Since becoming a mom, I’ve learned a few things.
I’ve learned how to change a baby on my lap in the car when we’ve had to pull over on the way to Portland.
I’ve learned how to do laundry without ruining it all.
I’ve learned how to fix Barbie heads and dinosaur legs and what configuration of train tracks will get maximum twists and turns, yet still connect at the end.
But I’ve also learned about bigger things.
I’ve learned that when you have kids, your friends change. And that’s okay. So many of the friends I had before I had kids drifted away. It might have also had a bit to do with the fact that we were all in college, so it would have happened anyway. But I only have a few friends that I am still close with who I was very close with in high school. I’ve also gotten closer to a few. Made some new ones.
And ya know what? I’m friends with these people because they respect my choices and I respect theirs. You don’t want to go out to dinner or out on the weekends because you don’t want to leave your nursing baby? Okay, we’ll catch ya next time. You don’t let your kids say this word or that? Good to know, I’ll watch my mouth. I know it’s really important to you that I come to this birthday party or baptism, so I’ll be there. You don’t want to celebrate your birthday? Too bad, we’re celebrating you anyway. Because this is what friends do.
I’ve witnessed, lately, people being so self-absorbed. Worried only about themselves and how other people’s choices might affect them and then throwing a fit or being sassy (because that’s what we say in this house) because what their friends do isn’t exactly what they want them to do and it might ruin plans they have. I don’t like it. And it makes me so thankful that I have the friends I have. I appreciate all of you. And since I am the least outwardly emotional person I know, this is about as mushy as I get.
On a similar note, I’ve learned that the world does not revolve around my children. Not everyone thinks that Jamie’s drawing of a t-rex is the cutest thing they’ve ever seen or that Maria’s rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” is fabulous. If every sentence that comes out of my mouth has to do with my kids, I might not have any friends at all. And I want friends. That’s why I have this blog — so I can brag to the moon and back.
I’ve also learned that I need to let my kids do things for themselves.
I learned this while watching the students in Jamie’s classroom. They cut their own food. They pour their own drinks. They clean up their messes with a little broom and dustpan.
I’m a bit of a control freak. I like things to be done neatly and nicely and quickly. So, as you can imaging, it was difficult for me to start giving my kids more independence. But I realized that kids can do so much more than we give them credit for. Maria loves pouring her own cereal and milk in the morning, so I let her do that. Jamie makes his own peanut butter sandwiches and he’s so proud after he does it. On the flip side, they also all clean up their own messes which they don’t like to do, but afterwards they are glad they did. Thank you Children’s House for teaching me this!
I’ve learned that it’s okay for babies to cry. It’s okay to have a little baby and it’s okay to have a big baby. It’s okay if your child starts walking at 10 months (Maria) or at 14 months (Jamie). They are both brilliant.
It’s okay if you decide to dress your kids in sweatpants and sweatshirts just like it’s okay if you dress your kids in dresses and mary janes. It’s okay to sign your kids up for violin and hip hop and it’s okay to not sign them up for anything at all. It’s okay if sometimes you yell and it’s okay if you have to have alone time. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom.
And all that really matters is that you teach your children to be kind. To share and use kind words. To be patient and willing to help other people. To view differences as wonderful things, not things to point out and talk about negatively. To say please and thank you and to be creative and use their imaginations. To be good little citizens and to love the world.
And as a mama, it’s harder than you might think to teach your children all those things. But I’m learning.