In the nearly three years since transitioning from a stay-at-home do-everything mom to a parenting-from-afar mom, I’ve had a lot of time to think and rethink parenting styles, specifically mine. I have learned a lot in that time about what works and what does not work as well in parenting. It’s ironic that I had to be 3000 miles away from my kids to better understand what it takes to be a good parent, but that’s how it worked for me. Today I read some great parenting advice on CNN.com and was reminded of how far I’ve come, which got me thinking about what I have learned about life through being a parent.
1. Don’t take things so seriously. If I could sum up my life into the biggest lesson I have learned so far (and one that I am still learning, alas), it is this one. Life is too short to be so serious about it. That doesn’t mean I should blow things off and be a thoughtless jerk, but that taking things too seriously just sucks the fun out of everything.
2. I am going to make mistakes. Get over it. This relates to #1. My biggest fear is that people will judge me for the choices I make. I see now that this is because I judge myself and project that self-judgment onto others. In reality, few people care about the choices I make; most are too busy caring about their own lives. So why not give myself permission to mess up — because I will — and get over it?
3. Kids are far wiser than they appear. If I had known the extent to which my kids were able to take care of themselves, I might have let loose the apron strings years earlier. But now they clean their house, prepare their meals, and get themselves ready for school without me to shepherd them and do it for them because I’m faster/more experienced/sacrificing/trying to love them by doing for them? My kids are awesome and are perfectly capable of doing a whole lot for themselves. Yours are too. You probably already knew that, but it took a forced letting-go for me to learn it.
Okay, now it’s your turn. What life lessons ave you learned because of your kids?