Today’s post os a guest post from Caz Makepeace of Mojito Mother. When Caz is not sipping mojitos around the world with her husband and daughter, she is writing about her life as a laid back and fun Mojito Mother and doing her best to put the mojo back into a mother’s life. Join her Mojito Mother facebook community.
Despite the obvious joy that comes with parenting, being a mother has taught me many things about myself and life.
1. I am Powerful Beyond Measure
I didn’t really know what I was capable of until I became a mother. Childbirth for one, taught me about my own strength and ability to handle pain. But, I have also learned that I am capable of loving another person beyond measure; I am able to raise my daughter as a strong, independent, loving and happy child; and I am capable of following my own dreams at the same time. Being a mother has taught me that I really am powerful beyond measure.
2. I have the Capacity to Love Unconditionally
My daughter could tell me she hated me and hit my arm and I would still want to wrap her in my arms and love all over her. I would never feel the same way about anyone else who did that to me. I love Kalyra to unknown depths and having her has taught me exactly what unconditionally love is and that we all have the capacity to feel it. It is the most powerful and joyful emotion anyone could ever have. Being a mother has helped me to see this and has inspired me to spread more love in the world.
3. Emotions are here to be felt and then let go
One minute they are crying the next laughing hysterically. Children understand that emotions are here to be felt and then to be let go again. Their screams and cries may take a few minutes (or more) but once that frustration and sadness has left their bodies they are free to move forward and feel whatever comes next. They don’t hold onto their grievances and turn them into stories and baggage to carry forward with them forever, and they don’t hide or shut away their anger or unhappiness.
It’s okay to feel emotions that don’t feel like they are serving us. It is not okay to ignore them or hold onto them. That is when they do not serve their purpose of teaching us and allowing us to move on.
4. There is awe to be found in the simplest of things
When my baby first started to talk, I would pick her from her cot upon first waking of a morning and she would point to things around the room and start naming them, so overjoyed she was at her own cleverness. When bugs would scurry by she would crouch down in amazement and the way they moved.
Just the other day a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky, “Oh wow Mummy! Look at that beautiful rainbow. That is the first rainbow I ever saw. I love it.” and then she ran inside to tell Nan and Pop to come look. How often we go about our day totally immune to the simple things that are so amazing and beautiful. We need to get back to the essence of children, where everything is something to be in awe of and excited by.
5. Positive encouragement will make you thrive
Raising a child has affirmed for me what I already knew with teaching children. The best way to have a child flourish and thrive is to give specific encouragement. This doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to discipline, bu that you acknowledge the work and behaviour of your child. This is equally important and essential for raising responsible and respectful children. But, you cushion the negative with lots of encouragement.
6. Some times you have to explain and other times a simple because yeah will do
We all know the constant why questions our children harass us with. Even though their endless curiosity can drive us batty, it is our responsibility to answer their questions with the best explanations we can. Sometimes we can counter act with a “Why do you think? ” to get them learning how to think for themselves and put together possible answers.
When Kalyra was just beginning to talk quite fluently, I would ask her why questions which she just did not have the capacity to answer, so she would say “Because yeah. ” One day the constant why questions were coming from her and I was drained of explanation. I did not know what to say next, so I said “because yeah.” “Oh” she said satisfied with the answer and the questions stopped. I now find myself using that statement to the children I teach and to adults. Sometimes things in life just don’t need explaining.
7. Live in the moment
Children grow incredibly fast. It feels like yesterday I was going for my daily beach walk with my baby girl wrapped in my arms as we would stop for milk breaks. Now she is dragging me along the path while she rides her bicycle. It makes me realize just how often we don’t savour each moment, and before we know it our babes are grown up and gone and we wonder where the years went. Most of the time they went on things that didn’t matter–thoughts consumed with non-essential tasks, stresses and dramas.
Now that I am preparing for our new baby, I am reminded that I must live for and savour each moment because it won’t be long before my second baby girl is riding her bike shouting out “Look Mum no hands!”
8. Some days you will mess up
I came into my role as a parent, wanting to be perfect. I forever worried about the slightest thing I might do or say that could cause my child psychological damage that would rear its ugly head in her adult years. As all things in life, nothing is perfect nor can it ever be. So give up the false expectation that you can be. Some days you’ll mess up, and some days worse then others. The most important thing is that you are doing the best you can from where you are with what you have.
And when the mistakes come, the most important thing you need to do is to be able to say “I’m sorry; I will do better next time.” A child will be alright if you do or say the wrong thing as long as they always know that you love them more than anything. Love will override all errors.
9. A pat on the back, a cuddle and a whisper in the ear is the best form of comfort
I was going through the first trimester blues, hugging the porcelain bowl and feeling immensely sorry for myself. From behind me I felt a small arm wrap itself around my shoulders and another little hand pulled back my hair to whisper in my ear, “Don’t worry Mummy, I’ll look after you. We are best friends.”
Thoughts of how bad I felt instantly vanished replaced with an overwhelming sense of love, gratitude and comfort. Sometimes words aren’t really needed, all we need in times of difficulties is the knowledge that someone is there holding back our hair and patting our back to help get us through.
10. Children are our greatest spiritual teachers
Children come into this world, knowing everything we need to know to live a happy and fulfilled life. It is only as they get older that they learn different messages from society and lose touch with that magic they were born with. Kalyra never stops teaching me, be it a simple sentence she says or just a look. Her eyes are filled with wisdom and if I watch and listen closely enough, I will learn many of her secrets.
What have your kids taught you?