Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Best Lesson My Kids Taught Me

by Amy Ruhlin

 


I remember standing in my kitchen as a young mother, staring out the window and saying out loud to no one in particular, “ there's got to be a better way.” I had recently walked away from my career and much to my own surprise, decided to stay home with my children. My decision wasn't based on the notion that staying home was the more noble choice, but rather, on my inability to balance both a career and motherhood with any semblance of grace or sanity. I thought that simply by staying home, motherhood would somehow be easier.
But in those early years of learning to be a parent, I found myself approaching my days at home in the same way that I had at my work--as a series of tasks to be completed so that I could enjoy a reward at some later point in time: a quiet hour, time to myself, maybe a nap. These are all good things, actually, some of the best things, but I knew that I was missing something important.
I once read that living with children is like living with a Zen master. This was a truth for me, or at least the way that I chose to experience the privilege that is motherhood. Standing in my kitchen all those years ago, I realized that being a parent wasn't just about taking care of and giving.  It was also about receiving. And in the midst of the hard, daily work of raising children, I began to take in all that they were offering me.
I learned to sit on a curbside for hours with my 2-year-old son, and feel contentment just by counting the different types of trucks that passed by. I learned to see beauty in unexpected places, especially in a rock house that my daughter carefully created, complete with cardboard furnishings and name tags for each member of her rock family. I remembered the joy of feeling weightless in space, as I joined them on our trampoline, and I felt delight as I watched them play in the puddles of a pouring rain. I learned to stay in the moment where children naturally live.

It felt like someone had given me a present wrapped up in shiny paper with a large bow and said, "Here, open this, it will remind you of what you have forgotten and give you what you seek." And it did. My children showed me the better way, by reminding me that the rewards are right there in the moment itself.

9 comments:

  1. Reading your posts reminds me of where I was 4 years ago, when I turned 50 and my sons were getting ready to go off to college. I wrote a (funny) book about it, "The Home Fires Are Burning...My Feet". You might enjoy it as cross that bridge.

    Nora Barry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Found it on Amazon Nora..looks great! I plan to add it to my Kindle list.

      Delete
  2. I love this. My daughter is only 6 months old, but already I've noticed a definite shift in my attitude towards being at home. At first, I approached it the same way you did: as a series of tasks. Now every day she becomes more and more her own little person and it's just a joy to witness. Kids are little gifts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Nora I will check it out. Thanks Ashley I LOVED your blog today!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your story and my story are so very similar. I too found my back to appreciating life after burning the candle at both ends trying to juggle home and work. So glad we connected through mombloggers. I blog essays at mobyjoecafe.wordpress.com, and humorous haiku about parenting a teen at momaiku.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey J.B. glad to meet you thanks for the comment. I'll check our your blogs.

      Delete
  5. Beautifully stated. Thanks for sharing and the gentle reminder. I've got a birthday party for my youngest this weekend and will now put away the to do list and enjoy the last few days of him as a one year old :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the comments. I work full time and have a child but these lessons resonate with me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for describing the concept of appreciating parenting in such a beautiful way.

    I was too preoccupied with work and other "things" and missed much of my time as a father

    Now that I'm a grandfather of two beautiful grandsons and don't have so many other "things" to distract me, every moment I spend with them is a gift, one that I thank my son and daughter for giving me.

    It took me much longer to understand what you have so beautifully described. I had to become a grandfather to understand how beatiful

    ReplyDelete