I recently had a play date with a mom who intellectualized almost everything. I mean everything!!! In other words, most of her parental decisions were validated by studies instead of her personal experiences with her children. It was a nice look in the mirror that made me reflect on my conversations with others; as well as my parenting choices and why I make them. Thus, I wanted to share some things I have learned about parenting that could never be found in a book or article.
1. All Kids Are Different
I didn’t understand the girls would need to be parented differently until I experienced it. Even though they came from the same two people they have completely different personalities, interests, temperaments…the list goes on. For example, I thought I mastered a bed time routine, so when our next child came, I thought I could use the same plan. Nope! Our two girls have completely different needs.
2. Listen to My Children
The advice my children give me can not be found in a book, because it is coming from their mouth and is specific to me. Yes, research can help prepare me for certain situations, but as issues arise my children want to connect with me in that moment! Our children are unique and they deserve parents who listen to their individual needs.
3. They Were Born To Us For A Reason
My upbringing and experiences shaped me into the parent I am today and influence the decisions I make. For that reason, no one can parent the same way I do. I also can not be taught how to be myself. That’s why I strongly believe our children were born to us for a reason.
4. Trust That I Know Them Better Than Anyone Else
I never imagined I would be insulted, questioned, humiliated by medical professionals, educators, family and/or strangers. And yet, I have been tested so many times. I am an expert on my children and professionals are experts in their field - so together we can make the best choices for them. Additionally, family members who believe they have all the answers because they have raised a few children simply need to be reminded that, “I am happy things worked for them.” Despite what others have experienced, what they may say, what books they have read — I may not know everything about parenting, I may not have read the latest research on children’s development, but I know my girls.
Photo: Paulo Fidalgo Photography
5. She Wants to Be Just Like Me
Everything I eat, wear, say, do - this little girl (our 5 year old) wants to imitate. At first, I was really annoyed that sometimes I could not walk without tripping over her little feet (she follows me everywhere even if we are in the same room). Then I began to realize the blessing of having someone who only saw me as the most beautiful and wisest role model. I began to be more intentional and aware of everything I did -- for example being kind, reading more and being active. I never knew having a child would be a reflection of who I really am. She wants to be just like me, and I want her to be even better.