Now by no means to I mean to insinuate that I am anywhere near perfect (as a mom or a person), but having a two year old and a four year old is like a having a camera crew follow you around all day watching your every move.
And watch they do.
Having children is like having a huge mirror reflecting your behavior back at you, your best and your worst. It’s quite humbling when I hear my son use my hasty tone of voice to his brother, or repeat a phrase I instantly regretted saying once the words were out of my mouth, but it’s also heart-soaringly amazing to hear the same little boy soothe his crying little brother by softly saying, “I know, I know, I know” in the same way I say to him when he’s hurt or scared. One thing is for sure: I want to be the best mama and role model that I can for my boys and to do so I know I’m still growing as a person myself.
1) I’m more patient.
Some of the most important decisions my kids make all day long include which color cup to drink out of and what CD to listen to in the car, and it really matters to them. I also find that they say the cutest things and ask the best little questions when we are chilled out and spending time together without rushing around.
2) I look in the mirror less.
First of all, I’m not quite sure what makeup routine I used to do that took me so long, but now I can go from zero to sixty in about twenty minutes flat. I’m a girly-girl and take good care of myself of course, but the emphasis is now less on what I look like, and more on how I behave. Plus my boys always think I’m beautiful.
3) I’m less of a germ-a-phobe.
I’ve been sneezed on and taken coughs straight in the face for years, but this summer I reached a new high (or low?) and caught vomit with my bare hands. Yep.
4) I drive less aggressively.
Seriously, people need to chill out behind the wheel. Nothing and nowhere is so important that we need to put our safety at risk or throw up threatening gestures at each other. Waaaaaaay bigger things in life happening other than someone not noticing the red light turned green.
5) I’m less of a perfectionist.
I have to be, or I would be driven mad by the chaos that comes with having little children. Shirt collars don’t stay straight and finger nails never stay clean on little boys that are playing and having fun. And fun is way more important.
6) I’m sweeter to other people’s children.
I guess I didn’t really notice children before, but now I do, and all I can think when I look at little kids is that each one of them is someone’s love of their life.
7) I have a higher tolerance for being uncomfortable.
Parenting is surprisingly physical. I’m constantly carrying something or someone. Everything is heavy and awkward, I’m always sweaty, and my left bicep (on my kiddo-carrying side) is about twice the size of my right. A friend once told me a story about how her son fell asleep on her on an airplane and she was so cold and her arm was asleep, but she didn’t dare move and risk waking him up, and I totally got it. I would have done the same thing.
8) I’m less of a grump in the morning.
Now my boys know that mommy needs her “energy juice” aka coffee before too much activity can begin, but honestly mornings are my favorite time with the boys. It’s impossible to be grumpy when I look at their big brown eyes, all excited for a new day. They often jump in my bed after they wake up and I just love their warm and soft little bodies all cuddled up with me. I could snuggle with them for hours, but “come on mama, it’s morning time!”
9) I watch less TV.
Now, I love to watch TV (Downton Abbey! Can’t wait!) but there’s no way I can ever catch a show when it’s on live, so we watch shows that we DVR. There is less flipping around aimlessly and less commercials which equals less overall TV and more time for reading, sleeping, writing, you name it.
10) I’m less judgmental.
I used to think that I had all the answers and that my way was obviously the superior way. I still have pretty strong opinions, but I try to assume that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, and you know what? It makes me feel a lot better. Drop the unnecessary drama of caring about other people’s decisions, and gain so much more peace in your own life.
One of the biggest lessons I hope to teach my boys through example is that no one is perfect – not me, not them – and the key to happiness is to try our best and live with our whole hearts, always.
Author: Candace Thomas