I am in my 40s.
I have learned an awful lot in all those years but a 13 year old and a 10 year old have managed to teach me some of the life lessons I value most dearly in their short years.
Most of them have been how to dredge up great wells of patience in the face of adversity and no alcohol, but others have been noteworthy. Blogworthy!
Kids are surprisingly wise little creatures, although obviously I’d never tell them that as the level of smug would be unbearable 🙂
So here’s what I’ve learned from my kids:
Even when you don’t feel like it and you’re knotted up with anger and you want to rant and rage: Just laugh. It solves many many problems. Do a big ‘oh well’ and shrug your shoulders.
If you still feel like ranting and raging after that, then it was probably worth getting cross about. If not then you’ve saved yourself another couple of wrinkles.
There is nothing in this world as joyous as hearing children laugh: Fact.
So bag some of that joy for yourself.
2. Time is the most valuable thing you own.
Money is great, fancy holidays are lovely, a posh car is, well, unnecessary in my book but don’t let my husband hear you say that.
But give someone your time and they will be forever grateful.
Children don’t want to be lavished with goods (no matter how much they beg for them). They want you; all of you, the you that isn’t distracted by computers or a phone or TV or whether or not there is enough food in the house to last until the weekend.
Give your undivided attention generously. Guaranteed it’s the one thing you will look back on and regret if you don’t.
3. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
This is a real biggie for me. I wasn’t a bad person before I had children but since they have been around I want so much to be a better person; for them to be proud of me, to say ‘my mum had time for everyone. She always wanted to help’.
Children see, children do and they make me want to lead by example. And I don’t care how twee that sounds.
4. Pick your battles.
Some things really really don’t matter. Just let them go as the song goes *waits for you all to stop singing it before I move on*.
There was a time when I was SO principled, so determined that I would have my say.
Does it really matter if all they’ve eaten all day is chocolate for breakfast, a hot dog and 2 bags of crisps? It’s one day. Tomorrow you can balance it out.
Sure their bedroom looks like a department store vomited up its contents on their floor but is it worth having a shouting match about?
Same goes for pretty much everything else. Smile and let it go. There will be plenty of time to come out all guns blazing when it really matters.
Sometimes it’s really really difficult to listen to yet another ‘he said, she said’ tale from the school playground without casting your eyes around the room and mentally drifting off and doing the shopping list for the rest of the week in your head. BUT these little things matter to your kids. AND you are sending the message that you are happy to listen to anything. Which means when they really have something important to say, they’re more likely to tell you.
The same goes for everyone else in your life. Listen to them. They don’t always want you to solve anything, they just want someone to give of their time and listen to them.
6. The world doesn’t end if your kids leave the house with clothes that don’t ‘go’.
For the longest time I would battle with my daughter because she wanted to wear her wellies with shorts and a Peter Pan top. And a baseball cap to top it off.
But then I realised: what does it matter? Who is it hurting? Why can’t she express herself while walking around Sainsbury’s? In years to come she’ll be baiting me with something so inappropriately cropped I’ll wonder why I made a fuss, so why not enjoy these years of cuteness?
7. Let go.
Sing at the top of your voice. Dance in the park. Ride on the trolleys down the isles at the supermarket. Turn your bed into a wrestling ring. Build dens. Join in.
Who cares who’s watching? Live your life. Be the reason your kids smile.
Sure you’ll be the source of great embarrassment when they’re teenagers but the years either side you will be a hero.
The world would be a better place if more people hugged.
I probably hug too much, but you’re giving out just a little bit of joy right there so, whatever.
Have you ever had a crappy day and come home to a hug from one of your kids? That right there has the power to transform my shitty day. I’d just like to give just a little bit of that out too.
So, life lessons from little ones? What have they taught you?