Next week my son will turn eight years old. This baffles me completely. That means I’ve been doing this mothering thing for almost eight years now – so I’ll assume I’ve learned a lot in that time. A seasoned pro I think you could say, though most days it still feels like I’m winging it.
Mama Kat challenged us to share 6 things we’ve learned from our eldest child and since he has a birthday coming up it seemed fitting to choose that prompt for this week’s Writer’s Workshop. So here it goes:
6 Things my son has taught me, after eight years:
- There is no perfect plan – you cannot design your life from the ground up and pick and choose when things will happen and how it will go. If parenting has taught me anything it is this – life happens when it darn well means to happen and changes come when they are good and ready. Nursing, crawling, walking, potty training, sleeping through the night, riding a bicycle, learning to read – you cannot predict which things will go smoothly and which will shake you to your core for years. So let go of the statistics and the rigid goals and try to just appreciate the moments as they come. Not that I’m always good about this – but I try.
- Doctor Who is the coolest super hero ever, and so is Iron Man, Batman, Spiderman and [insert next coolest thing here] Man. My son has taught me that “favorite” is a flexible, fluid word and that we should like all the things.
- Your kids will be exactly like you in all the ways that you hate and exactly like your partner in all the ways that you admire and nothing like either of you in all the ways that shock, surprise and delight you. They are a perfect hodge podge and a shining mirror to all the things you’d like to change about yourself. So when you see yourself losing your cool over those mirrored faults, try to be kind and to lead by example. And remember that they take after you in good ways, too – just ask your partner. They probably have a running list.
- You cannot teach by omission – when things scare you or seem to hard to properly explain or conflict with your core beliefs – these are the great teachable moments and they are an opportunity to rise above and beyond the call of duty and really teach your kids something important. So don’t shy away from the hard stuff, you and your kids are capable of greater things than you can imagine.
- My son taught me what it means to be a mother – I didn’t have a handbook and I didn’t know what I was doing when I set out on this adventure eight years ago. I didn’t know that you can love some one even when they are being completely unreasonable and just giving you absolutely nothing – that in the middle of the biggest temper tantrum and angry eyes and hot words – motherhood endures where all else would fail. Even when they don’t like anything you cook, never pick up after themselves, physically drain you past the point of return and never seem to appreciate the sleepless nights and endless worry – love is always there, unfailing. And it stretches to accommodate all the new ones you take into your family. Your heart is endless when you are a mother.
- Motherhood – and my son – have taught me that I don’t know anything – that everything we know is just a fact waiting to be dis-proven.
These are just some of the things that mothering this boy has taught me and I’m sure I have a lot left to learn! Happy early birthday MM – I love you so much!