6 Mar
2015
Posted in: parenting
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Learning More than Teaching

I’m certain when our last child moves out of the house, years from now, that I will have learned more from them than what they learned from me.

Over the last 12 years, I’ve learned more about myself from mothering than any self-reflection exercises I ever attempted. I have a better handle on my strengths and weaknesses. The parts of my attitudes and habits I don’t necessarily enjoy about myself have been magnified with parenting. I’m quick to anger and slow to patience. I have little room for excuses, even if they’re valid. I need quiet, me time which is woefully difficult to come by with a family of six. On the sunny side, I excel at allowing my kids to be who they want to be including what they read, how they dress and extra-curricular activities they want to try. I enjoy finding activities for us to take part in and traveling as a family. We talk openly, even uncomfortable talks with a tween are fair-game. I’ve learned I’m a good cook which I would never had said pre-motherhood.

boy sitting on bench during a basketball game

Yesterday my 6th grader had his first school basketball game. He plays on the “A” team and was watching the “B” team play when I got the call. Things weren’t going so well for the “B” team, and our son needed a little pep talk before his game began. Ultimately, he realized that what he enjoys about sports is the practicing and seeing himself improve. While winning is nice, his team’s record doesn’t diminish his love for the activity. That kid has been on teams that have suffered through some serious losing streaks. If there’s one thing he is, it’s a good sport.

This morning I was lamenting about a task I HAD to do. I’ve come to enjoy chatting with our oldest. He can hold his own in most adult conversations and tends to ask questions that make me second-guess myself, in a good way. Today he asked why I do things I don’t actually enjoy. He wouldn’t play basketball if he didn’t like doing it. He gives quite a bit of his valuable time to basketball and thought it sounded silly to use his set amount of hours each day on things he doesn’t actually like. There are moments where it’s like having my own Yoda sharing wise advice.

I’ve been thinking off-and-on today about what he said. Why would I continue to give my time to something I don’t enjoy and don’t feel contributes to my or my family’s goals and aspirations? While there are endless things that MUST be done on a daily basis just to maintain our health, home and jobs, there are plenty of items I do that don’t contribute to my overall vision for this one life I have. Once again I find myself reevaluating the use of my time spurred on by one of my children. As much as I miss the cuddly baby versions of my children, it seems the growing up versions have their own appeal as well.

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