single mom

Advise me

Kids give great advice.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received and the most important life lessons I’ve ever been taught have come from children, especially my own. It’s the little things that as grown ups, we forget or we’re too busy for, and it’s the things that make all the difference in the world.

Stop. Appreciate your surroundings. Doddle sometimes.

While hanging out with a friend not so very long ago, we got into a discussion about relationships. Her nine-year-old was apparently listening in, and when I said that I often thought about getting back together a little voice piped up with, “isn’t it called a break up because it’s broken?”. And it’s true. While I won’t pretend to know what the future holds or how things may play out, I’ve learned the hard way that if it didn’t work the first time, a relationship doesn’t tend to work the second or the third time around, either. 

So, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and it’s called a break-up because it’s broken. Apply those simple principles to  your relationship and you may find that you created problems where there were none, or you tried to fix something that wasn’t fixable.
As we were rushing to get ready one morning, I barked at asked F to put on his jacket, perhaps little more sharply than I should have and he stood there looking at me as I continued to rush about. When I asked him why he wasn’t listening, he told me I hadn’t said please and he was right. Being late doesn’t excuse poor manners, and who better to remind me than the child whom I’m teaching this simple rule. 

And then, I started thinking (dangerous, I know) and I came up with this little list of things that F has taught me recently, and I’d like to share it with you…

1. Hugs do not need an occasion. Hug people you love for no reason, other than that you simply love them. Receiving an unexpected, love-filled hug is the best thing in the world. I know this because it happens to me every. single. day.

2. “I love you” also doesn’t need an occasion? Love someone? TELL THEM. Don’t put it on Facebook. Don’t tweet it. Don’t beat around the bush – just say the words. And don’t not say it because “they already know”. Tell them anyway.

3. Celebrate the little things. F told me I had done a good job when I flushed the toilet this morning. and while it sounds a little bit silly to a grown up, it was important to F to tell me that I had done a good job. I also get “Great job!” or, my personal favourite, “You’re the best!” when I make meals, put on our boots or sometimes just run a bath. Thank people for doing the things they do each day, even if it’s just emptying the dishwasher.

4. Say what you feel. F tells me when he’s upset. In fact, I encourage him to. He says he’s happy, or he’s sad or he’s angry and he says when he doesn’t understand or doesn’t like something. Can you imagine how much easier life would be if people told one another how they actually felt? My stars! 

5. Be silly. Laughing makes you feel instantly better. If it doesn’t, you need a soul because you obviously don’t have one. Don’t take yourself too seriously all the time. Sure, there’s a time and a place for everything but don’t forget to take a few minutes to watch a funny cat video or share a joke with a friend or colleague. 

6. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. The words of Thumper’s mum are repeated over and over at my house, and I’m as guilty as anyone of breaking this rule. It’s extra hard when I preach “say how you feel”, but you can say how you feel without making someone else feel badly. And if you don’t think you can, that’s one time you can keep your feelings to yourself.

7. Slow down sometimes. I often get frustrated when we’re walking somewhere and F stops to look at leaves or some other random, inconsequential thing and hurry him along. But it’s good to stop and smell the roses coffee. I tell him to hurry up when he’s eating, as he takes a bite and then “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm’s” his satisfaction. How often do we shovel food in without appreciating the great flavours? I know I do. I’ve eaten entire meals without tasting them. Life moves fast enough without us hurrying it along.

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