Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On Raising Kids

I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, but I'm being honest when I say I don't keep track of what my mommy-brain has done most days.

Raising kids is hard work.  I've realized that I invest more in them than I do in myself, times 4.  I worry about them, reprimand them, try my best to make them happy and keep them safe.  They all need food, clothes and shoes.  I make a concentrated effort to instill manners and an appreciation for even the little things, because I don't want them to take good deeds and good people for granted.

And obviously they are beginning to have their own social calendars which is another thing to juggle...

I think I'm a professional juggler.

My poor Hubby has to deal with my stress, attitude problems and irrational worries on a daily basis.  But before you feel too sorry for him I'll let you know he can be just as much of a nuance. 

But I do love him dearly.

I remember having my first baby, and staring at him in awe every minute of the day.  He was mine.  So perfect and small and precious.  But as the days went on, he started to do more and need more, and it got a little harder.

And then he started to move and crawl and it got harder.

And then he started to eat things like coins and carpet fibers and it got even harder.

Today, I have four kids and they all have ideas and opinions and mood swings.  And it's freakin' HARD.

But even though raising kids is hard work, and every parent has their own style, anything worth doing is worth doing well.  Don't let the "hard" be all you see when your kids are involved.  Be present.  Be available.  We all make mistakes, but when your kid is looking for someone to talk to you want that person to be YOU.

For as long as possible.

I remember reading an article about being married, and the article said that you should watch what you say about your spouse, because some people only know your spouse through you.

You wouldn't want to highlight all the awful things without celebrating the good stuff.

This is the same with our babies.  It's so easy to complain about them and vocalize how crazy they make us.

Batshit crazy some days.  

But I need to remember to make that less of what I share with friends and acquaintances.  I need to be their biggest fan, their strongest ally.  They deserve to have one or two people (hopefully more) who are always happy to see them.  No matter what.

I'm not saying we should let them run the show, because that would be a disaster.  We all know kids need discipline and structure.  Most kids these days need more discipline and structure.  And I hate to say it but the reason they don't get it is because IT'S HARD WORK.

I know it is, I feel it too.

As parents, we need to let them work out what they can work out themselves.  But there will be times we need to be their voice, because they are KIDS.  They haven't quite figured out their world, and how to navigate it.  When you think of it, it's such a precious thing.  They are learning how to be an adult, and they need us to show them the way.

Truthfully, we're raising adults.  We're raising people who will be responsible for this society one day.

Be a good example.  Smile and be generous.  Show your kids how to love, and how to forgive.  Teach them structure and how to work hard.  Be gracious and patient, because they will learn more from watching you than from what you tell them.

Most importantly, love them, and make sure they know it.  I'll say it one more time, raising kids is hard work.  The only payday is watching them grow into who they are.  There is no trophy, no reward and no monetary bonus for a job well done.

You get your kids.  And for me, that's all that matters. 
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