Being a Mama of four kiddos has been awesome. It’s been rewarding, fulfilling, challenging…blah, blah, blah. Who am I kidding? Being a parent is hard. Yes, yes…over the years I’ve loved my kids. I’ve nurtured the fledgling artist, author, scientist, and civil engineer. I’ve kissed boo-boos, chauffeured budding guitarists to their lessons, and fretted over how many unhealthy meals we’ve had this week or that.
I do love my kids. What I love most about them is they are great teachers. They’ve taught me to relax a little…to literally not cry over spilled milk–because Heaven knows how much milk has been spilled in the house and van over the years. They’ve taught me humility: like how to choke down embarrassing comments about my shirt looking wet in the underarm area. They’ve taught me how to make clever comments in the form of a question. For instance, did you know that instead of saying, “Wow. Your breath stinks” you can manage the same sentiment by asking, “Did Daddy forget to buy you toothpaste last week?”.
My children have taught me patience (“HOW many TIMES did I tell you not to do that??”). They’ve taught me time-management, like I know that if we start our bedtime routine at 2:30 in the afternoon, they WILL be in bed by 8:00pm. They’ve taught me resilience: “No” the first time still means “no” two hundred times later.
Yes, my kids have taught me so much over the years that I have a PhD in Parenting. Most of all, I’ve learned that my kids are smart–smarter than me. And it is never ever a good idea to let them get the upper hand in a situation that calls for discipline. Grown-ups, know this: kids can smell weakness a mile away and will not think twice about laughing in your face if you are not smart enough to keep up with them. No, no, no… parenting is an art form–a game in which the parent and child do their best to dodge the one-two punches.
I don’t believe in spanking so I’ve had to really put my Thinking Cap on over the years to figure out how to handle certain situations. The kids won’t turn off their bedroom light? (Punch). Ask them politely to turn the lights out when they’re not using them, which they promptly disregard (jab). Remove the offending light bulb so they have no light source for a day or two (uppercut).
When I told my son that he couldn’t only eat cookies for dinner (punch), he slammed his door after throwing a very impressive and formidable fit (jab), at which point we removed his door for a week (uppercut…and knockout!!).
The thing is, all this discipline-sparring over the years has given us a lot to laugh about later. Not so fun in the moment, but totally hilarious a few years down the road. My kids sure do keep me on my toes and since they haven’t laughed in my face lately, I’m guessing I’m doing alright keeping up with them. Thank you, Babies. Onto the next lesson…
CJ Heath is in absolute, fabulous love with her smart, funny, wise, interesting, and clever children. They make each other laugh–A LOT–in between punches and jabs 😉