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Celebrating 10 Years of Parenting Lessons

10 years ago today, I welcomed my first child into the world. I had always wanted to be a mother, but I had no idea how much more my children would teach me than I would teach them. Today I want to celebrate 10 years of parenting by sharing some of the parenting lessons my kids have given me so far.

Celebrating 10 Years of Parenting: lessons my children have taught me about parenting

10 Years of Parenting Lessons

Don’t Pursue Perfection

I struggle most as a mother when I am trying to make sure I get everything right. Trying to be perfect guarantees failure and frustration. Accepting my own imperfections helps me to be kinder, more patient with my own children, quicker to apologize when I mess up.

Be Consistent

Consistency is one of the best parenting tools out there – from daily schedules to bedtime to determining consequences. Kids know to look for patterns, and they feel safer when they can find them.

Get to Know Your Child

How well do you know your child? What do they like? Dislike? Fear? Adore? How well do they know you? These little details enrich relationships and help both parents and children understand why and how choices are made.

Don’t Make it Personal

When kids act up, don’t take it personally. They are being kids. Don’t waste precious energy getting upset – especially when that frequently means that emotions leave parents unable to focus on parenting. Focus on what went wrong, why, and how you can help them to behave in a more appropriate way.

Find Something You Can Enjoy Together

My kids and I love making crafts and cooking together. My husband takes them to local college athletic events and laughs over YouTube shorts with them. We all enjoy traveling together. It doesn’t matter WHAT you do together; find activities that you and your kids can enjoy together.

Be Silly

I’m a terrible dancer, and my kids think it’s hilarious when I dance with them. Mike has a large store of “dad” jokes. Laughing together builds family connections, and being able to laugh at yourself is a great way of helping kids learn to do the same in their own lives.

Get Outside

When Emma was a baby, she would cry every evening – until we took her outside to walk underneath the trees in a nearby park. My older children really open up when they are walking with me or running with their dad. Nature also has a wonderful way of helping both parents and children put aside everyday cares so that wonderful memories of family time can be created.

Tell Stories

Tell family stories – about your kids when they were younger, about yourself when you were your kids’ ages, about their grandparents. Tell inspirational stories, but also tell stories about making mistakes and surviving the mistakes. Share the experiences that made you the person you are, and help your children see the heritage that shapes your family culture.

Remember Time Flies

I have plenty of events to mark the past decade – university degrees, moves, job changes, the births of three more children. Even with these markers, the time has flown. When I interact with my children, I try to think about whether I would do things differently if I knew I only had a short amount of time left with them – because, in reality, that is the case. At age ten, Emma is already well past the halfway mark in years she is likely to live at home.

Be Affectionate

Children crave affection. If they don’t feel loved at home, they will go looking for it somewhere else. Hug your kids. Tell them you love them. Make sure they know that they are always wanted and loved, no matter what.

What has 10 years of parenting taught you?

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MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

12 thoughts on “Celebrating 10 Years of Parenting Lessons”

  1. Happy birthing day to you! Happy birthday to Emma! I totally agree with your list. Get to know your child, be consistent and do something together are my own top 3. Parenting taught me a lot. One that our kids are their own island. They are not our property. We can guide them but we can’t shape them. They have to shape on their own. Such a blessing.

    1. Thank you! This is an exciting milestone for both me and Emma. I love your island imagery. Have you read The Island of Childhood? That book was just recommended to me but I haven’t read it yet (have a request in for a copy). I wondered if that is where the title came from.

  2. Elisa | blissful E

    Wonderful reflections on a decade of motherhood!!! Such a big milestone for you and your lovely eldest daughter.

  3. Congrats! I think parents need to have a sense of humor … that really helps. Also parents need to take care of themselves first … good physical health is necessary for the marathon of parenting.

  4. What a wonderful wealth of knowledge parenting has taught you! Thanks for sharing. I think the not trying to be perfect is the biggest thing it’s taught me.

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