy genes. I, on the other hand, had NO idea how to raise children. In fact, my running joke about our parenting is, “If my husband could breastfeed our children, he would have. I’d rather do the dishes instead.”
Full disclaimer, I am a total advocate for breastfeeding and I nursed both of my babies. Thank you very much. I digress…
For many years, I didn’t have much confidence in my abilities in being a mother. I usually let me husband do all the kid stuff and I took care of everything else. However when he got deployed, things had to change. I had to change. And this took a big effort.
Why I Was Scared of My Kids
Parenting was definitely a learning curve for me. And for survival purposes, I caught on quickly. Before I quit my job, I used to think that I could never stay at home all day and take care of kids. I was too scared because I knew the job was exhausting.
I loved going to work because it gave me a break. Sure I had to deal with bosses, co-workers, and other political crap, but I could just sit in my office, listen to music, and do my work. It was eight hours of no screaming children and no having to deal with their constant emotional and physical demands on me.
Like many other mothers, I felt so guilty leaving my children at daycare to go to work. The days were long sitting in traffic in the mornings and evenings, then rushing home to make dinner, clean up, homework, shower routines, and quality time.
I loved the moments around 8 pm, when the kids were snuggled in their beds and I could just breathe. Yes I love my children and yes they are all of work. There is no doubt about that! That’s my opinion at least, I’m sure there is some supermom that would disagree. Again, I digress..
10 Inspiring Things I Learned About Life From My Children
After my husband deployed, I started to learn a lot about myself. I realized that I wasn’t such a bad mom. I had never given myself credit for doing my best. And I was grateful to have such a great teacher in husband to give me parenting advice when I needed it.
Of all the wisdom I gained as a parent, my children were my best teachers. Through them, I learned:
- Life is so short and these kids will only be this age once.
- Quality time can be as little as 10 minutes a day, as long it is media-free and uninterrupted. Of course, more time is better.
- Laughter makes everything better, sometimes jokes can lighten the mood when things get overwhelming.
- Playing hopscotch is still fun as an adult. Make the squares bigger for adult size feet and use small rocks.
- Enjoying the little things like watching the caterpillar crawling on the sidewalk or listening to the bees buzz can be magical.
- It is okay not to have all the answers. Rolling with the punches works too. Stressing over things we can’t control only makes things worse.
- Mom and Dad need alone time and that’s okay, no guilt or shame in that.
- Kids want one-on-one time with Mom alone and Dad alone and that’s okay.
- It’s okay to walk away when you are frustrated and angry! Breaks are welcomed and necessary.
- And last by not least, be kind and forgive yourself for not always getting this parenting thing right. You are just doing the best that you can with what you’ve got. And that’s okay. Also, avoid judging other parents, they are in the same boat figuring things out.
So it turns out that I am a pretty good parent, who knew? I am just figuring this stuff out as I grow. I am certainly more confident in my abilities as a mom.
AND as always, I must credit my meditation and yoga practice, along with my journaling, for my improved parenting skills. These tools continue to increase my patience and stamina for chasing children around. It has also given me some creative solutions for parenting, especially during potty training, but that’s for another blog post.
Until next time, I’d love to hear your parenting stories. What is your experience? Do you have any advice, lessons learned, or pearls of wisdom to share?