If I had to stop and really decide what one factor had influenced my life the most,
I would have to say that Hands Down…
It has been BECOMING A MOTHER!
Literally EVERYTHING about the world I lived in changed the day I became a mother.
Nature was now a wondrous experience that I deeply desired to share with my child.
Unconditional love was now something that I was able to comprehend and experience.
(And once you feel love that deeply it changes the way you love everyone else in your life.)
The one thing I know for sure is that:
If you’re interested in learning some incredible life lessons…
BECOME A PARENT!
Being a parent is filled with daily chances to learn some of life’s most important lessons.
Here are my TOP 5 Parenting Lessons:
#1: Just Go For It
The first thing I learned was that I was never going to feel prepared to have a child.
I had been married for nearly seven years before I had my first child.
I eventually realized that if I wanted children, I would simply have to take a leap of faith that it would all work out somehow.
I really had no idea what having a baby encompassed…
The never-ending work,
The inconsolable crying,
Being sleep deprived …
And falling so deeply in love that I would do whatever it took for that baby.
As a mother I have learned that when faced with those decisions of the heart that life always brings to your doorstep…
It is better not to analyze the situation too carefully before just going for it!
#2: Behave the Way You Want Others to Behave
When I realized how carefully my children were watching my every move and often imitating me, I was motivated to become the best role model I could be.
This lesson really hit home when my son said a naughty word at school.
I had been his only parent since he was three, so I really had nobody to blame but myself.
I went home that day determined to do a better job at being a example to my children.
Since that day I have really internalized these truths:
When I treat my children with respect and then in turn teach them to treat me with respect,
I noticed that they treated their friends and teachers with respect.
I noticed that by showing compassion to them, they showed others compassion.
I saw my behavior reflected in their behavior.
And that has kept me strong.
I want them to be amazing adults, but in order for that to happen, I need to be one myself first!
Allow children’s constant surveillance to bring out your finest behavior!
#3: Enjoy What You Have When You Have It.
The days are sometimes long but the years go by fast.
Nowhere is this truer than raising children.
When my oldest was a baby, he had problems going to sleep.
I remember how rocking my crying baby until the wee hours of the night often seemed to stretch on forever.
Yet it seems in the blink of an eye that same baby was headed off to kindergarten.
He is now a 20 yr. old man. The time literally passed before my eyes!
Here is a fun video that illustrates this point in a very clever way.
So this is one lesson that I really cannot stress enough:
Enjoy every stage because it will be gone before you know it.
There’s no going back, so delight in every moment!
#4: Seek Wise Guidance
Parenting is challenging in many ways.
However, there is a lot of help available.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or go it alone.
By reaching out to other parents I learned that almost everyone is struggling with similar issues.
By reading books, taking classes and attending seminars, I learned effective parenting skills.
My own mother was a valuable resource in parenting. Her help and assistance was literally my lifeline.
I have also found that other people are usually happy to share what they’ve learned when asked!
We all love to talk about our children.
Every mother understands the need to give their child the very best, so ask for help.
You will be amazed at how willing other mothers will be to help you when asked.
#5: Focus on Long Term Results.
Parenting can sometimes be tricky because what works in the short term may cause problems later on.
For example, bribing children with candy to leave you alone when you’re on the phone may work in the short term but it will also encourage more interruptions in the future.
Avoid short cuts that lead to undesirable long term results.
The relationships we develop with our children affect us for the rest of our lives.
There are loving parents who bent over backwards for their children only to have adult children who treat them poorly.
We teach our children how to treat us; let’s teach them to treat us well.
I always try to remember that I am not just raising my child, I am actually raising the adult who will be the parent of my grandchildren.
The time and energy put into parenting pays back for the rest of your life!
Those are the lessons I have learned so far.
But I think the one thing we can all agree on is this: Parenthood is not easy; the challenges we must rise above are many.
But its rewards are undoubtedly great, especially when we view parenthood as a spiritual experience.
Being a parent is unique in that it provides so many opportunities for spiritual growth.
Children… they can make you go insane with impatience.
They will push you to the brink of unimaginable physical exhaustion.
They can make your heart burst with love.
And they can bring you together with other people in ways never previously thought possible.
I want to end today with one of my very favorite quotes by Angela Schwindt.