Being a parent is exhausting. I don’t need to tell you that. What I do need to tell you is that all of your hard work is paying off—and not just for your kids. Motherhood has the potential to transform every aspect of your life and make you a better, more well-rounded, more whole person. How, exactly? I’ll let Patricia Ribeiro Wolfson, communication expert and creator of the super fun, upcoming summer retreat Camp Mom, explain it in this fabulous guest post. –Dawn
Motherhood is no joke.
It is an all-encompassing, 24/7 experience that makes you question absolutely EVERYTHING about yourself. Not only do you always feel like you’re being tested and triggered by your kids, but you also have to become super clear about who you are, what you stand for and how you respond to everything. Why? Because you have these little people who are mirroring everything right back at you.
In my own life, it is clear that I am the student and my children are my teachers. Every interaction with them is a teaching moment for both of us. It is a call for me to take decisive action while addressing challenges, triggers and beliefs, as well as an opportunity to heal wounds that have shaped my identity and guided me to this very moment. Since the purpose in life is growth, now that I am a mom, my children are the tools which the Universe uses to enhance my knowledge and skills to expand as a human being.
So I compiled this list of 10 things you learn when you become a mom to show you just how these motherhood lessons can improve every part of your life.
1. INTUITION. Since babies don’t talk and don’t come with a manual, you really need to rely on your own instincts to figure out what your baby needs. Although this may seem like a challenge, it is designed to build your intuition. You learn to listen to other cues—such as crying, fussing and hand gestures—and eventually you can anticipate your child’s needs. You also develop a strong sense of when things are wrong and learn to take action to rectify the problem. Whether you realize it or not, this experience makes you attuned to subtle clues in the energy around you, and that is tremendously useful in every part of your life.
Whether it’s dealing with a temper tantrum after you’ve cut the toast the wrong way or the teenage attitude that tests you with a simple roll of the eyes, parenthood is a master class in patience.
2. ADAPTABILITY. Just when you think you have everything figured out, something changes. You learn to adapt to your kids’ ever-evolving needs, skills and challenges as they move through their milestones and focus on new things. You may not know what to do right away, but through trial and error, you figure it out.
3. INVESTIGATIVE SKILLS. When your child is playing in another room and it’s suddenly quiet, you KNOW something is up. They are usually making a mess, causing some trouble or drawing on something with a sharpie (maybe that’s just mine). This also applies to a kid who tells you everything is fine, that he brushed his teeth, that he didn’t hit his brother first or that he suddenly hates his friends. You know there is always more to the story, so you learn to dig deep, get to the bottom of a problem and help your child come up with a solution.
4. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Who knew that you could love something that poops, pees and gets puke and boogers all over you? Even as they grow and assert their independence, tell you that you’re “the worst” and that they hate you, you will still go out of your way to make their favorite dinner. You will melt like a popsicle on a hot day when they give you an unsolicited hug or ask you for help. There is nothing like the love between a mom and her kids. Although they drive you crazy, there is absolutely NOTHING you wouldn’t do for them. There are no lines you wouldn’t cross and no mountains you wouldn’t climb if it means seeing them happy.
5. PATIENCE. Great things take time, and nothing teaches you that better than motherhood. From the moment you find out you are pregnant, you must learn patience. And even with that nine-month gestational period, nothing can prepare you for the amount of patience you are going to need once the baby comes out. Whether it’s dealing with a temper tantrum after you’ve cut the toast the wrong way or the teenage attitude that tests you with a simple roll of the eyes, parenthood is a master class in patience.
You can’t control everything…no matter how much you prepare. Your kids are on this earth to teach you this big life lesson.
6. HOW TO GO WITH THE FLOW. You can’t control everything…no matter how much you prepare. Even if you’re meticulous with scheduling or you’re an organizational wizard, your kids are on this earth to teach you this big life lesson. You can pick out all of the clothes the night before, prep breakfast and have everyone up and dressed, and you’ll still have to deal with a sudden sock meltdown, a missing toy (that you actually threw away months ago, but they refuse to leave the house without) or a sibling altercation that resembles a bar fight. You can yell, scream, threaten or even calmly dole out consequences, but you will probably still be late to that birthday party.
7. TRUST. You spend day after day, year after year teaching your kids how to make good choices, how to treat others, how to deal with disappointment and how to be contributing members of society. But, as they grow up and become more and more independent, you have to trust that you have laid the proper foundation for them. You must have faith that your guidance was enough for them to navigate through the obstacles that they will face and that your love is enough to support them through the good and the bad.
8. LAUGHTER REALLY IS THE BEST MEDICINE. I can absolutely confirm that at my house, a well-timed fart joke will dissolve any anger, frustration or bad moods in a heartbeat. Admittedly, I have three boys and fart jokes abound, BUT I have plenty of friends who can attest that their little princesses think farts are just as funny. Regardless of your particular family’s flavor of humor, the key is to get laughing. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and laughter is contagious. You cannot feel crappy when you hear a little kid cackling. Laughter brings you back to childhood, innocence and fun.
9. YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING (AND THAT’S OK). If there is one thing that parenting has taught me, it is that I have no clue about some stuff. When my kids were babies, I really felt like I was learning a new language. Trying to understand what they needed from me before they could speak was tough—and right up there with common core math. However, I learned to embrace it, and now I teach my kids that they don’t need to know everything. Instead, they need to learn how to find the answers. I encourage them to not give up until they figure it out. This may be the most important lesson that I have personally learned: that I don’t have to know it all. I just need to have the courage to admit that I don’t have the answer and then do my best to figure it out.
10. IT’S IMPORTANT TO ASK FOR HELP. This lesson is crucial to surviving motherhood, and it is probably the thing that we all struggle with the most. I don’t know when it became expected for us to do everything on our own, but somewhere in the last few generations, that is exactly what happened. NO ONE does it alone. People are designed to coexist, to be interdependent. We literally can’t survive as a species without each other, so I’m not sure why we all decided that asking for help is a sign of weakness or incompetence—and yet, there is not a single mother I know who doesn’t struggle with this. I do, too, but I’m working on it, one ask at a time.
Patricia Ribeiro Wolfson is a communication expert and motivational speaker who believes that everything you want comes down to being clear and effective in how you communicate. She uses her expertise to guide women to become aligned with themselves and in their business while building a strong foundation with their family. Her upcoming event, Camp Mom, is a one-day retreat that celebrates hardworking mamas by taking them out of their daily routine and encouraging them to have fun. This year’s Camp Mom will take place at Driftwood Day Camp in Long Island, New York, on July 29th. For details and tickets, go to www.campmomrocks.com, and for more from Patricia, check out www.jumpstartforchange.com.
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