It’s what they do.
From the tiny firsts as they watch their young ones discover the world around them to the big things like how to be responsible, respect others, and wear clean underwear.
Moms give their lives (and their sanity) to teaching, but no mom (or dad!) is left unchanged from the lessons they learn from their children.
Play – Moms teach their kids that work comes before play.
“Clean up those toys before getting out new ones.”
“Finish the dishes before riding your bike.”
“Check off your homework and then text your friends.”
But kids teach moms that it’s okay to play before work.
Newborn cries beg for loving attention before those dishes “need” to be done.
“Mama will you read me this?” and story time comes before folding that load of laundry. “Can we play play-dough together?” and then you’re digging your fingers into soft colors before sweeping up breakfast crumbs.
Shopping trips for soccer cleats, sharing ice cream after a tough loss, an unexpected trip to the store for last minute touches on a science project.
Tickle wars, bike rides, long walks with short legs, they rearrange our priorities with little hands as they teach us to play before work.
Forgive – Of course kids are ornery.
Grabbing toys, shoving others, snubbing people, speaking rudely, taking the last brownie you’d been hording….
But kids teach us forgiveness like no one else.
The humble grace of watching your child forgive you or someone else is as freeing and exhilarating as watching the tide roll in and out around your feet.
“Mama didn’t speak very loving to you, will you forgive me?”
“I’m sorry for hurting your feelings, will you forgive me?”
When contrite mama heart meets the eyes of love and grace in a child, they teach us to freely forgive.
Generous – Selfishness is an inborn trait of humanity, and generously putting others first is a mom lesson through and through, but when your child teaches you generosity, it makes mommies better people in a heartbeat.
Whether it’s the coolest rock they found,
their last piece of gum,
a specially made breakfast with the very last egg,
that drawing they spent forever on,
or using all their saved quarters to buy you a latte,
the way they teach us to be generous grows mommy hearts and challenges us to live with open hands instead of tightly closed fists.
Treasure – Tucking in little bodies that by tomorrow will be just a little bit bigger,
tussling pre-teen hair that will far too soon be the attraction of cute girls,
holding little hands that will do new things just next week,
rubbing freckled noses until one day you simply stop doing it,
staring into innocent eyes and knowing that in a twinkling, they will be just a bit wiser. With tiny, treasured moments,
kids teach moms to breathe in life and
hold it close because it flitters away far too soon.
They teach us to treasure our time.
Ourselves – Typing busily on an old computer, using a hairbrush as a remote control,
“texting” on their imaginary phones, and taking selfies with a spatula-turned-iPhone .
The words they choose, their tone of voice, the way they treat their babies or their pets, kids mimic what they see. For good or bad, sweet words or naughty behaviors, no clearer mirror exists for a mama than seeing herself in the reflection of her offspring.
Her sometimes lack of patience,
her gentle hands,
her no-nonsense tone,
her lullaby songs.
The lessons of our little reflections make us cringe or light up with pride, but either way, they teach us about ourselves and encourage us to become better people
Living a life marked with generosity, a heart that freely forgives, hands that play hard while treasuring sweet, fleeting moments as we grow into better people.
These are the lessons children teach their moms.
They teach us to love.
This post was originally written for and published by TODAY parenting community