What I Know About Parenting

I’m not an expert at much of anything when it comes to adulthood, grown up stuff or wisdom of any kind.  When it comes to parenting I managed by the basics.  I loved them.  I didn’t want them to be hungry.  I didn’t want them to suffer.  I enjoyed them being happy.  I wanted them to have fun.  I wanted them to know what work was and not be afraid of it.  I wanted them to love reading, love music and appreciate the truly good things in life.  Other than that my expertise about raising kids includes…..  I was a child.  I have always been around children.  I continue to have children in my life.   That’s pretty much the extent of it.  That in no way makes me an expert.  I may have experience but no way do I warrant any professional status.

However.

I do love my children.  I was always active in raising them.   I tried.  And I failed.  And I succeeded.  So I have experience.  But I have no sure fire tricks to a successful parenting model.

So if I were to give them advice there is absolutely no guarantee it would be good, or even correct, advice.

But I am going to give it a shot.  In the dark.

When you buy a house?  Get a small one.  Keep it nice.  Clean.  Make improvements.  Don’t get more house than you need.  Pay it off.   Use your money for other things.  A home is important.   You should make where ever you are, home.  What you spend on it is not important.  It’s how you spend your time there that matters.   Home should be a safe haven from the world.  And a place that gives comfort and joy.  Create traditions in your home that your children will always be able to take with them, no matter where they go.

Pay your bills.   First.  Always.   You can’t go out to eat five times a week?  Good.  You shouldn’t be  doing that anyway.

Eat your meals around the dinner table.  Just like we use to do.  And not once did I ever hear you complain about mom making you dinner, sitting down with you, and talking to you.   Oh, you complained a lot.  But never about being fed and sat with.   Do it with your family.

You can not spoil your children by loving them.  That’s nonsense.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that.  Hold them as often, as much and for as long as you like.  One day they will be too big to pick up and keep safely in your arms.  One day they will wonder off to bed without waiting for you to tuck them in and sing them “Amazing Grace” and read them a book.  You will finish dinner dishes one night, you will go look for your beautiful child who was reading a book in the living room.  You will find her/him in her/his little bed.  Fast asleep.  You will be exhilarated that you have an extra fifteen minutes of peace.  Then it will hit you.   Your child didn’t need you for those few minutes of comfort.  Then, you will be sad.  And you will remember it forever.   So do it.   Love them.   Hold them.  No matter how much you hold them now, years from now it will not have been enough.   You won’t regret it later.   Trust me.

Speaking of singing.  Sing to them.  Your voice is comfort and love to them.  Pick a song just for them.   My two?  You know what your songs are.  And I know them.  And for the rest of your lives, when you hear your song-it will be as if I am singing to you.   And when I hear them?  I have a flash of holding you as a plump baby and singing it to you, dancing in our living room.  I say “dancing” with finger quotes high in the air.  You know I can’t dance.  I swayed.  I sang.  You loved me.

You can spoil your children with lack of discipline.  None of us get everything in life.  None of us need everything in life.  Give them what they do need.  Help them to decide what is important to want.  And help them to learn the value of earning what they want.

Save a little money from every check.  Five dollars?  Good.  Fifty?  Better.  One hundred?  Fantastic.  Little savings add up.  Even if it adds up slowly.  Eventually it will add up to a month’s rent or mortgage.  And that adds up to comfort.  Knowing you have something for troubled moments.

Don’t expect to know everything.

Don’t be afraid to ask.

You don’t need 2,158 friends on Facebook.  But you do need a good friend or two to talk to.  To share good times with.  To hang your head low over coffee with when you’re so tired you could sleep standing up.   Laugh with people you trust.  Find fun in people, not things.  You won’t look back and remember what you were wearing when your child walked, or your family grieved a loss, or your family celebrated triumph and success.  But you will remember those who sat with you, walked with you, talked with you.   You will remember those who lived part of your life with you.

If you don’t want your child to grow up speaking badly or negatively about others….don’t let them hear you speaking badly or negatively about others.

If you want love in your home, bring love in to your home.  Share the love in your home.  No one else can do that for you.

Every day when you come home from work, spread your hands out over a brick wall or an outside windowsill.   Lie your troubles from work or life out there.   You can pick them back up on your way back out the next day.  Chances are you’ll find less troubles waiting for you when you go to leave again anyway.   Home is where the good, the safe, the security of life and love is.  Leave all of the other stuff outside your front door.  (Credit for this one goes to a story I read years and years and years ago.  I just don’t know where I read it.)

Love your mom.   Even if she doesn’t know what she’s talking about half the time.

If you get advice from someone and you don’t know what to do with it?  Take it, thank them, and put it in storage.

 If it works for you, save it, and remember to share it with your child.

Some day.

When they might need it.

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62 thoughts on “What I Know About Parenting

  1. jmgoyder says:

    What an absolutely brilliant post!

    Like

  2. All that just from being a child, and having children? Where’s your degree? Amazing!

    Like

  3. littlecurls says:

    I’ve had a hectic week, the terrible twos just set in with my son. I needed this. Thank you.

    Like

  4. What a wonderful and insightful post Colleen, thanks for sharing…

    Like

  5. Thanks Mum 😉 I endorse! x

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  6. inmycorner says:

    I wish there were more parents like you. I love, once again, the simplicity of your rules. There is so much to be said in “living simply” and I so agree about your financial advice. You sound so much like my parents, Colleen. You can never love your children too much -so true. You can spoil them – so true. A simple life – lived large is so much better than a large life lived being simple. A world view is also important as what goes on in our own home is not the world — step outside and travel. It makes home ever so much more appreciated. It gives a greater sense of responsibility to our children. Thank-you for this post – I wish everyone could/ would read it.

    Like

    • Thank you Stacey. I have to say, many of these lessons were learned late or almost even too late. But it doesn’t mean I didn’t learn them. And though my children are ‘older’ it doesn’t mean they don’t still learn from me, and quite honestly, with me. It’s never ending, this love called parenting. ❤

      Like

  7. ksbeth says:

    this is wonderful, and my child rearing experience was all trial and error, – a lot of error )

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  8. markbialczak says:

    This is wise and wonderful, Colleen. A blueprint for keeping life right in front of you. 🙂

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  9. Isn’t this the ever-loving truth? Home is where the heart is. Top it up with love everyday.
    Life isn’t complicated, is it, unless one makes it so. Love is the answer.
    This is a wonderful post and should be recorded and played when the alarm goes off every morning. Not a bad lesson with which to start a day. ❤

    Like

  10. Yes, love is the answer. What a great piece. ❤

    Like

  11. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Your kids are lucky to have you in their lives. ❤

    This part:

    "If you want love in your home, bring love in to your home. Share the love in your home. No one else can do that for you."

    Especially. For those of us starting pretty much from zero with how homelife should be, that is rule #1. Always.

    Like

  12. Mustang.Koji says:

    We see your mother did the same with you, Chatter Master… and discipline IS lacking in my home for one reason or another… Good points you offer.

    …but 2,158 friends…. Hmmmm… Dies your mother know that? 🙂

    Like

  13. IcyFire says:

    As a first time mother, I Thank you so much for writing down the advice. I needed it so much today.

    Like

    • I’m glad it helped IcyFire. Hang in there. I sometimes think we forget how difficult it is to be parents to young ones. My kids remind me of this every day! Here’s a smile just in case you need one: 🙂

      Like

  14. Robin says:

    Brilliant advice, including (maybe especially?) the end part (to take it, say thank you, and put it in storage). Sometimes people don’t know what to do with (or how to take) good advice. 🙂

    Like

  15. Jim McKeever says:

    Lovely, Colleen. Reading that brought back many fond memories of when my 3 boys were little — including my bad singing voice at bedtime. I smile at those images now, for all 3 are indeed way too big (and hairy) to cuddle. Waiting for grandchildren, but not in any rush. Your good advice will work for the next generation as well.

    Like

    • 🙂 I hope the next generation continues to pass down tried and true advice. And grandchildren are the absolute best Jim. I can’t begin to tell you about that kind of love that will knock for a loop of love that you can’t yet fully grasp. I am forever on that loop now….it’s AMAZING!

      Like

  16. niaaeryn says:

    This is excellent! 🙂 I have to share this with my sister…may I? She is expecting her first.

    Like

  17. reocochran says:

    I loved how you lined this up, made it simple, full of truth and caring. I agree time is never spoiling kids. When I loved on my kids, read to them into middle school, my ex-husband said I was ‘spoiling’ them. I had the confidence to know better. Making rules is very important, Colleen! It helps children to know how to behave in school, out in the world and in job situations! This was a great post, sorry I ran out of time read last night and had to leave the library! Hugs for this one!!

    Like

  18. By FAR one of the most powerful articles I’ve ever read. Thank you. You pour it out through simple lessons but I know how we complicate things. This is brilliant. You are a strong, wise, and beautiful soul. Keep sharing and inspiring. I am constantly in awed of you! mucho love!

    Like

  19. Jean says:

    This made me cry. Thanks so much for this.

    Like

  20. Heartafire says:

    for a mom whose not an expert, this sounds perfect to me! Loving worked for me…discipline didn’t hurt either. It seems some parents are afraid to be “the parent” these days. Kids want to know someone is in charge, and not them. Love this article.

    Like

  21. lbeth1950 says:

    I love this. Your children were fortunate to have you, and you, them.

    Like

  22. jaya says:

    I guess this is what I have always wanted to say to my child. Thank you for putting it down so beautifully. Will share it with her.

    Like

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