Skills Parenting has made me better at 1 of 8
1: Becoming a Better Daughter
My mother was a single mom. She didnt just work one job; at any given time she had two to three jobs at a time while raising my sister and me. When I was very young, I knew she was a nurse but I had no idea what stress and strain she went through as she traveled each morning to her hospital in Spanish Harlem, taking five trains each way back and forth. All I knew was that 5pm was the happiest time of my day because my mother would come home and Batman would come on TV. There was no better combination.
When I became a mom, I started to see the world in a whole new way. I became more patient, understanding, and instead of quickly summing up a situation, I began to think more about both sides of a situation and empathize. Being a parent has given me the chance to really get to know myself more and contemplate life from a moms perspective. Through it all, one of the most unexpected ways that being a parent has changed me is that it helped me become a more appreciative daughter.
Read more about Danielles becoming a better daughter
Skills Parenting has made me better at 2 of 8
I love honesty. I love being on the receiving end of it, even when its hard to hear. I love telling the truth in pretty much all circumstances. I grew up in a household that really valued honesty as a core virtue. Lying was the biggest sin there was. Id like to have lived my whole life never telling a lie.
Then I had kids.
I always swore Id never lie to them. Kids deserve the truth, I thought. But raising them has changed my mind.
Parenting has taught me many things: since having kids Ive become better at running my household, managing my time, keeping my temper, taking care of myself. I can change a diaper, a tire, a lightbulb and my mind faster than I could before I had kids. But one of the big things parenting has taught me is that honesty is not always the best policy.
Read more about Sierras unorthodox talent
Skills Parenting has made me better at 3 of 8
3: Being More Mindful
Before I had a child, I ran on the absent-minded side. I was notorious for leaving my purse on the back of a restaurant chair, locking my keys in the car, leaving the house four times before I had everything I needed. I was always calculating something important — thinking about the past, dreaming or making a list for the future — but my minds resting spot, its home base, was very often not in the present.
That changed when I had my son. Not suddenly, as we pulled into our driveway with him in a little blue hospital hat. But gradually, over the last three years, like youd expect when you work out a set of mental muscles every day.
Read more about how Heather found focus
Skills Parenting has made me better at 4 of 8
4: (Mostly) Keeping My Mouth Shut
Ill start by acknowledging that Im still not all that good at keeping my mouth shut. This should be obvious from the fact that Im writing about myself on the internet.
Before I had kids, I was a professional confessionalist. I blabbed inappropriately about myself in a wide range of media. Often to critical acclaim. I painted confrontational self-portraits and wrote baldly autobiographical songs. I made comics about embarrassing adolescent evenings. I even blabbed about blabbing about myself. Really: I released an EP named Me and My Big Mouth.
But now that Im a mom, I find myself doing something I was never able to do before: occasionally catching the words before they make their way out of my mouth. Often, its simple things. For example: I love parmesan cheese, but not in the morning. In the morning, the smell of parmesan cheese reminds me of vomit. I thought about mentioning this to my son on the way to school today when he was talking about foods that remind him of throw-up. But as I was about to add my piece, I stopped myself. Why give him a reason not to like parmesan cheese?
Read more about how Rebecca keeps a lid on it
Skills Parenting has made me better at 5 of 8
5: Keeping My Cool
If youre a parent, youve been there. If youre a parent of a toddler, oh boy, youre there right now!
Toddler is freaking out. FUH-reaking.
Who knows why? It started a half hour ago and instead of calming down, your kid just keeps reigniting like a fire that refuses to submit to water. Toss a hungry newborn into the mix and place the whole scenario in the small confines of a car, and you have the makings of Mamageddon.
Five years ago this business wouldve been the end of me. The toddler wouldve broken me by minute fifteen. Now? Not so much.
Read more about how Monica stays unflappable
Skills Parenting has made me better at 6 of 8
6: Im better at not sweating the small (and the gross) stuff
There were about five minutes when my daughter graduated from baby food in a jar to real food that she was a picky eater. That time has long since passed. Now she eats just about anything, particularly if its not at a mealtime, its not being fed to her, its not food and its not hers. Chances are strong that some of what she consumes contains vitamins and minerals. And that all of the bacteria shes inevitably ingesting are unlikely to be deadly. Or at least a mother can dream.
If you read enough articles about being a parent, you learn that when you become one you will have no choice but to give up at least one thing in order to survive the experience. My one thing? The need to control everything that my daughter ingests.
Read more about how Meredith learned to let go
Skills Parenting has made me better at 7 of 8
7: Being Self-disciplined
It wasnt until the triplets were two that I realized something: for all the time that my children took in my life, and for all the sacrifices they required, I still enjoyed many of the things that I enjoyed before having kids.
Instead, Ive eliminated virtually everything thats wasnt important to me. Wasted hours watching TV? Gone. Nights spent laughing a bit too loudly a bit too late? Gone. (Well. I mean, almost gone. You still gotta live a little, right?) Weekly poker games? Gone. Burning needless hours at the end of the day? It just doesnt happen anymore. Sleeping in? Same deal.
Parenting, it turns out, has made me far more disciplined. I never goof off. Unless of course, its with my kids. The few occasions I catch myself wasting time these days actually disgust me. Now, I realize that I have no time to waste. At least nowhere near as much.
Read more about how John became more efficient
Skills Parenting has made me better at 8 of 8