Some Wisdom Please

I’m not the same person I was twenty years ago.  I’m a mess.  I show up at school functions with two different shoes on my feet, and end up at grocery stores with my shirt on inside-out.   Although I’m not a drunk I can empathize with seeking an escape from the constant demands of life and motherhood even when all I ever wanted was a family.

I had four daughters in the prime of my life.  I gave them my best years (geez I sound like a wrinkly old geezer shaking my bony fists at the heavens).  Nothing of course prepared me for motherhood, not all those years of babysitting, not my own mother’s spittled advice, not even a Master’s degree in counseling, or Tony Horton’s Beach Body boot camp double DVD set.  For shame.

I imagined motherhood to be a breeze with my arm around my beloved well-spoken child, strolling along the beach, discussing her loves, her fears, her dreams, etc.  Ahhh.

The reality I got was my eldest hiding the fact that she had her first period, which apparently sent me into full-throttle I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening mode and I put my daughter in the car and drove her to a remote location, basically locked her in, and asked her why in the hell she wouldn’t include me in such a momentous moment I’d been anxiously waiting for.  Her nails scratched at the passenger door the whole time.images

Needless to say I must learn to communicate better with my babies before a)  I die of a coronary, or b) they go off to college. I’ve had more time to think about what’s important.  Here’s my attempt to impart some wisdom which I realize they may hear now, with the possibility of understanding later.

Five Truths I Think Kids Should Hear: 

  1. It’s not all about you, contrary to popular belief.  The quicker you realize this, and change your mind about this, the more free you’ll be relating to and enjoying other people around you.
  2. You are not the sum of your parts.  A hyper focus on your perceived physical flaws robs you of being the you you were meant to be.
  3. Say no thank you sometimes.  You can people-please yourself right into a psychotic break or a dangerous situation.   
  4. Try something hard.  You’ll never get stronger if you don’t break a “bone” or two.
  5. Ask for help when you need it.  Pride does come before a fall, and if you look at it in another way, the helper is probably stoked about being helpful, as long as you don’t abuse this power that comes with humility.

[What do you think is paramount to teach your kids before they crawl out into the outer expanse of the universe, besides the obvious ones we learn in Kindergarten about sharing our toys and putting them back when we’re done playing?]  

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26 thoughts on “Some Wisdom Please

  1. Hi Angie, I couldn’t help but read your post today and think what did i do for my kids as they grew up. As a male of course i realise it was different for me than for their mother, though for some of my girls I became their mum as well as their dad. The lessons I learnt as I went along, and I should point out my girls, the three of them are now in their 30’s or about to be, is they will never do what you want them to do, they are individuals and separate people from you, and the one thing and often the most difficult, hang in their with them, try to understand from their perspective, which is not easy I can tell you, but always be there for them and try to refrain from telling them what they should have done especially in those moments where you can clearly see the apparent stuff up they just committed. I found I had to listen to them and talk to them not at them which as parents we can so easily do as we did all that as they were growing up. Its a hard gig Angie, but in the end you’d like to think your kids see you as an ally, someone they can come to, rely on and trust with their confidences. Good luck with it all.

    1. Thanks Michael. I’m welling up with emotion as my eldest graduates high school soon. She has been my greatest teacher, given me experience and lots of grace. Hang in there is sound advice! Out love them right?

      1. Yes it’s difficult, my eldest who is now 38 yrs old gave me much grief as she grew up, but as much as it hurt me I did all I could and tried not to judge her, she was my daughter I loved her and still do, we made it in the end and have a good relationship now days. But there were some dicey days Angie.

  2. My daughter is grown with two daughters of her own: ten and six. The older one mumbles and rolls her eyes, her mind always somewhere else. I call here 10 going on 18.n I’m glad I’m not her sole parent. She is becoming difficult already. I think learning to listen and show respect to elders is important. 🙂

    1. Yes it is. I’ve been working on teaching this lesson especially to my third child who came out of the womb rolling her eyes! Each one of my daughter’s keeps me guessing, and on my toes.

  3. We just need to trust that we have done our best with our children; then hope that they make their way into the world with pure hearts, finding joy and spreading their gifts. Your, “It’s not all about you” Truth is the one that struck a chord with me. Motherhood teaches us that Truth pretty quickly. It’s the Truth that I most want my girls to live. Your kids are great, Angie. They will be fine, and they know that they are loved by you.

  4. This made me smile! Only ever being a child and never a parent I’m not sure I can offer any advice though. Just two thoughts that are a particular bugbear at the moment – say thank you for the little things – holding open doors, stepping out of the way to let people pass. And smile at people when you’re out and about – they smile back and it makes everyone’s day better. As I said – nothing very useful or inspiring.

    1. I’m feeling pretty typically emotional about my first child launching. Happy, anxious, excited for her. The part you may be concerned about is my angst over coming to terms with learning to accept her for who she is (a typical non-communicative teen). My dreams were quite different, but I need to accept that I did the best I could, and pray she (and I) continue to grow.

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