Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lessons Learned From a Week With a 3 Year Old.

This week I have had the great privilege to be with my brother, his wife and his two beautiful little girls. One is 11 months old and the other is three years old. I have had a wonderful time, hiking, working in the yard, barbecuing and playing with the girls. Especially with the three year old, who loves to dance with me, crawl all over me, and hug me. It has been so great, my brother and sister-in-law are amazing, and the girls are so cute.

During this time my mind has been turning and I have been thinking a lot about life, parenting and kids, (what did you expect I am a psychology major). While thinking this week there are several lessons that came to mind that I want to share. (Note: not all of them directly came from things that happened this week, some where just things that being here made me think about.)

  1. Parenting is not for the faint of heart: I am exhausted! To all you moms and dads that are with your kids all day, everyday, day in and day out, kudos. I never realized how exhausting parenting can be, and I was just playing with the girls for Pete's sake. I had a little taste of not having any time to yourself. Anytime I was around the girls they wanted to play, it didn't matter if I was hot, or tired or just wanted to veg, they were there and ready to play. So way to go moms! I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for you and what you do.
  2. You need time: Time is what our world is run around. We all have the same amount of time in a day, and whether we like it or not, we get to choose how to spend it. I have learned more about making the most of where I am at the moment and making that time quality. I had times this week where the girls wanted to play and I just wanted to sit there. Then I thought, I am only here for a week, and they are going to bed in the half an hour, I need to play my heart out, then I can veg when they are sleeping. I also learned that parents need their time to be alone, or to be together as a couple without the kids. That time is precious, and it doesn't happen very much. 
  3. Be patient: I had times where I was not the happiest person with that little three year old, but I had to be patient with her. However, most of all, I had to be patient with myself. I am human and I make mistakes, and that's okay, I simply need to do my best (not someone else's best, mine) and move on.
  4. Parents are not super human: Parents are not perfect, I know for sure that I will not be the perfect father when that time comes. But that is okay. Nobody needs their parents to be super human. We will make mistakes, we will get mad and yell at our kids, we will probably want to just leave at moments and... that is OKAY!!! Parents, you might not be super human but you are super heroes, to your kids, and to me. I look up so much to my parents and to my brothers and their wives. They are all doing a fantastic job, and I hope some day I can be half as good a parent as they are. Your kids will most likely feel the same way about you as I do about my parents, but give it time, and just know, they might not ever tell you that.
  5. Love: Love, love love. I had no idea that I could love an ornery little three year old so much. Yes, she never listened to me, yes, she cried often, and yes, I LOVE her. Another note on love: she could be a stinker and cry and run off, then just a few minutes later she would run up to me and hug me, kiss me, or lean her head on me. No matter what I did, or what happened, afterwards she would always come back full of love. Oh what the world would be if we could all do that. 
I am not a perfect person, and I will not be a perfect parent, but I am so grateful for the life I live and the opportunities that I have to learn and grow. Go easy on yourself, do not get too upset at yourself when you make a mistake with your kids, just get up love them, ask God for strength and move on. You got this! I am so grateful to my amazing brother and sister-in-law for allowing me to come, and putting up with me all week. I sure love you, and of course I love those two little girls that I get to call my nieces.