Updated: Apr 13, 2021
I have found my experience as a parent to be the biggest gift I could have ever received and the most personally trying experience of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes wanted to get a job or even perhaps go live on an island by myself. However, as I look back on the experience now that my children are grown, I must recognize that this is where I truly learned who I am and have come to accept all the personal development that has happened in the process.
Let’s talk about the ways your parenting can develop traits within you that other things never could:
1. Parenting builds resilience. In the early days of raising my children I thought, “Oh my
gosh, this age has got to be the biggest challenge.” That was age 2. Then we hit the 4’s and 5’s of heading off to school and I thought, “Wow, this is really hard, watching them interact with peers and getting disappointed or not invited to something. It can’t get harder than this.” Then, middle school hit — need I say more? As we grow in our experiences watching our kids learn so many things, we do learn a lot too. We can learn how to “not do it right” and get up and do it all over again.
2. Patience. Kids do not exactly come out expecting parents to address their issues when it is convenient for the parents. They need and want things and expect us to respond. Think of your own experience as a child or parent. A child does not respond well when a parent explodes or has some type of immediate reaction. It is not helpful for either the child or you. This is where taking a brief “time out” as a parent can help you and your children develop patience, compassion and empathy for one another.
3. Being present. Watch your children play
in the yard or with their toys and you will notice an innate ability to be focused and naturally present in the activity. They don’t have to practice or sit in some mindfulness activity to find it, they just do it. Kids have the advantage of engaging in play freely and can teach us how to be present by simply playing too. We get caught up in life and forget how to simply be present. Give yourself the gift of play today.
4. Parenting helps us gain perspective. Before I had kids, I thought I was SO busy. I had no idea what busy was. Living with a kid-busy schedule helped me figure out what my priorities really were. Now, I am once again without children in my house and I have come to realize that my priorities have once again changed. I “GET to” instead of “HAVE to” these days.
5. Letting go of perfectionism. Now, don’t get me wrong -- I still deal with these tendencies. However, I learned how to give up control of some things -- like a “clean house.” I decided some snuggles and play time were more important. I still value “play time” with friends and my hubby as more important than a clean house.
6. Fulfillment. I never knew my life could be filled with so much purpose until after I had kids. I knew some of the passions I had, the dreams I wanted to fulfill and ways I wanted to contribute to this world, but had no idea what else I didn’t know.
Parenting has opened my eyes to so much of my own “stuff” that I really needed to address and to really look at my own limitations. I have my children to thank for this gift! Thank you to my lovelies!
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