Reading a post written by Maddie on a new blog she and my friend Stacy have put together called satisfiedspace.com the other day, led me to thinking about what I’ve learnt about life from being a mum. I realised there have been two things which have shaped me more than anything else. The first has been travel and spending time in the great outdoors and the second is family. Although not necessarily in that particular order!
When I first had my children – who are now 22 & 20. I didn’t understand the emotional responsibility I held in growing these two little human beings into adulthood. But having them has taught me a lot about parenting and living in the process.
Deciding how I wanted to parent my kids, was one the biggest and most conscious decisions I’ve taken in my life. I was hoping that my mum would be able to physically take care of them until they were school age. So I could continue to work. (I’m not the stay at home type) Life had other plans though, so there have been times when I have had to put the needs of my children before myself.
- Step Up
This to me is the most necessary step, I’ve ever had to take in my life. Stepping up into the role of a Parent, when there were moments I just wanted to be little ol’ me. Has been a challenge but not a chore. Embracing the role is very important.
Experiencing life as if from new. Watching with awareness them taking the first steps, speaking their first words, made me realise how wonderful this gift of life is. I never knew you could experience as much joy in another person being happy and doing the things they want, as I did in myself. What I’ve learnt in the process is that this happens with adults I love and form close friendships with as well. When they’re happy and enjoying life. I feel it too!
- Emotional Responsibility
It didn’t take me long to figure out that part of the process of getting to know your kids and bringing them up, is getting to know yourself. Facing up to your own demons can be one of the hardest things to do but in my book is a must do. Putting your blinkers on, never helps in the long run.
- Care is just as important as Love
This was one I knew inherently but have seen the importance in it, over my children’s lifetime. I do not believe it is enough to just ‘love’ your children. Care and nurturing are an important part of this too. Taking the time out to stop what you’re doing and just be with them, in what they are doing. Or spending a few minutes utilising that great eye contact which is built up during the first stage of being a parent. Paying them your attention fully. Not always that easy but very important.
- Learning together through fun.
With both our children, me and their dad felt it important to get them in the water, as soon as they had been vaccinated as babies. Our daughter is definitely a water babe – she’s already a Padi Divemaster.
Travelling across the globe as a family was the best choice we ever made. You only have your children in your arms for a short time and this part of parenting is very precious. Travelling with our children and seeing different countries, cultures and having a mixture of experiences together was priceless and no academic qualification, I believe, can beat the education we gave our children. We took all our personal interests and brought them into reality on a daily basis.
- Becoming resolute in your role.
No government, person or institution would I ever let tell me, what was best for my kids. As their mum – I took the role seriously and part of that role was to make sure I got to know them as people, so that I could guide them through the process of growing up, instill good values within, then enable and empower them to live the lives they want to lead. Then I’ve learnt I have to let go of the outcome. That is not mine to choose.
What would you say is the most important part of your role as a parent and what is the one thing you’d really like to do with them as a family?