Wednesday, November 23, 2011

3 Lessons Learned

I am so thankful for P's deployment.  As difficult as it may have been,

If I were to write out EVERYTHING that I have learned, it would take HOURS to read this post so I decided to stick to the top 3.  So, here they are:

1. I have ridiculous expectations
In August, I had a minor mental/emotional breakdown.  I had been chugging along doing my thing but between the death of my two friends and then the earthquake, it became completely clear that in the grand scheme of things, I have absolutely no control.  For someone who had gotten tired and was barely hanging on...I lost it.
Thankfully, I have the best parents in the world and it took all of 3 seconds of skyping for them to hop in the truck to come to my rescue.  My parents brought the older two to their house for about 10 days and I was given the opportunity to get my act together. 
During this time, I realized that the expectations that I had put on myself were absolutely unrealistic.  I learned that having a completely clean house, folded laundry, and home made dinner on the table at night does NOT make me a good mom.  I had never adjusted my expectations from being a two parent household to a one parent household and I was trying to do it all.  It didn't work.  I needed to address my expectations.

2. Kids are so much more capable than we allow.

I think most would agree that every generation before has some laundry list of things that they had to do that kids 'nowadays' don't.  While I am sure that is true, what I realized is that its not just that kids don't do them, its that we don't allow them to because we're scared.  My three year old does the dishes...seriously.  If I hadn't been upstairs when he first tried, I would have never known.  I started realizing that as moms, we just do everything for our kids before seeing what they are capable of.
Being a single parent for a time, I needed the help.  So, about halfway through, I started challenging them.  I'd give them tasks (not expecting perfection or even success) just to see what they were capable of.  I knew to stay close but the pride on their faces when they tried something new was priceless.  What I learned was that these children are SO MUCH MORE capable that we give them credit for! 
In our day and age, we tend to parent out of fear.  There are so many statistics telling us about the dangers, that we don't ever doubt them to look at the possible greater good in doing what is difficult.  I have been forever changed.  I am happier and, more importantly, THEY are happier.

3. Being Straight Forward Is the Best Policy.
While this lesson applies to all arena's of life, I learned that the more straight forward and specific I was, with my kids, the better.  For instance, I learned to lay out my expectations/rewards/consequences of their behavior before getting out of the car at the grocery store.  Once I started TELLING them what I was looking for, grocery shopping became SO much simpler.  I started breaking our day down so they knew what I was expecting and I knew what they were expecting.  It made life SO MUCH SIMPLER.

So these are the top three that are in my head right now.  I am sure I will talk to a friend, my mom, or somebody who will remind me of another big lesson, but for now, this is it!  Maybe I'll continue this list, who knows.

Things are going well around here.  Kids are happy, I am more rested (and therefore happy), and P is just happy to be home!  It's nice to see the kids adapt to him so easily.  We've agreed that it's not that we can't believe he's home, rather we can't believe that the 6.5 months ever happened.

I also wanted to let you know that if you have any questions, feel free to ask.  Every time I talk to friends, they seem to have tons and I don't mind answering any of your curiosities.

Have a great day!

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