Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend and like many women out there, it’s given me some time to reflect and think about my own mother as well as my experiences with being a mother myself. Today, I’m sharing some things I’ve learned in the four years and four months since I became a mother.
You are a walking dictionary/thesaurus
One of the goals I had when I became a parent was to help my children have a good vocabulary. What I didn’t know when I made this goal was that by doing so I was also going to become and walking-talking dictionary and thesaurus. All day long I hear, “Mom, what does (fill-in-the-blank) mean?” I can’t even count how many times a day I hear these words. It’s almost become second nature for me to listen to what I say and anticipate when my kids will ask what a words means. I always giggle to myself when my kids, mostly my daughter (age 4), asks my husband what something means and he has a hard time explaining it in a way she’ll understand. He doesn’t get quite the same amount of practice that I do. *wink* As frustrating as it can be at times, I’m grateful that my kids are curious and want to know what words mean and about the world around them.
No matter how hard you try, you will still yell at your kids sometimes
I never though of myself as a yeller. I still don’t. But there are days when being a parent is HARD and instead of patience and understanding, I yell. And then I feel horrible as I watch my children’s faces crumple up and tears well up in their eyes. *sigh* I wish someone had told me that there would be days where I would yell at my kids. The worst is when you yell at them and then find out they were trying to be nice or thoughtful. I’ve learned that kids are so quick to forgive and I’m grateful to them for that.
Your food is not your own
See that plate in front of you? The food on it isn’t actually yours. It’s your kids. At least that’s what they think. Maybe we’ve conditioned them to think that, since from the time they are young we give them little bites of food from our plate. Regardless, it seems rare to go through a meal without at least one child asking for some of the food or drink in front of us when we clearly have the same thing in front of us that they do in front of them. And that chocolate you’ve been hiding? Forget about it. Kids have superior hearing and smell when it comes to all things sugar so you better lock it up tight and don’t even think about eating it until you’re sure you’re alone.
Kids are gross
There will be a point (read: many points) where you have to clean up really gross stuff. If your child has ever exploded out of their diaper, spit up down your shirt, or thrown up right into your outstretched hands, you know what I’m talking about. There is nothing that could have prepared me for this part of parenting. Sure, I knew it was there. People talk about it. I wasn’t totally naive. But if I stop and think about some of the gross things I’ve had to clean up…*shudder*
You are your kids hero
As a mother, I make mistakes every. single. day. I think it goes without saying that no one is perfect. I’ve had many days when my kids will come up to me and give me a big hug for no reason and say “I love you” or “Mommy, you’re my best friend.” That. That right there gives me a little boost to do better and be better because these little people are counting on me.
Your love will grow every single day
There are some things in life that you just won’t fully understand until you experience them yourself (and maybe not even then). I think being a mother is one of those things. I remember growing up and hearing my parents say, “You’ll understand when you become a parent.” And I do. It’s incredible to me that if I think back to the day each of my kids were born, I know that I love them more today than I did then.
Some days you won’t like your kid(s)
On the other hand, there will be days that you just plain don’t like your kid(s). I’ve had a few of these. They are usually the days where one or both of my kids are being naughty or talking back or doing any other number of things that frustrate me. I sometimes think of the movie How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days when Andie and Ben have just broken up and Andie is leaving his apartment and Ben comes running after and suggests couple therapy. And then Andie says, “I love you, but right now I don’t like you.” That’s how I feel about my kids some days.
Hearing your children laugh is magic
I really believe that there are few sounds as magical as hearing my children laugh. Whether it’s because they are being tickled or chased around the house or they are just playing together, I love hearing their laughter. I wish I could bottle it up and save it for rainy days.
A completely clean house is a myth
Keeping my house clean when I have little kids is basically impossible. I’ve learned I have to settle for certain parts of my house to be clean at different times. Right now, the kids bathroom and bedroom are clean, but the kitchen and living room are a mess. Other days, the basement is spotless but my bedroom looks like a tornado just came through. Just as I get something cleaned up, the kids will pull it out. It’s like the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. However, the house does stay a bit cleaner now that I have a chore chart for my daughter. Even my son likes to help with putting dishes away or vacuuming under the kitchen table after a meal.
They are observant
I am amazed again and again at how observant my kids are. Not to mention, my daughter has the memory of an elephant. Kids truly learn by example and they copy my husband and I in everything we do and say. They keep us accountable. It’s always a little funny when my daughter reminds my husband that we “don’t say that word (i.e. stupid, dumb, butt)” or my son points to a chair and asks us to “sit, sit” as we eat our food.
When all is said and done, I wouldn’t trade being a mother for anything in the world. My kids are wonderful, kind, smart, sweet, thoughtful and curious. They bring out the best (and worst) in me and remind me that I can always try again to be better.
I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day!