Mother's Day

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"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."...Jacqueline Kennedy

I  think the quote above is one of my favorites.  The words ring so true.  If you've completely mucked up raising a kid with a strong foundation, who really cares about what you actually do well?

 

 

In a society where permits are required to fish, reserve a camp ground, get married, and add a room to your house...a degree and years of training are necessary to hold any worthwhile job...a license is required to drive a car...want to drive a truck, you'll need a special kind.

If you want to become a mother, all you really need is good plumbing and a willing partner.  Anyone can give birth.  To be a mother, though, that is a tough job...to be a good one, that's near impossible.

Neither one of my hooligans came with instructions.  I like to refer to both as a work in progress.  Some days, the jury is out regarding how I've faired as a mother.  Most days, I look around and thank God for the life and children I've been blessed with.  I've made many sacrafices raising them, but I know in my heart of hearts if I had it all to do over again, I'd do it the same, exact way--mistakes and all.  Yep, even the mistakes--those are the things that build character. 

All I really know is the first time around was scary--by the time the second arrived on the scene, I found myself much more at ease.  Imagine if I'd had a few more--shoot, I'd be a pro by now.

If I were to write a rule book regarding dos and don'ts of raising kids I'd include five important instructions.

  1. Say NO early and often.  Kids need to know what no means.  The earlier the better.  When they hear this word, and more importantly, understand the word,  they won't be disappointed later in life when they hear it.  I'm amazed at the amount of kids my kids know who have never heard the word.  It's really easy--repeat after me--NO you may not run around a restaurant--NO you may not play in the street--NO you may not talk when I am talking--NO you may not address an adult by their first name--NO you are NOT the most important person in the universe.
  2. You are NOT your child's friend.  If you want friends, set time aside to go out and meet with grown ups that are your age.  Join a club (preferably one that doesn't include Jr's attendance).  This kind of goes hand in hand with number one.  It's easier to say no, and set boundries when you're not besties with your offspring.  Sure life is disappointing...sure it's heartbreaking to see your kid fail.  But it's all part of life.  The sooner they learn this the easier pitfalls become.
  3. Kids don't need the latest toys or high-priced vacations...they need something money can't buy, they need their parents time.  They need security and love.  Chances are your kid doesn't remember the humid, crowded trip they took to Disney when they were four, but I'll bet they remember when you were a room helper during the kindergarten Valentine Party...or when you read them their favorite story for the first time...or the time you decided to skip washing the dishes to watch the world premiere of the Blue Clues Movie on Nickelodeon.
  4. Kids need a strong foundation in order to test their wings.  If we do our jobs when the kids are small, they'll soon become independent memebers of society.  Set rules early, and most importantly, follow through.  Sure it's easy to let things slide to avoid a tantrum or because it's just easier to let them have their own way...but in the long run, following this path creates monsters.  I've found it's much easier to be firm and set a pattern, than try and break a bad habit later.
  5. Kids remember the good stuff.  Kids will remember the time you took them for ice cream--not the time you couldn't afford to take them on a vacation of a lifetime.  They'll remember the happy times you spent together...Make sure these opportunities happen early and often. 

At the end of the day, at the end of your life, it doesn't matter how much you made, how far you traveled, how high you got on the career ladder or how clean your house was.  If you are a parent, all that matters is what difference you made in your kid's life.

Being a mother is probably the most difficult job in the world if it's done right.  Sometimes doing things right means making the tough decisions. 

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."...Jacqueline Kennedy

 

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  • Awesome!
    I love your take on raising kids.

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