As parents, all the wonderful things our kids do and say create some wonderful moments. No doubt, however, most of us also have some learning experiences that help us become better parents. My kids learned some important and important things about me that I wish I knew before becoming a parent. I promise this will help other parents relate to their kids, too.
1. I needed to remember to give my kids’ needs a higher priority than my own. I hadn’t thought of this before becoming a parent. When my daughter was young, I used to sit at the playground all day long and wait for my kids to play. Having them in my seat took up a lot of my time. I missed out on other activities and I felt resentful of my kids. I worried that they might resent me. Being a parent taught me to realize that I have to give my kids priority over my own needs.
2. I had to learn that I was missing out on the fun of being a parent, and most of all I had to remember that being a parent was a full-time job. As an adult, I spend a lot of time doing my work, and I’ve also started to run my own business. As a mom, I have two kids in a school and a staff of about 25 teachers. If I didn’t sleep and enjoy my work, I wouldn’t be able to do both.
3. I had to learn that love is not defined by having children. The best love you can have is the love you have for your child, but you still need to be able to love other people and have positive relationships with other people outside of your children. Those relationships need to be cared for and nurtured in order to feel good.
4. I had to realize that my children are not only human, but also members of our species. From all the research I’ve read, I can’t help but wonder: At what point do humans become “our species”? (Please note: This is not a “generationalist” argument.) Kids have to feel special and have to be comfortable with being different. When we have kids, they have to feel good about them, and maybe even about the humans who created them. I had to understand this.
There are other things that I wish I had known before becoming a parent, like I could have explained better that when my daughter makes eye contact, I might just smile or give her a hug. It might have helped to know that she likes to be held and that she likes to cuddle and that this wasn’t always as natural for me to understand as it was for her. As a kid, I thought that this behavior was weird. As a parent, I understand how important it is to see my child as a whole human being.
We know now that growing kids might see the world from a place of insecurity or fear, and they might not always see themselves as deserving of love or acceptance. I wanted to understand this better.
I wanted to be a better mom. I wanted to better be a human. And now I know how important it is to be a parent. I could not have done it without my kids.
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