In those nineteen years, I've learned a lot of lessons from being a parent. You assume you're going to be the one teaching your children things, but I do think parents are the students here.
- I wouldn't be complete without my children.I knew I always wanted to be a mommy, but I didn't know that my children would complete who I am. They bring a joy to my life that is hard to explain to someone who doesn't have or enjoy their children as much as I do.
- Kids never get too old to say, "I love you" in public.
I know, some of you are shaking your head. Kids give up showing affection to their parents as pre-teens and teenagers, but I've been blessed, as that's the only way to say it. Mine have never stopped. It doesn't matter how many thirteen-year-olds are around, I still get hugs, and I love yous, it's just proof that they can do it.
- Tidy is overrated.
This one has taken me nearly all nineteen years to understand. Don't get me wrong. Tidy is nice. I love when things are where they belong, and I don't have to step on anything. However, being with my kids at hockey, musicals, choir concerts, on the couch...it's worth so much more.
- You don't acknowledge your bad habits until your children have them too.
Cringeworthy is all I can say about this one. I'm a horrible example of eating well and what I eat too. At an early age, I had my kiddos eating Happy Meals. This should never have been the first thing they say they want when you'd ask what they wanted for lunch. But I did that because I craved it. Now I'm back peddling for all of us. That one has hit me hard. I roll my eyes a lot too, but I've learned this year where I got that trait, and it's only my husband that gets annoyed with that one.
- Mommies and daddies have as many temper tantrums as three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds.
I don't like to admit, but I'm crazy good at throwing a temper tantrum. Rumor is I was pretty good at it when I was three too! What I've learned, though, three-year-olds and even thirteen-year-olds just need some time away, a time-out, and they move on. Mommies and daddies have to remember that time-outs are just as necessary for them too. We have short fuses too. Unfortunately, a three-year-old putting mommy on a time-out isn't going to fly in the middle of a temper tantrum. Sometimes we have to figure that one out on our own.
- Dandelions are some of the prettiest flowers when given to you by your child.
A bouquet of roses will never compare to a handful of dandelions handed to you from a caring child. Embrace that! Put them in some water and in the center of your table for decoration. They're important.
- 8th grade still sucks 30+ years later.
8th grade will go down in infamy as one of the worst years EVER! Can I tell you anything about 8th grade? Not one thing, except that I didn't like me and everyone was icky. Years later, I find that nothing has changed. It's hard to be thirteen and fourteen. School just gets in the way of the misery and adds to it. I only have one more bout of 8th grade to go. I can do this!
- If a kid says they're going to throw up, they mean at that very moment.
Kids don't have to be sick to throw up. As a parent, you just always have to be prepared. Carry extra clothes, wash clothes, cleaning wipes, and spare plastic grocery bags in your car. If you're a parent, you're going to need them.
- Nothing is ever learned at school. Just ask your kid.
"What did you learn today?" you might ask. The answer is, "Nothing." Quickly you learn that either the teachers aren't working, or you have to rephrase your question. The latter is the correct method of getting your information. "In science today, did you learn about frogs?" If you know what they're learning, you can prompt them. If you don't, they'll certainly tell you it wasn't about frogs before they tell you what they discussed.
- Kids believe in traditions. Start some!
When someone asks me, "What do you do for Christmas?" my answer was always, "Nothing." I didn't think about going to my parents' house for dinner a tradition. It was just what we did. When you have kids, they think of that as the norm--or tradition. They want the same thing every year, and they look forward to it. This year was the first year we didn't invite Santa to join us for Christmas. We needed a new tradition when they woke up the next morning since the thirteen-year-olds didn't know what they were going to do if they weren't opening presents in front of grandma and grandpa. We started something new, and they had a grand time with it. Soon you hear the words, "Next year let's add..." Kids like to look forward to something that they know with some certainty will happen again next year.
I know I've learned so much more. Kids are amazing at opening your eyes to the world around us in so many ways. What has your child taught you since you've become a parent?
~Bernadette Marie ~