Guest blog by Suzy from inthelyonsden
I met Suzy via Instagram (as you do) and love her open, honest account of life and family. Suzy has two children and has written a fabulous piece for my blog on some of the important things she is teaching them which will set them up for adulthood. A lot of it resonates with me and I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did. Have you really sat down and thought about exactly what you are trying to teach my kids? Like really teach them. When you are growing up, most girls have the idea of getting married and starting a family. Not all of us, but I know that I did. It was just what was done. Everyone did it. You found a nice boy, married him and had kids. I was lucky enough that I met my husband when we were in our early twenties which I feel helped us work out who we were as people and as a couple before we settled down and tried to navigate a family. During that time we always talked about having kids, in great depth but there were so many aspects of parenting that really until you are a parent you just don’t see. Maybe it is just me, but I didn’t think about the full aspect of what is involved in the parenting gig. Sure, we have to be responsible for them, keep them safe, guide them, help them learn how to eat, go to the toilet, help them grow and most of all love the,. But I was not prepared for the fact that every inch of my own personality and the way I conduct myself was going to be scrutinized and hung out on the line by not just myself but my family.
Every action I take, every way I respond, every word that comes out of my mouth has impacted and affected my children since they were born. It has impacted their personality, the way they conduct themselves and the way they now react to situations. All because they were and are watching me. This has led to huge amounts of self-analysis for me. I have always self-analysed and knew my faults but this felt like they were being ripped out from me and hung out for everyone to see. Be it my husband, well, let’s face it he had seen most of my flaws and did surprisingly stay with me! But my parents, his parents, our friends and anyone else who happens to see me in a situation be it disciplining them, yelling at them, or praising them. And how I negotiate with them.
Now it sounds like I am being overly critical of myself and maybe I am. For the most part, I think that I am a pretty good parent. I am loving and give more cuddles than I can count on any given day, I am firm when I need to be and set boundaries for them. But I am aware that they are watching me every day, my every action. And now they are 7 and 4 I can see certain traits of mine that have unfortunately, in some cases rubbed off on them. Some parts of my personality I can’t help so I am not going to beat myself up over those but it did get me thinking about some of the things I really want to teach them, outside of just being impatient, being stubborn and probably drinking too much wine in front of them.
These days and perhaps it was like this before, someone please correct me if I am wrong but it feels the demands on the family as a whole are more. Generally, both parents are working, the work/life balance is pretty off centre, financial stress is always there with huge mortgages and just trying to stay on top of running the household plus spending quality, stress-free time with our kids. It’s a lot to take on board. And as my kids are now past the toddler and baby phase I really have been thinking about from here through the teen years what do I really need to start teaching them. Day-to-day life is so busy, we are constantly moving and the days just rush past but it is important to make sure that along the way the important stuff is sinking in too. Not just the 9-5 routine. Every day they are learning from me how I operate and function on a daily basis but I need to always keep some things in the back of my mind, and these are some of the things that are important to me:
- To cope. As I just mentioned in this day and age there is so much going on, we just have to get on with it and cope. We can’t fall in a bundle on the floor and throw our hands up. We have to be strong and move forward. Deal with issues as they arise, sort them out as best as possible and keeping moving forward. I want my kids to be able to do this, to be strong but deal with situations. They will have to start thinking for themselves now that they are at school and have to start making decisions for themselves and I hope that being tough on them as well as kind helps them do this to learn to cope on their own and work through problems that arise.
- Respect and to be kind. Within our family, we have taught our kids that we are a solid family unit. We are all there for each other and we stick together and help each other out. But we also have a lovely close-knit friendship circle which many are like our extended family. My husband and I don’t have brothers and sisters so some of our friends are close enough. We treat our friendships as special and important and I hope that our kids see how important those friendships are. The important people in your life you treat well, we are there for them if they need and vice versa plus we always have an amazing time with them too. I want the kids to know that we don’t just look out for ourselves, we support our friends too in the good and the bad.
- To have a zest for life. This is hard sometimes. Sometimes all I think the kids see is us being bogged down with work, appointments, schedules, homework. It is hard to try and teach them there is more to the world than this. I know that will come as they get older and as we try and travel more with them and experience more with them. But I want them to know that they can do anything. The world is an amazing place, despite what we see on the news most nights, and it is there to go out and grab it. I need to start encouraging them with this and that living in a big house with a big mortgage in the city is not necessarily how everyone chooses to spend their life and they don’t have to if they don’t want to.
- Accept what they can’t do and try harder at something else. At present my son tends to throw his hands in the air and give up. My daughter on the other hand usually gives it another go, well mostly in between her toddler tantrums. But I want them to know there are lots of things I can’t do but it is so important to give it a go, to have a try and then if you fail? Well, you at least had a go. I would rather have a go and know I failed than to always wonder what if. If you still fail at that, try harder at something else. Don’t give up or throw in the towel. Find the things you are good at and run with it and love it.
To be honest with themselves. It is so important that every morning you can wake up, look in the mirror and be happy with what you see. If you cheat, lie or hurt other people you can’t be happy with who you are. I have never displayed those qualities and I hope they don’t either. You have to be honest about who you are as a person or you will never be happy.
- Love and be loved. I really hope that the love we display so openly with our kids in turn, they display to their future partners in life. We are big cuddlers in our family and I think I kiss their cheeks and foreheads more than they would like me to, plus I say I love you a lot. I hope that they are truly loved back by someone and treated with care and affection and know the full beauty of love and how it can make you feel.
I probably could go on for days about this. There are endless things we want to teach our kids. But I will start with these ones and I am sure the list will grow daily as they also teach me along the way.