No duh, you might be saying. It is obvious that parenting is hard work! Just watch any parent with his or her little one, or ones, for about five minutes. Whether in a store, at home, or in the yard, kids never seem to give us parents a break. I recently read that moms work nearly a hundred hours each week, after the real work of running a household with children is totaled! Some Au Pairs I work with have commented that this is one of the hardest jobs ever, looking after children every day (and they only put in 45 hours each week)! I couldn’t agree more, which is why I love all of my jobs: supporting these international visitors in the most important job they’ve held yet, being mom to my own brood of six, and being a substitute teacher for the occasionally-weary or ill local teacher.
I want to remind you why your work as a parent, (whether mom or dad) is not in vain. It really is important for kids to hear the word NO, to have chores, to follow rules, to suffer failure and even consequences. It is so hard for me to watch my kids do something I know (or at least strongly suspect) will be a difficult learning experience. I also know if I save them or do for them, that will be a disservice to them. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life saving or doing; I want to watch them soar, even crash, burn and rebuild (okay, within reason). Life is full of ups and downs and our job as parents is to guide our kids and give them the tools to fix their own mistakes and yes, reach their potential.
Here are some benefits to all the hours of explaining, showing, helping, building, driving, waiting, cleaning, supervising, refereeing, coaching, yelling, crying, and everything else that comes with raising great kids. Kids who do for themselves, have limits with consequences and know that No means NO will:
1. Be more independent – those who can, do
2. Be more adventurous – life is meant to be lived
3. Be more humble – we are all created equal
4. Be more helpful – many hands make light work
5. Be more empathetic – everyone struggles with something
6. Be more prepared – consequences are real
7. Be more involved – no one can do it for you
8. Be more practical – get the job done well the first time
9. Be better adult children – we never stop being their role models
10. Be better parents, in due time – well-behaved grandchildren will be your reward!
Will your kids thank you right away? Don’t count on it, but they might. It sometimes surprises me that, after being scolded or punished for something, my kids will often hug me and tell me how much they love me. Is this their way of weaseling back into my good graces? Maybe, but I like to think it is their simple way of showing they love to be held to limits, they love that I care enough to say no and follow through. Punishing or scolding kids is never fun for me, but the benefits of keeping on-task as a parent far outweigh those few moments. In time, after they have children of their own, my kids could become my best friends in the same way that my own mom has become mine. For now, I am still the boss-lady around here!
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