Things I Learned from My Children

Toddler Feet
I had 3 kids in 4 years. None are twins. Needless to say, I was in over my head and heavily outnumbered. They are all teenagers now and, thankfully, I can say that I have raised them to be well-mannered, productive members of the community. They are respectful and kind to others and most importantly, to each other. However, they have taught me way more than I could ever teach them...but please do not tell them I said so! They have taught me how to love another person more than I thought ever possible no matter how angry or upset at them I get. I have learned how to deal with the needs of another human being above my own. I have developed patience and acceptance within myself and with those around me (most of the time). I have experienced the unconditional love of a child for his mother and have learned that a hug is sometimes more powerful than any other form of communication.

My children have taught me self-acceptance through loving and accepting them unconditionally. If one of them makes a mistake, I am forced to realize that making mistakes is a form of learning. This in turn has taught me that I should be proud of who I am. My mistakes (and there have been many) have been learning experiences that resulted in me becoming who I am today. I realize now that I should never pretend to be perfect because there is no such thing as a perfect person. I continue to strive to better myself because that is what I wish for my children.

I learned what unconditional love felt like when my first baby was old enough to hug me and say "Momma." He followed me around the house like I was his world. He imitated my silly facial expressions and laughed when I laughed. He tried his best to cheer me up when he saw me crying. At two years old, he would try to fold clothes when he saw me putting laundry away. I felt like my heart would just burst with all the love I had for him. My dreams and hopes for him were beyond anything I had ever experienced before.

Parenting, for me, has just been indescribable. There are moments of overwhelming emotion and other times mind-boggling confusion. There is humor and amusement in many parenting situations. There have been many instances with my children where they have said or done something so hilarious but so wrong that I found myself berating my child but could not keep a straight face and ended up laughing in front of them. For example, when my three year old was in preschool, his teacher complimented him on his dark and very long eyelashes. I was standing outside the door of the school waiting for him to be dismissed when I heard him respond by saying, "And you don't have any!" When I saw the teacher coming out, I was mortified. Even today, he is very comfortable saying just what is on his mind. However, I would like to think he is a bit more tactful now than before.

The bottom line is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Parenting is an adventure that has ups, downs, lots of curves and some free falls along the road. The key, I believe, is to be grateful for it all and to go easy on yourself and your kids. In the end, it is all about loving each other.

Parenting books that are witty and fun to read (while you are hiding from your kids) can be found at the library. If you are in need of some laughs as well as some insight and understanding about what parenting is all about, try some of these hilarious and amusing titles:
Science; Mama tried

The Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel

Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting by Emily Flake
Parenting is easy; You can date
Parenting is Easy: You’re Probably Just Doing it Wrong by Sara Given

You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About by Dave Barry

—Kaneeze from Hightstown

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