One of the most important jobs you have as a parent is to teach your children. As parents, we are imparting both practical life skills and wisdom on navigating the world at every age and stage. It’s a part of the job I don’t take lightly. It’s a funny part of parenthood that I never thought about prior to having my girls.
These babies come into the world and don’t know how to do anything!
They’re a clean slate, and while some things just come via intuition (hello nature vs. nurture debate), you really need to explain so much. But recently, I’ve started to take note of my interactions with my children and what they’re teaching me.
We just got back from a wonderful spring break vacation, one that I spent months planning and researching. And on day one, I realized I needed to alter many of my plans to make sure everyone was happy. My kids didn’t want a plan. They wanted effortless joy, something that throwing away all the plans and rigid schedules would do. We adjusted and had the vacation I had hoped for, even without planning!
This trip had me reflecting on how my children alter my way of thinking about so many things, specifically in our day-to-day interactions.
My older daughter brings me an inquisitive nature that, as an adult, I often forget about. She is always curious about why things are and how things work. And don’t worry, once she figures it out, she’ll let you know! I love watching her brow crease, knowing that’s her telltale sign that something is troubling her and she’s trying to figure out a solution. She’s now at the age she has so many new emotions to navigate; making connections with friends, becoming part of a team, and deciding her likes and dislikes. But I can still look at her face and see that tiny baby I used to hold. With her, I’m learning to let her take the lead, let her show me how to do things, and watch as her confidence grows with each success.
My younger daughter is pure joy and happiness, mixed with anxiety and uncertainty! Her selective mutism reminds us that this anxious streak still lingers, but she is just a ball of sunshine when surrounded by friends and family. Watching her face light up when something pleases her is one of the greatest joys of my life. Unlike her sister, whose inquisitive nature led her to teach herself many things (I often call my older child a “plug and play” kid who needed very little help), my little one needs more guidance with simple tasks. With her, I’m learning patience to explain things slowly and clearly. Her personality doesn’t lend to figuring out the “how” of things herself. She needs me to show her, cheer her on, brush her off, and try again when things don’t go as planned. But she’s also my brave little daredevil once her courage comes through!