We spend the better part of our parenting lives teaching our children. The irony of this is how much we can learn from them if we simply take the time. And there are so many amazing things our children can teach us if we just open up and let them.
In fact I truly believe if we spent a day being more like our children and tried less to get them to be more like us we'd all be happier, healthier and have a pretty darn good laugh. You may think there isn't much your child can teach you but here are just eight of the countless things I've learned from my child/
1. Sometimes it's ok to have a tantrum. We all get upset, we all get frustrated and as adults we let that fester and linger but kids throw a fit, cry, yell and move on so fast we often think they forgot why they were even mad. I don't think they forgot... I think they are just way better at expressing themselves and getting past things that upset them.
2. If you like what you are wearing no one else needs to. When my daughter when through her rain boots and tutu phase we got a lot of looks. Some were the looks of people thinking she's unique, others were that sympathetic look of a mom who has experienced the battle of dressing a toddler in something she doesn't' want to wear... and others were judgmental, nasty side eyes. I noticed. Maybe my child did too... But if she did she didn't let on. She loved her boots and her tutu. It made her feel cute, it made her feel like people were seeing the real her. Sure they were out of season and beat up but they made her happy. She was a bubbly ball of confidence and lack of caring and I envy that.
3. It's ok not to share. You are taught from such an early age that you have to share. It's so polite and appropriate that we drill this into our kids heard from a very early age. Good girls and boys share. Nice children take turns. And that is usually true. No one wants to be around someone selfish or stingy. But there is something liberating about having something all to yourself. Maybe it's an hour in the evening for your shows that aren't animated. Maybe it's telling your kid "This is my bed and I'm not sharing" but it's ok to be a little stingy once in a while. I think it may just be good for you!
4. It's ok to say no. Hell, SHOUT NO!!! Kids are masters at saying no. They do it all the time. Let's go to the grocery store! NO! Time to go home. NO! It's one of the very first words we learn. So why does it get so hard to tell others no as we get older? Can you chair this committee? Can you back a zillion gluten free cookies? Can you carpool my kids? Can you allow me to impose on you because you are kind? JUST SAY NO!. It's ok. Kids do it and we can too! It's ok to say no and set boundaries.
5. Naps and down time are important. Kids get over stimulated. They get tired. They get crabby. Guess what? So do we! Between school, activities, work, chores, and everything else moms do we have every right to take a nap! The only issue is finding time but even if you can't find time to snooze you can tell everyone you deserve some alone time and need to distress. Everyone needs a little time to center and chill.
6. Playdates help development and social interaction. Being a mom can be lonely and isolating and it's ironic because motherhood is something so many of us have in common! So why does it make many of us feel out of touch? Because we loose peer interaction. Moms need adult time. We need time not just with our kids but we need time for our significant others and time with friends. Don't have friends? That's a surprisingly common case for a mother so that's why playdates and moms nights out are important. It allows us to connect with other adults. It lets us see how others interact with their kids and gives us a chance to learn from each other, vent and just connect.
7. Too much screen time is bad for you! Yes, I know you are reading that on a blog that wants people online so forgive the hypocrisy but it's true. Facebook and other social media and online activities have allowed us to connect online and taken us away from some real life interactions. It's important to find a balance. Take time away from your computers or phones. Unplug. Don't get pulled into online drama or get upset by all the articles you see circulating. It effects our lives more than we realize.
8. Be silly. Laughing is good for your health. Playing is good for your too. Be silly. Giggle. Make your kids laugh, let them make you laugh. Sing a random song, draw a funny picture, make fart noises with armpit. We all need to laugh and lighten up more. Kids get it. Now we should live it.
So while I'm not encouraging anyone to throw food they don't want across the table or cry when they don't get their way I am just saying to look at your kids. Think of the things that you find amazing in them and try to understand why those things amaze you (even if they sometimes frustrate you) and see if you can learn something from them that may make your life a little easier, happier or sillier.
As parents we are teachers but the best teachers know we never stop learning.