We do not have the benefit of hindsight in life. Often, we rely on nuggets of wisdom shed by those who have already walked the path. In doing so, we hope to extract important life lessons from some else’s experience.
As young parents or parents-to-be, it helps to gather insights from seasoned parents who have seemingly weathered it all. Hopefully, we can say that we have had a rewarding parenting journey that has left little regrets in our later years. Hopefully, our children can look back to say that they have had a wonderful childhood.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Our children will be fine if they do not wash hands before meals at all times. They are unlikely to develop a mood disorder just because they slept an hour past bedtime during the holiday. And it is okay if we slip in a little more screen time on weekends.
Being diligent parents who help make responsible decisions for our children because they do not know better is great. But at the same time, provide allowance for rules to be bent at times. There is really no need to constantly stress over nitty-gritty stuff in the grander scheme of things. Essentially, it is about achieving balance in our everyday life.
It is okay to fall apart at times
Being a mum or dad is not a cushy job. In fact, it consists of too many hair-tearing moments than we would like to remember. Many parents crumble from time to time and it is okay to admit that we do not always have the answers. It is also okay to not love every minute of parenting. There is no need to feel guilty about that.
We are humans after all. This means that we allow ourselves to slip into a bathroom to cry if we need an outlet. This means that we can admit to your children that we have our bad days too.
We do so not to inflict guilt on them, but to allow them to get to know us. And this means the good and sometimes not so good side of us. Doing so lets them know that Mummy and Daddy are not perfect. We allow them to get to know the side of us that is both fragile and vulnerable. In time, they will learn that we all falter in life, but we always get back on our feet anyway.
Do not let your children come between you and your spouse
Modern-day parents tend to focus too much on their children, often to the point of becoming oblivious to other things in life, including their spouse. But parents form the backbone of a family unit and nothing can be more devastating than having a family fall apart because mum and dad are no longer in sync.
So do not live your life like it revolves entirely around your children. You do not want them to grow up to become self-absorbed adults as well. You will learn that being a good parent comes hand in hand with being a loving spouse. Your children are also likely to mirror your relationship with your spouse when they enter into their own relationships later in life.
You will never look back to say that I wish I had kissed my children less. With this knowledge, be generous in showing them affection outwardly. Shower them with love through hugs and kisses. There may come a time when they longer want you to kiss them before you drop them off at school, or before they hop onto the school bus.
Also write them love notes that they can read even as adults. These will bring up old memories that you and your children can talk about in the later years. And come the day when you are no longer with them, your love notes will continue to be a source of love and assurance. Your notes will contain meaningful messages that will take them through the ups and downs that life brings.