We exepect our children to learn from us, but there is so much we can learn from a child.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “The soul is healed by being with children,” and nothing could be more true, even if having children is also one of the hardest things you can do it’s also a great opportunity to learn from a child what living is all about.
When we say that being a mom is so hard, but so worth it, how often are we really talking about how much we learn about life and to be a better person through the lessons we learn?
I expected to be my children’s teacher.
To show them the ways of the world, help them take their first steps, and spell their name. But what no one tells you is that they will teach you every bit as much as you teach them.
All those late nights, long days, exhausting early mornings. The times you have to take a deep breath so you don’t lose it when your patience is at its end. Then those moments of perfection that make you realize just how lucky you are, even if life is hard sometimes.
I remember one night with my daughther, who was 3-years-old at the time. It was a magical summer night filled with bubble making, lightning bugs, and the most beautiful night sky.
“Mom, make a GIANT bubble!”
“Wow, that is humongous!”
“Mom, it’s a star! And there’s the moon!”
It was a particularly amazing night because for once, I let go of my cares, and I was just WITH her. If you grab these moments, you become a child again. Innocent. Sweet. Able to experience the world all over again.
And this time it is even more exquisite because you’re able to escape the complicated world of adulting for just a tiny period of time. You can remember the simplicity that was childhood, even if for mere moments.
For a little while it’s possible to let go of all the ways you’ve covered up who you truly are because of the big and small hurts you’ve accumulated. The sweetness of childhood is even more savored and cherished because you’ve had the sour.
The beauty is more earth shattering because you’ve seen the ugly. But these tiny moments start to heal those wounds if you get enough of them. You can begin to let those old pains go away, and forgive yourself and others.
As much as it can tear us apart sometimes, motherhood is also our chance to become whole again. We watch our children grow, and we feel the pains that came to us at that age. Our memories long repressed come to the surface.
So as we help them navigate their stage of life, they are in turn helping us navigate our own psyche. Together we raise each other.
This is what it means to rise in motherhood.
No matter how good you had it as a kid. No matter how privileged you were, or how good your parents were, you still have small or big traumas. Growing up and just being a human being on earth means you will at some point encounter challenges that can leave lasting wounds.
Motherhood is an opportunity to find those wounds, heal them, and grow. Not only are you constantly poked and proded on your past, but also your present. In order to be a good mom, you have to find your weaknesses and work on them.
Are you impatient? Have a short temper? Maybe you have no boundaries and let everyone (including your children) steamroll you? Addicted to your cell phone (or something more serious)?
Figuring out these tender places that you might initally want to deny or defend, then figuring out a remedy is how you become a better person. It is in these unexpected ways that we can learn from a child that are also some of the most poignant.
It is in that quest to become a better person that we also become a better parent.
Being the best mom you can be isn’t about tying to be some sort of perfected ideal society expects. It’s all about our willingness to learn and just BE with our children.
The truth is that if we can do that, just be present with them, it is breathtakingly beautiful, helps us heal our wounds, AND allows us to really see our children. We can see their needs and how we need to grow to parent better.
The teacher is the student and vice versa. If we allow it, our children can be our best teachers on how to live a happy life, and there is nothing more fun than to learn from a child.
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