I’ve been a mother without the following: a lot of church, Dr. Who, soccer, tweenkies, parenting books, big mondo strollers, private schools, home schools, Disneyland, hamsters and a spotless house. All of those things are FINE and lovely but just not part of my world.
I have given the following to my children: a strong sense of who they are, self-confidence, a social conscience, a strong set of values, a strong set of morals, curiosity, the love of learning, the ability to make friends, the desire to share, laughter, wit, humor, a strong sense of justice, trust, self-respect, courtesy and grace, good manners, music, love, and more love.
Once upon a time my mother was saying something despairing about my siblings and me. My response was, “You know, it could be worse, you could be Monica Lewinsky’s mother.”
Below is my famous bulleted parenting list. I promise sometime today I’ll post some Vampire stuff (for those who come here for Vampire stuff.)
Juliette’s Ultimate Musings on Parenting
I’m an artist to the core of my soul. I’m a curious collector of oddities (both objects, experiences and people). I read. I discover. I write. I design. I act. I live as I wish (well, I pretend I do). And I use the word “I” a lot, or at least I used to.
Then I met a remarkable man who thought I was funny and a bit odd and a lot sexy and smart and ….I liked him a lot too because he was smart and sexy.
And that would have been fine to have stayed that way…
Until we had a child.
I never knew I could love as much as this. Both the man and the child. I never knew we could love as much.
I never knew what an amazing journey parenthood would be.
When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.
Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.
Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.
So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life?
- Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
- Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
- Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
- Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
- Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
- Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
- Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
- Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
- Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.”
- Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
- Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
- Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
- Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
- Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of judging your friend.
- Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
- Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
- Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
- Teach them to pay if forward.
- Teach them that their opinions are valued.
- Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
- Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we need to encourage them to start.
- Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
- And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it.
And one more thought… talk WITH your children. Not AT them. Let them have opinions. Listen to them. LISTEN. Then guide them and love them for WANTING to talk with their parents. It works. It really does. Yes, your children will talk to you if they don’t think you’re going to judge them. It is that easy. Give it a try.
Have a good Saturday everyone, and yes, I promise, I’ll post Vampire stuff.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman