Having kids is life-changing. It doesn’t come with instruction manual even though there are a lot of books or articles out there preparing you before their arrival. But each baby is different. They grow up differently and become totally unique individuals. I have two teenagers now. I’ve learned a lot about them, about myself, and about life in general, just by raising them. Here are what I’ve learned and definitely there are more to come.
1. They’re yours forever
It’s priceless to give birth to a human being and raise them. It’s something that is yours forever. The bond is always there. You’ll have no doubt that you will always have them in your thoughts and your life. Well, there is no return or exchange policy on them so you’re stuck with them.
2. They’re totally unique
Siblings from the same parents can be polar opposite. You learn to be adaptive and come up with different tricks to deal with each of them differently.
3. It’s impossible to love one of your children more than the other/another
It’s a myth that there is always a favorite child in a family. I can’t imagine that. I love my kids equally. I really do. And yes, I used to think my parents loved my siblings more. However, I’m worried about one of them more than the other regarding some subjects, and vice versa. So, I spend more time and pay more attention to the one who needs it. But that doesn’t mean I love them unequally. You just need to verbally explain that to them so they don’t assume you’re not fair.
4. They are your best teacher
You probably didn’t know there are five different ways to tie shoelaces until you had kids! Or how to cook the same chicken five hundred different ways so you look like amazing mom who is a cousin of Martha Stewart’s! They teach you some ‘cool’ stuff from school that you have no idea it’s such a thing (flossing dance anyone?). Or how to make beautiful gift baskets for their teachers by spending less than $50!
5. You will do anything, absolutely anything, for them
I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do for my children. Even though sometimes I told my kids I wouldn’t do XYZ so that they would learn to be more prepared next time, I knew deep down I would have had the time/energy to do it for them. You also sacrifice a lot for them. You always put their needs before yours. Besides my parents, they are the only people I would die for, no questions asked.
6. They are the only individuals who will give you a brutally honest feedback
They definitely have no filter when it comes to opinions. I can always rely on my kids for their bluntness. And even if they don’t verbally say anything, I ‘sense’ their feedback and what they think just from their body language. They’re definitely my mirror and they check all my blind spots.
7. If they ‘like’ you, you’re not a great parent
It’s not your job to make them like you. They love you, yes. But if you try to please them and make them like you by giving them everything they want, you’re not a great parent. They should have everything they ‘need’ but not all the things they ‘want’. Kids don’t ‘like’ their parents. They ‘love’ them. But surely they will be grateful for all your nagging, complaining and strict rules later.
8. They teach you about life and about yourself
I don’t know about you but I’ve learned so much by being a mom. I never thought I would have kids, ever! I never held a baby until my first was born. Over the past 14 years, I’ve learned that I can multitask seamlessly. I was able to change a diaper under 30 seconds. I confronted a bully with no hesitation. And I’ve become more calm and mature person. After my divorce, I value relationships more, with my family, friends, and some dates. Most importantly, I’ve learned that everything is not permanent. Life changes all the time. But I do have the comfort that at the end of the day, regardless of how wonderful or awful anything happens to me, they’re the most important and ‘permanent’ thing in my life. I’m always their mom. Nobody is going to be able to change that.
9. They’re a reflection of you
Like it or not, they learn from you. If you stop and pay attention, you’ll notice that they are who they are in a way because of you. The way they think, eat, speak, laugh, walk. All, in a way, are from you. I remember right before I got my divorce, my kids mentioned something that made me realize how sarcastic and bitter I was. That stopped me right there. I vowed to change and luckily they changed too. Like I said, they’re definitely your mirror.
10. You get a chance to meet other parents and expand your network
Most likely you’ll meet their friends’ parents. It’s a chance for you to broaden friends circle or network. I have seen a lot of people earn some business deals from just meeting more people through their kids. Of if you’re single/divorced/widow, you might find someone interesting and end up being a thing. Anything is possible!
11. They make you explore what’s out there more
They lead you to more sports games, music classes, STEM camps, etc. Some of those are probably things that you never paid attention to.
12. They’re your entertainer
Have they ever made you laugh so hard until you cried? Enough said!
13. They make you laugh (and hopefully happily) cry
All those goofy (homemade) Mother’s Day or birthday gifts. And small gestures they did for you since when they’re babies. Don’t tell me you didn’t wipe your tears at least a bit.
14. They’re your biggest fan
Nothing beats your kids cheering you ‘you can do it, mom/dad’ when you audition for American Idol or Survivor… or just learning how to ice skate!
15. They make you enjoy having them around but also crave alone time
It’s fun yet exhausting when you have kids. I personally miss my kids when they’re not around, but I really do enjoy a quiet house and having time to do certain things for myself.
16. They’re the most rewarding thing in the whole world
Being a parent is definitely the toughest job on earth. But it’s also extremely rewarding. You share all wins and losses with them. It’s satisfying and heartwarming to see them grow up.
17. They remind you that you’re exactly just like your mom/dad (in more ways than you want to admit)
Yep, we all have been there when we said ‘I’m not going to be like my mom/dad’. Well, here you are. You just sound like your parents after you have kids. But you’re also grateful of your parents and definitely have more understanding now, especially when your daughter asks to go on a prom date when she’s 14 or your son wants your car for a night out with friends.