Top Ten Parenting Tips…Sort of
When I became a mother 20 years ago I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. In fact, until the day my daughter was born I had not changed a diaper. I was about as inexperienced as one could be in the child rearing department. Little did I know that no matter how much I learned it would never be enough. There is always something more to learn when being a momma. Today my kids are 20 and 14 and somehow we have managed to make it through some pretty tough times together.
As a preschool teacher I find myself doling out advice or suggestions to parents who are plodding through various trying stages of parenthood. So in honor of Mother’s Day (and every other day for that matter) I thought it would be fun to share my top 10 list of things I have learned being a momma. I might add that these are strictly my lessons and what has worked for me may not necessarily work for you; after all parenting is a learn as you go trial and error by the seat of your parents job. Here goes in no particular order…
1. Babies will always throw up on you at the most inopportune times. No matter how hard you try to present yourself as neat, clean and put together you will find baby throw up just becomes a natural accessory for the first few years of your child’s life. (And nobody will tell you that you have it dribbled down the back of your work shirt either; you will find out at the end of the day when you change clothes!)
2. What you think your kids like to eat will change on any given day. I have recently learned that my son who probably ate his weight in pork as a small child now dislikes sausage and his sister who would barely eat cooked fish while living at home now finds it a great treat to eat sushi; yep apparently your taste buds change when you go away to college.
3. The phrase “I don’t have homework” doesn’t always mean what you think it means. I have found that one must ask detailed questions in regard to school work. Just because there is no homework due the next day doesn’t mean that a large science project isn’t due three days from now which involves making some sort of structure out of clay or that requires an extensive amount of poster board and glue; and trips to the store at 8:00 p.m. the night before are not fun trips.
4. No matter how hard you try, kids will get hurt. Don’t panic; that only makes it worse. For example, when you hit the door lock button on your car clicker and your three year old has his fingers in the door when you slam it shut and he screams simply dig the said clicker out from the bottom of your purse, unlock it, check out his fingers and then proceed inside the Wal-Mart and buy him whatever he wants. Yes, this happened to my son and he took pride in telling everyone that his momma hurt his fingers.
5. Dirty clothes hampers must have some magnetic force that rejects dirty clothes. There are always dirty clothes on the floor and the hamper remains empty; I just give up!
6. Teenaged boys’ concept of a clean bathroom and yours will never be the same. Keep trying though because hopefully when he grows up and moves out he will remember the lessons you taught him and will put them to good use in his own home…maybe.
7. Pick your battles carefully. One day you will find yourself loading up your oldest and hauling her off to college and feeling like you left a piece of your heart behind when she closes the dorm room door behind you. I learned this one a little too late and am sorry for the time I wasted battling over things that really didn’t matter.
8. One of the greatest joys you will have is when you can send your kid to the store for milk or take their brother to school. Oh sure, the first time she leaves the house by herself you will walk the floor until she gets back, but she will do a fine job and earn your trust providing you with a little transportation assistance once in a while.
9. It’s okay when your kid tells you that you are a horrible mother or that their love for you is not as strong as they once said. The words “I hate you” or some other form of the phrase will slip out once in a while. They really don’t hate you and as a matter of fact, if you are parenting correctly, you want them to hate you every now and then. Giving in to their every whim or allowing them to make all the decisions does not teach them anything but selfishness which is not a good thing. Make rules, keep those rules and dole out the consequences when those rules are broken. It’s tough being the rule maker but later on down life’s road you will be glad you did.
10. Love is love. Teach your children to love themselves and those around them without condition. This lesson is probably one of the most important things you could ever teach your child. In order to teach this lesson you, the parent, must practice it yourself; that is quite difficult to do sometimes but if you keep at it you can do it. It’s worth it.
I hope these little lessons help. I’m sure you can add your own. Parenting is a tough, often times thankless job, but it’s the best job you will ever have. I know it is for me.
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Topic: Parenting Tips