Almost a year ago I shared love lessons I wanted my daughters to know. But the thing is, as much as I aspire to teach them, they’ve been two of my greatest teachers. Being a mother has taught me so much about life and love, and I truly believe being a mother has made me a better wife. When I met my husband, I was already a mother. It is a role that has shaped the very essence of who I am. The qualities I possessed as a mother turned out to be some of the very things he ended up loving about me. In fact, they are some of the very qualities I love most about myself.
My children are my calls to action, my little agents of change. They hold me accountable and inspire me to put my all into everything I do not only for me but also for them. Their eyes are always watching. They are making mental notes even if they don’t realize that they are. And thus, in a sense, they have become my teachers.
It’s funny how this parenting gig works because so many of the lessons you learn are things you already knew. They are the words that your mother (or someone you looked up to) told you as a small child, words tucked away only to race to the forefront of your mind as you lie in a hospital bed with a tiny infant on your chest moments after giving birth. Words that you recollect as you sit and listen to your little one tell you about a fight they had with a best friend who is no longer their friend. Words that flow out of your mouth as you offer up wisdom, encouragement and love. Words, when served with hugs, can mend a broken heart and remedy a scraped elbow. Somehow my role as a mother allows me to understand them on a much deeper level.
My kids have opened my eyes and my heart. They caused me to see the world differently, to see people differently. I am better because of them. I love better because of them. And it is that deep love for them that brings me to the realization that being their mama and a wife to their dad are amongst the best decisions I have ever made.
So what is it that my children have taught me, or at the very least affirmed? Here are 16 of the most prominent lessons:
Love Lessons I Have Learned From My Children 1 of 17
My children have taught me much when it comes to life and love. Here are 16 of the lessons I have learned from them.
People are not disposable 2 of 17
As a parent, we couldn't imagine not being there for our children. We watch the news and hear stories, and can't fathom how someone would give up on their child. To not stand by them as they encounter health or behavioral challenges, or whatever it might be. Why? Because as a parent there is nothing we value or hold more dearly than our babies. If our child made a mistake, we stand by their side to get them through it. We wouldn't threaten to leave them or walk away, leaving them to muddle through the pieces. There is a grace we give our children that many of us fail to extend to our spouses. But they shouldn't be disposable either. Our spouses should know that even in the midst of a trial or hardship, we will be by their side.
To forgive freely 3 of 17
Our babies forgive so freely. One minute you have the potential to be dubbed the "worst mom ever." The next minute, you're the "best mom in the whole world." Children forgive freely. They don't hold grudges or highlight your shortcomings. They simply let it go and get back to loving us. This was a lesson that I wanted my daughters to know, and, as it would turn out, it is a lesson they have helped me truly understand.
Apologize without hesitation 4 of 17
When they are little, we teach our children to say sorry when they have hurt someone. "Say you're sorry," we firmly tell them, wondering in the back of our minds if they truly grasp what it means to be apologetic. And yet we struggle to apologize or seek forgiveness when we have hurt our loved ones. We find ourselves holding out in a battle of wills determined not to say sorry first. But children? They apologize, and then they get back to playing and having fun. I've learned when I've been swift in my seeking of forgiveness we've been able to move on, move forward, and get back to the good stuff.
Accept people for who they are 5 of 17
My children accept me for who I am. I don't have to be perfect; I just have to love them. It doesn't matter if I always make spaghetti or that I have yet to finish the baby book (my oldest is 9, and I didn't even start one for my second). They could care less that I can't sew or that I have absolutely no rhythm. They love me for me. And their love for me, so pure and without limits, encourages me to love others and accept others for who they are, my husband included.
To be silly 6 of 17
As parents, we will do just about anything to make our babies laugh. We will be silly and relinquish our cool cards all in the name of love. My children are always laughing and giggling and being silly. They remind me to not be so serious all of the time. It is something that is important in my marriage too. It's important for my husband and I to laugh and be silly, and have fun together. Our moments of laughter are amongst the times that I feel most connected to him.
To be brave 7 of 17
Children can be so fearless. They leap without looking and aren't afraid to take chances. And while I think we do have to be careful and use our best judgment, sometimes you have to leap too. Sometimes you have to be willing to have courage and refuse to let your fear consume you. Sometimes you have to "be you, bravely." Fear would have kept me from venturing down the aisle yet again. But I knew something -- someone -- amazing was waiting for me when I got to the end -- the love of my life.
To say yes to adventure 8 of 17
My oldest daughter loves an adventure. We often go on them as a family. Being a mother has taught me to say yes to adventures and to go out and live life. To not just sit wait for opportunities to come knocking. And in the event that opportunities do come knocking, to not be afraid to answer the call. When it comes to my marriage, it is our adventures that keep the fun and excitement going. They will be the substance of the stories we share and reminisce of when we are too old to embark on them.
Be inquisitive 9 of 17
Children love to ask questions. They are curious beings that want to know about things. And when you tell them they demand to know more. It is their inquisitive nature that inspires me to ask my own husband questions. They remind me to sit and listen intently to his stories. To be mindful of the way his demeanor changes and his face begins to light up as he shares them. I desire to listen to more of my husband's stories and attentively hear what he has to say.
Embracing repetition can be a beautiful thing 10 of 17
Sometimes as adults we get bored with repetition but not children. Babies will want to read the same book or sing the same song over and over. Each time you do, they grow excited almost as if it was the first time. I dream of a life of repetition when it comes to my husband and my babies. I dream of waking up every single morning by his side and kissing him goodbye each day as he heads out the door. In the repetition I see the gift I have been given, a chance to create a life with an amazing man. And my prayer is that I will be afforded the opportunity to do it over and over again.
Slow down 11 of 17
With the arrival of my second child came this strong pull to slow down. I wanted to savor the baby years knowing they would be over so fast. Being a mother has taught me that I must slow down. Rather than always being in a hurry to get to what is next, sometimes I need to press pause and live in the moment.
Ask for you what you need 12 of 17
"Uuuup." I know the day is coming when the tiny arms that reach for me will be coupled with a verbal request to be picked up. When my children need something, they ask. Whether it is my oldest letting me know she is ready to be tucked in or our littlest saying,"Eat. Eat." They aren't afraid to ask for what they need. Asking for what I need is something I will work on doing more often in my marriage.
Trust 13 of 17
My children trust that I will be there to meet their needs. They know that I will respond to their cries. That I will offer hugs, cuddles, and words of affirmation. They know that they can depend on me. They know this because my actions have shown them that their mommy will meet their needs. My husband's actions have shown me that I can place my trust in him and that I can do this without a doubt. At the same time I make an effort to ensure that my husband always knows the same. For me, motherhood has solidified the importance of trust and striving to meet the needs of your loved ones.
Show Affection 14 of 17My little ones shower me with hugs and kisses all of the time. And they love when I do it back. They remind me that physical touch can actually be just as powerful and important as words of affirmation.
Feel your emotions 15 of 17
My babies are feelers. My oldest always has been. Her heart hurts when she sees someone sad or in pain. She isn't able to turn her eye the way jaded adults do. She has to do something whether it's whispering to me asking if we can offer the frustrated women behind us our spot in line, incorporating someone into her prayers or giving food to someone who may otherwise go without. I love this about her and think the world needs people like her. That is, people who aren't afraid to feel, people who feel and then are compelled to act because of it. My children help me see the beauty in the feeling even when it is painful. It means that I am alive, not jaded. My heart is open, not hardened. I feel love, and because I know how amazing it feels, I freely give it to my loved ones wanting them to experience it also.
Show your emotions 16 of 17
Children are great at showing their emotions. If they are upset you will know it. While it is important to be able to control one's emotions I think it is important to allow your spouse to see them as well. Transparency is both freeing and humbling. There was a time when I felt like I had to always be strong. I was known for balancing school, work and single parenthood. I proved that I could triumph in the midst of adversity. But I've learned that I don't always have to be strong or have it all together. And so much growth has come from the moments in which I have crumbled and pulled myself up or allowed my husband to help me stand. When I am upset or sad or scared he knows it and because of my honesty and transparency he is able to better support me and be there for me.
Keep trying 17 of 17
When my babies were learning to walk, they would fall and fall. But the falls weren't enough to keep them from trying. The fact that walking didn't come easy at first wasn't enough for them to settle for a life of crawling and being carried in their mama's arms. They kept trying, and each day they got stronger and more confident. They didn't give up. They were working toward something. In this case, that something was a series of steps uninterrupted by a tumble. The same has happened with learning to ride bicycles or make friendship bracelets, and to write names, and figure out math problems. It is a lesson that applies to love. Much like 12 times tables, love isn't always easy or even fun, but it's worth the effort and commitment. If you've got something worth trying for, then by all means, keep trying.
What are some love lessons that you have learned from your children?
Photo Source: My Instagram @hismrshermr