A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about the things that I sometimes miss from my life before children. Despite never having the time to use my GHD’s anymore and being insanely jealous whenever I see anyone with silky straight hair, I wouldn’t change things for the world. So to balance the equation here are some of the things my children have taught me and made my life richer for knowing…
Disclaimer – Those who don’t like sentiment and slush look a way now, as I have a feeling this post may get a little sentimental and slushy!
Appreciate the little things. Stopping to stare at an awesome spiderweb, seeing who can collect the biggest stone, building dens and looking for the end of a rainbow. We forget the never-ending simple pleasures of childhood as we get older and life gets serious. Having children has taught me to stop and appreciate the little things. That’s why parents stop what they are doing wherever they are to say “look at that airplane / fire engine / big dog.” Because when you are little those things are cool and amazing. And when you are big and have little ones those things become cool and amazing all over again.
The value of time. Before children time didn’t have a huge significance in my life. There was always the countdown to Friday, but other than that it didn’t matter. Yes I did have lots more time on my hands before children, but when you become a parent time becomes more measured. At first you are counting every hour between feeds and sleep and the days disappear in a hazy blur. Then you count your little one’s progress in weeks, and then with each month comes more milestones. Before you know it you are celebrating first birthdays and then you blink and you are sending them to school. Suddenly your time is so much more precious because you understand how quickly it goes.
To Listen. When you have little one’s you have to listen and listen for what they are not telling you. Sometimes a conversation can be like a jigsaw puzzle. You get fragments at a time and you have to piece it together to understand the true meaning. My son came home from school the other day distraught about the prospect of dying (that was a tough conversation). It was only later when he started talking about poppies that I understood where this topic had suddenly come from. It can be like breaking a code. Sometimes they will quite literally explode if they don’t tell you something, “I saw Lola today. Not Lola from Charlie and Lola but Lola from my class” (Just in case I confused cartoon Lola for real Lola). This piece of information wasn’t vital to my day, but it was important to my son. There are times when they can chat incessantly but you still have to listen, because if you switch of for a second you will find yourself agreeing to them staying up late, watching movies and having a midnight feast whilst you’ve been thinking about whether Brad Pitt is a bit past it now.
The value of friendship. I have learnt so much about friendship since having children. I learnt that some of my true friends weren’t really true friends. After having a baby then coming out the other side of the newborn haze, slightly altered but fundamentally still me, they weren’t there. And the ones that were still there I love all the more for it. I learnt to make new friends as an adult because I had to teach my children how to make friends, I couldn’t be shy and wait for people to approach me. I have a bigger circle of friends than I have ever had and most of them are through a mutual bond of having a little person and somewhat winging it as to what to do with them! And I watch as my children make friends and break friends and make friends again, and I hope that they will always have true friendships in their life.
Home is where the heart is. I have always loved my house but it didn’t truly become a home until I had children. Now it is our little sanctuary. It’s a busy little place full of life and bursting at the seams with stuff. On rainy days curled up on the sofa with my boys watching a family movie and eating popcorn there is no place I would rather be.
Roll with the punches. I have always been organised and a bit of a planner. It’s a skill that has helped me when it comes to parenting. But having children has also taught me to let it go and roll with the punches (Cannot possibly say ‘let it go’ without singing it very loudly in my head and fighting the urge to dramatically throw my arms open). Yes we are running late because the baby filled his nappy just as we were leaving the house. Yes that is baby puke on my shoulder. Yes we are singing nursery rhymes in the middle of the supermarket. Yes my son is wearing a truly hideous colour clash and shorts with wellies. Let it go!
Sense of community. We can’t walk down the street nowadays without someone stopping to talk to us, and there’s so much to do locally with children. It’s nice to feel part of a community. Before children I would have thought it odd if a random stranger stopped to talk to me. Now it’s normal. Except for the random strangers that stop to talk to us that aren’t normal. Then it is still odd.
Have more fun. There is no better sound in the world than children laughing. And when its your own children it’s magical. Especially when they are being loons and making each other laugh. My five-year old has the dirty cackle of an old man and my baby giggles until he runs out of breath and gets the hiccups. I know they will have their fights, and I know there are days when I will be the butt of their jokes but hearing my children’s laughter is always very grounding. It puts all my worries into perspective. At the end of the day if those two are happy then all is right in my world.
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