Today we're talking all about life lessons that my kids have taught me. Being a parent, you're supposed to know what you're doing. But let's be honest, we don't half the time, maybe not even a quarter of the time do we know what we're doing. There is no manual or guidebook, and I feel like it's one of those things that although we all kind of want to say we're going to get better at, I don't know about you, but I don't sit and take the time to take a lesson on parenting or listen to a podcast about parenting. Maybe I should. Maybe that's my downfall. I'm not spending the time to be a better parent. I feel like especially moms are the ones that people look to and think mom should know what's happening. They should know what that child wants. They should know what's best, because that's what we've been told our whole life.
When I had my first son, he was five weeks early and we were in the hospital and just totally lost. They thought he might have been sick. They were testing him for all of these things and it was absolutely terrifying. I remember coming into the room and the doctor looked at me and my baby was crying. The doctor said, “He needs you; he needs mom.” And I thought, for what? What am I supposed to do? I don't have the answers. You're the doctor, you help him. He said, no, just be mom. Give him what he needs. I feel like we are supposed to have the answers, but most of the times we're just winging it. As your kids get bigger, you’re always worried as a parent, like, am I doing this correctly? Is my kid hitting the milestones they're supposed to? Am I teaching them the things that I'm supposed to be doing? I remember I went into a doctor's appointment when my son was about six months old, and they're doing the checklist of all the things that your kids supposed to be doing by this point. C you do this? Can you do that? Can he wave? And I thought, no, he can't wave. But wait a minute, I didn't ever teach him to wave. You don't get a list of the things you're supposed to tell your kids or teach them or show them when showing them. That's another thing. I remember at one point, my oldest was making these really funny faces, and I thought, that's kind of strange. Why is he always making those faces? Yeah, that's when I realized it was my face and my expressions. He was imitating me and they are just like little sponges. He was copying all the things that I was doing. As they get bigger, as they continue to copy your mannerisms, your thoughts, your opinions sometimes, and your intonation sometimes. There are days where I turn and say something and he said something back to me and all I can think is, “oh, that was me.” I can't even get mad about it because that's my voice coming out of your body. My boys are now twelve, ten and eight, so no longer are they very little kids. It's amazing to see how they are really becoming people with their own thoughts and their own opinions, and they're just trying to find their place in the world. I know it's just going to continue. I wonder if I've done all the things that I should have done, like, have I given them enough guidance or advice or tools or love or support or encouragement that they are going to be good people? You always wonder as a parent if you are doing enough and if you are teaching the right things and saying the right things.
But that's not what this is about. This blog is actually the other way around. I want to share the lessons, the life lessons that my kids have taught me.
LESSON #1: It’s Okay To Care
This lesson comes from my oldest son. He is just he is so kind hearted. When he was a very little child, he was just always very aware of people and things, and he just cared. He cared about everything. He always had these very big emotions, and sometimes big emotions in a little person is really hard to handle. But it was because he cared so much. He cared about what people thought about him. He cared about how they were feeling. He cared about how he was feeling. He really did just always have his heart on his sleeve. A one point, when he was about eight or nine, he was having a little bit of problems at school because he just wasn't clicking with the right people and they weren't even his kind of people. It's hard to explain that to an eight-year-old that not everybody is going to be your friend and not everybody needs to be your friend. He was just having a hard time, and it was because he cared so much. It broke my heart. I just remember telling him to toughen up and don't let it bother you, and don't worry about what they're saying or what they're doing. I feel bad that I even gave him that advice because the fact that he cares so much, that's what makes him who he is. That is this amazing tool that a lot of people really don't have. It's just one lesson that he teaches me and continues to teach me about. It's okay to care. You should care about things. You should care about people and things around you, and you should let it make you feel. It's beautiful now to see how he's getting a little bit older and how he even really cares about his work and how he loves to really do a good job on things because he cares what those people think.
LESSON #2: Know what you like and know who you are and don't worry about the rest.
This comes from my middle son, Mason. Mason has always decided what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it. When he was 18 months, he was fully able to go to the bathroom by himself when he wanted to do it, but that kid wasn't potty trained until about two and a half because that's when he decided to actually do it. It was a struggle back and forth because when that guy has something set in his mind, that is it. It was the same with swimming, we got a pool in our new house, and he was always using a pool noodle in the deep end, but I knew he could swim. He just didn't want to take the risk until he was ready to do it. It was the end of the swimming season and the last day we had the pool open; he jumped from the very deep end and swam all the way to the shallow end because he decided it was time to do it. He has always known what he likes. From a very small age, he was that kid who, with a cupcake or piece a cake, he would take off the icing because that's the best part. Now, to me, that's an awesome life lesson, especially when I was trying to cut back on calories. I'm the same way. All I really want is the icing. So why am I eating this whole piece of cake or cupcake when really, I could just take the icing? I took that advice from Mason, and I rolled with it. A few years ago, I got really into that TV show with Marie Kondo, and if you don't know her philosophy, she's all about minimalizing your life and keeping the things that bring you joy or spark joy in your life. I did this with our whole house. I would take all the things out, lay them around, and if you didn't like it or it didn't spark joy, you had to get rid of it. You could donate it or throw it away. Whatever you had to do, you needed to get rid of it to make space for the things that you really, really want. Now, as you can imagine, doing this with my two other boys took forever because, no, they didn't want to give up that. And no, they didn't want to give up this. Whereas Mason, because he knows exactly what he wants and exactly what he likes was super simple. I could pick up something. Nope, doesn't bring him joy. Get rid of it. Even right now, I bet if I went to look in his closet, there's about 10% of the things that he actually uses and loves and enjoys. Now, the downfall with knowing exactly what you like and not wanting to do anything else is sometimes he gets really hooked onto things. Like there's days where he will wear or try to wear the same sweater or pants for days at a time, and I have to hide and take them away to wash them. Then he'll get on a new thing. Not only does he know what he likes and what he doesn't, but he's really strong and confident in who he is and he always has been. He has this really long hair. It's curly and down three or four inches past his shoulders and we're always brushing it and gets crazy. There are some days that it looks like dreadlocks but he doesn't care because he likes it. He wants to have long hair and that's who he is so he is going to keep. He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks
LESSON #3 Make friends wherever you are
This one comes from my third little guy, Parker. Parker has this great ability to walk into a space and make not just one friend, but multiple friends wherever he goes. I'll turn around and say, who's that kid Parker is playing with? And then all of a sudden, it's like they've multiplied and there's like ten of them. There's a crew of children running around this space and Parker is right there at the beginning of it leading them the crowd. I wonder if it’s because he is the third child and he’s always had people around him. To him that is just natural. He's never known a world without two older brothers and mom and dad and pets and everything. He is a person who loves people and he just has this ability to connect with people really quickly and bond with them and they just become fast friends and that's a skill as we get older that is so hard to do. Even myself, I love talking to people, especially strangers. I have no problem whatsoever starting a conversation and just chatting away. That's probably why I started a podcast, but when it comes to actually taking that next step for a person to be my friend. That's where it gets a little difficult because that's where you have to be a little more vulnerable and put yourself out there and either try and give them something or offer them something or invite them somewhere or even just send them little messages. How do you break that bridge between acquaintance and now becoming more of a friend? When Parker was about three years old, he had this habit of meeting people, kids, especially little girls and then he would come running up to me and say, “Mommy, see that girl over there? That's my girlfriend.” I would ask what's her name? He would respond, “I don't know, Mommy, but she’s, my girlfriend.”
LESSON #4 Chase Your Squirrel
This is actually not something I learned from any of my children, but my dog Brodie. If you are following me on any of my social media, you will know who Brodie is. Brodie is my two-year-old Border Collie who I might have a slight obsession with, but it goes both ways. He's pretty much my shadow. Everywhere I go, he goes, too. This life lesson from Brodie is one that struck me the other day and really inspired me. Every morning, well, almost every morning, I try and take Brodie on a little run. We have these beautiful woods close to our home and we love running in the woods. We’ve run them so many times that I know where every bump is, every log. It’s so comforting in that same routine in the woods, the fresh air. I never thought I would be considered a runner, but the last few years, especially when Covid hit, it, was my salvation. Those runs for me are just my time. I get to get out of my head, move my body and enjoy myself. But for Brodie, those runs are a mission. He wants to catch a squirrel. It's so funny because if a bunny runs by, he's fine with that. Birds, he might check them out, chipmunk, he doesn’t bat an eye, but if Brodie sees a squirrel, he wants to catch it. From the moment we start on our run, he is sniffing, his ears are up, he's looking around. He is on alert to catch a squirrel. He sees one and run but it climbs up a tree. He tries to sneak up slowly, but of course, the squirrel sees him and he's gone. It was a few months ago, and we were on our run like a normal day, having a great time and he was running. I was listening to my podcast, and all of a sudden, Brodie went running super quick into a big pile of leaves. I looked over and I screamed because he had the squirrel in his mouth. He caught the squirrel. His mission. He got what he wanted, and I didn't know what to do. He didn't want to do. I yelled, he dropped the squirrel and it ran away. So, my lesson from Brodie is always chase your squirrel and once you have your squirrel, know what you're going to do with it. Know what the next step is. If you have a goal or you have a dream and something that seems like absolutely crazy, like catching a squirrel, because it's never going to happen, go for it. Go for it, but know, if you get it, what are those next steps going to look like? There are so many people that want to hit this incredible goal or want to do this incredible thing, and then once they get I, they don’t know what's next? I had a friend coming out of musical theatre school and she had this dream of landing a show at this theatre. At school you are taught in theatre that it's going to be a hard road. It's not going to be easy. You are going to have to fight your way and you may never make it. So, after year one of graduating, she actually booked this theatre. She got a role. She loved it. It was incredible, but then she was done. That was all she had wanted and she didn't know what the next steps were. There is something to think about, make those goals, as absurd as they can be, I say go for them. But also think of what's next. Think of how you can grow that goal. Think of how you can adapt it or change it or making something even more incredible.
LESSON #5 Find Inspiration All Around You
This is something that my kids really teach me all the time, whether they mean to or not, is they inspire me. They inspire me to be a better parent, a better person. Sometimes even just doing the things I'm doing, like this podcast right now. The chance I took on just going out there and trying it and doing it. One of my reasons was to show my kids that you can do these things. You can try things you are never too old. You're never not good enough. It never hurts to try. They inspire me to be better and to try.
Lesson number one: It's okay to care.
Lesson number two: Know what you like and who you are and don't worry about the rest. Lesson number three: Make friends wherever you are, wherever you go
Lesson number four: Chase your squirrel and if you catch it know what's next.
Lesson number five: Find the Inspiration All Around You.
Let the people around you inspire you. Inspire others. Imagine we all just had the goal in life to inspire somebody every day. I want to inspire you. I want to connect with you. Even if I connect with one person then my goal is being complete and my next goal because remember you need to have something next, it's going to be amazing.
Since I am a huge fan of the Home Edit show and the Netflix show, Get Organized I am hosting a 5 day get organized challenge. If you want to join my challenge and I want you to join my challenge it's going to be a five day really fun interactive challenge for free hop on my website at the www.therenaissancemama.com/getorganised and learn all about it. We would love for you to be a part of it because it's going to be amazing. I really want to hear from you is what is one life lesson that your child or children has taught you recently? I can't wait to hear it.
Bye for now friends