I think if you are a parent it’s easy to rattle off the ways that your kids make you a maniac, that goes without saying. Zen or not they can surely press your buttons. But if you take a deeper look, I know we would all agree that having kids has made us rise up. Rise into the greatest version we want for ourselves. Even when we might have to fake it, they bring forth our best because we want the best for them. Having children gives you a new set of eyes. A set of eyes that makes you kinder and gentler with the world and those around you because, after all, everyone is someone’s child. That right there is reason enough for empathy. Every decision, every relationship, interaction and choice I make is based solely on these two thoughts “what would I want for my children?” and “who would I want my children to be in this situation?”. Those questions help me to examine who I am and what I want to add to my time here on Earth all while passing those same lessons down to my children. Here are the ways I have found that my children bring out the best in me-
They’ve made me live more presently- This right here is the ticket. The one true avenue to a peaceful life. I’ve shared many times how I’ve learned that no real problems exist out of this very moment. Regret, guilt, anxiety, fear and even your views of other people and events are all figments of the imagination. What is right here in front of you, being done and said right now, is all that is true. Nothing has forced me to live more presently than having children. Until then everything was always about getting to the next thing. Finishing school, engagement, getting the house, the marriage, the babies. The next BEST thing. Well now I know that the best thing is right here and I will never wish it away. No matter where you are on your journey, it is exactly where you are supposed to be. It is almost a betrayal to the life process to desire anything more or less. If you are reading this and are pregnant, have small kids, grown kids, grandkids…it’s all the best thing because it’s happening right now. There is nothing else. Appreciate it. Enjoy it.
They’ve made me see the best in others- people screw up, people say and do hurtful things, people are flawed…and guess what? None of it matters. What matters in each and every situation is what YOU bring to the table. This is what I teach my children daily when it comes to their interactions with each other. If you have more than one child you know how many opportunities to resolve conflict arise during a day. Sure small kids mean small problems but all of those problems are representative of the bigger conflicts that may arise when they get older. My kids are going to be adults with their own free will in the blink of an eye and I want them to be forgiving and tender-hearted towards their dad and me, towards their siblings and towards everyone they interact with. How do I make that happen? I model it. If I want my children to grow to be loving, forgiving, non-judgemental people then I need to live that truth. And not just to those who I deem worthy, to every other human. Daily. That goes for those that I love that may have hurt me all the way down to the person who cut me off on the highway. I am not saying I don’t have negative thoughts, I just choose to let them flow instead of attaching to them. Having children who look up to me forces me to give pause to what I do and say and what imprint I want to leave on the world.
They’ve made me love my body- I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m still a work in progress in this area. I mean let’s face it I had 4 children in less than 7 years and am currently breastfeeding (and breastfed the older 3 for a minimum of a year). Any time over the past 7 years that I’ve gotten to, or have come close to, being where I want to be I got pregnant again. Things are NOT where they’re supposed to be. At least not where I think they’re supposed to be. But you know what? I’ve created 4 humans with this body; that miracle will not be lost on me. And as importantly as that, I have 4 little ones and especially the 3 girls, looking to me to see how I view myself as an example of how they should view themselves. Self-love comes naturally (did you ever witness how amazing a 3-year-old thinks they are?) and it’s only when an adult shows their child all the ways we can dislike ourselves that they will follow suit. These days I still strive to attain a certain body, but that body is strong and healthy and energetic and has nothing to do with getting back to something I used to have. I’d rather have what I have right now, although both would be nice, wouldn’t it?
They’ve made me love their father more than I thought possible- I could go on and on about how much love and admiration I have for my husband, but I won’t annoy you all with that. Especially those that aren’t feeling so lovey dovey towards their partners today (we’ve all been there), but I will say that creating children with someone else is a sacred thing. Something not to be taken lightly. Not only do I genuinely and deeply love him, but even when we have our “downs” I want to model respect for him. How we treat each other is how my children will learn to engage in all intimate relationships. Even if that means arguing in a gentle and respectful manner.
I will not pretend that some of our ugly doesn’t come out on this sometimes thankless all of the time exhausting journey of parenthood…but we don’t have to give that energy to the universe. It happens but try to let it flow and let it go. Choose instead to examine the beauty of who you have become by raising these little beings and share that energy with the world.
Love to all,
The Enlightened Mama