Nothing puts parenting in perspective quite like losing your parents. The things you say and do to your children, the way you hug your kids in bed, or the words that come out when you’re angry — everything reminds you of how your mother and father were with you. You realize you are so much like them than you ever imagined.
Now that everyone depends on you, you suddenly have a deeper understanding of their way of life. You will see why they were the way they were with you. You realize how proud you made them feel — and how challenging raising you and your siblings were for them. In fact, you wish you could sit down and talk to them now about your parenting choices.
You do a lot of growing up when your mom and dad are gone too soon, but it becomes clear where your priorities lie precisely. You get to appreciate what is really important such as:
1. This day with your children will never come again. It is a weekday or weekend you will never get back. But you're here to spend today with your kids; you are not too late. So be careful that you don't let those weekends turn into weeks, into months, and then years. Before you know, your kids have stopped waiting for you and have their lives to live.
2. The best pamana are the memories you create with your children. The days we spend rolling in bed counting their toes, or running around in the park with them are invaluable and incomparable to any material wealth we can give them. Because when we’re gone, they will hold on to these memories of you — the sound of your laugh, the way you made them feel — and it is what will keep them going long after you’re gone.
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3. Your kids will remember the mess, but they will remember your love more. We spend so much time fussing over the messy house because we worry how it will reflect on the kind of mother we are. But, in the long run, the stains on your child's shirt, the dishes on the sink, the doodles on the wall you can’t scrub off do not matter to your kids. Because that smear on the shirt will remind them of the time you cooked spaghetti and the juice that spilled on the carpet represented all the times you remembered his favorite brand.
4. You cannot be with your children forever. Someday it will happen, and there’s no escaping it. You cannot sugarcoat it, you cannot deny it. We don’t know exactly how much time we have in this world to spend with our children. We all hope we live long enough to see them grow.
What are you doing now to prepare them for a life when you’re gone? Are you leaving the world with humans so entitled they won’t be able to fend for themselves? Or are you training them to be independent so they may thrive even in a world that doesn’t include you anymore?
5. Your children will always love you. Even when they grow up, have their own families, an even when they forget to call or visit — they will always, always love you. You will have a special place in their heart. They will think and worry about you even during those times they forget to call and check on you. You can stop worrying that someone or something will steal your kids’ love away. You are irreplaceable.
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6. Strengthen your children’s love for each other. You have to show your children what it really means to be each other's siblings. Teach your children to stand by each other no matter what. They may fight and argue but when everything's said and done they should have each other's back. Without a strong bond, it's a relationship that can easily crumble when the going gets tough. You have to get them ready for a time when all they will have is each other.
7. You have to stop forcing yourself to be a perfect parent. There’s no such thing, but we can try our best to be a good enough. We can focus on loving our children the best way we know. We can strive to raise them to be good, to let them know that no matter what we will always have their backs, and our love is unconditional.
Don’t worry about your flaws too much — they’re what makes us beautiful in the eyes of our children. They don't want anyone else for the job.