With a husband, two rambunctious boys ages 6 and 12, and zero daughters, life at my home ain’t pretty or dainty. Smelly shoes, disorder, chaos, and household wreckages abound on a daily basis. And here I am, in my 40s, with my inner warrior fiercer than ever, and always ready to put everything and everyone in order. As much as I like to pretend I have all the answers (and boy do they have a lot of questions), I’ve come to realize that my boys are teaching me a lot more than I’m probably teaching them.
Here are 4 popular sayings that have taken a new twist in my home. Perhaps they might be useful to you during this wonderful Rocking Over 40 life stage.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it what are you waiting for?
My boys are experts at breaking things and sometimes taking things apart just to see what is on the inside. My older son proclaims that the beauty lies inside to see how it all works and comes together. Lesson: if you’re always sticking to the plan, you may be missing out on a whole world of possibilities and solutions right in front of you. Stability is an illusion and taking your mind off cruise control, and challenging the status quo is a great way to discover the unknown and teach your kids something along the way. Perhaps they’ll sit still long enough to listen to you and not break something along the way.
If you love someone or something, DON’T set it free
Have you ever tried taking away something your kid is totally engrossed with? All hell breaks loose. When my kids love something or someone, they love unconditionally. There are no barriers, no inhibitions, they don’t hold grudges, they are honest. I have to admit that I love this about my kids. Lesson: don’t hold back. Ever. Live and love passionately, surrender to your feelings, and don’t hold the love for those near to you. Love like there’s no tomorrow and like your last breath depended on it. If it’s not reciprocated, then it’s their loss. You are true to yourself and that is all that matters. So next time your child walks by, hug and kiss them, and hold on for dear life. Like all the time. Because it all goes by so darn quickly.
All good things come to those who wait persist
When have you actually seen a kid sit around patiently waiting for something they really, really want? Certainly not my kids. In addition to being stubborn and expert negotiators, they are adamant about working hard (at least the older one is) to get whatever it is he wants. Whether it’s doing extra chores to make more money, practicing the trombone e v e r y single night to make jazz band, or watching swimming video after swimming video to improve his technique the next day at swim practice. Lesson: if you want something, go for it! Don’t sit around waiting for it to drop in your lap…because it probably won’t.
Don’t leave for tomorrow what can be done today tomorrow (or next week).
My kids are constantly putting things off or postponing duties until “later,” to the point where I sometimes feel like pulling my hair out in frustration. (I can feel many of you nodding in agreement). I’ll tell them to do their homework and they’ll often say “but first I need to relax, or have a snack, or play a little, or whateveritis…”, somehow, miraculously what needs to get done always gets done. Lesson: ditch your “to-do” list (for a while) and give yourself permission to relax, to be present in the moment, to slow down, and not think about what needs to be checked off. Simple. That’s it. Truth is that kids don’t feel a sense of urgency (like we do) as a result they are not rushing through things and through life. That is how it should be.
As I watch my kids, I learn lessons every day. Today I stand tall, love recklessly, and live each moment passionately, just like they taught me to do.