by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Need some inspiration? Look no further than your own kids. If you're a parent, you most likely already know this. Kids can give us insight we can get nowhere else. Sometimes they do it in the funniest ways - ways you couldn't have imagined if you tried.
Fear - Simple things frighten a child and they react in interesting ways. At times, fear can lead to children motivating or inspiring their parents. One such instance happened to me several months ago. My son has been afraid of swings ever since he was old enough to use them. The only exception to that was his baby swing. One afternoon at the park, he sits on the swing. I thought maybe this would be the day he'd let me push him. I'm a freelance writer, so naturally I had the laptop and a paper notebook in my tote bag. Just as I start to push him, he exclaims "Don't push me, Ma! You really need to write that article!" Since he was so persistent, I did just that.
Nonchalant Attitude - Kids don't care if they get messy and they don't care who's watching when they do it. Of course, there are times when they'll need to be neat anyway. But us adults actually need to take lessons from them sometimes. The other day I was walking along a trail with my kids. It's one we frequent often. They wanted to run down the path that was muddy. Before they could hear me refuse, they took off full speed. Of course, one ended up down for the count. And yes, wouldn't you know it was the one with a new outfit on. I could have panicked, but her cheerful nature was inspiration to me instead. She was perfectly happy, despite being covered in mud. Taking her to a nearby store (we were not close to home) for a replacement outfit with her covered in mud was another lesson. That day she inspired me to keep my humble attitude and also remember that getting dirty was no big deal. In fact, it can be quite fun.
Expectations - Instead of expecting things to go wrong, most kids expect good to come from life. Adults can often forget that all things are possible. When adults apply for a promotion or a position with a new company, they worry if they'll get accepted. When kids try something new, most of them will just give it their all. They expect it to go how it should. Take for instance, the other day with three of my kids. There is a long walking trail that we always would pass by and have never taken it. This is a separate one from the one mentioned above. Yesterday when we came across it, my oldest says "Let's just take the path, Mom." I almost said "No."
I did not know where it led nor where it ended. I only knew that it looked very long and led away from our destination. Thoughts flashed through my head that it was a bad idea. But, instead of listening to those negative expectations, I took inspiration from my daughter. Yes, it did end up leading far from our destination. But the kids and I had an excellent day enjoying nature. The path was eight miles long, but ended up in an area I was very familiar with. The way back ended up being much shorter than the distance of the path. Sometimes the long path that may seem rough is the one you should expect the best from.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Shine
A few weekends ago, the kids had some good friends over and being a holiday (though, not one we celebrate in the most popular way), I had promised I wouldn't work too much. I never promise a whole day off because I'm a workaholic and a single mother. I also work at home so my work is readily available, but I digress. An opportunity presented itself to wing it, so I did.
Forming A Brilliant Idea
Because we had nothing better to do, I get this brilliant beyond brilliant idea to take all of my kids, both of our dogs, plus some of their friends and an extra dog to the park. I don't have a vehicle, so of course the plan was to walk on the trail that led us to the intended park. Our nature trails can take us to several parks, depending on which way we choose to go. We chose the largest park and headed that way. Yes, I am insane enough to take a walk with six kids and three dogs with only me as the sole adult. Us single parents know how to work it whatever it may be.
Learning the Many Ways To Wing It
The kids wanted to play on the way, of course. So who was going to walk the dogs? Why me, of course. Yep, winging it because I had never walked the extra dog before, nor had she been walked with our dogs and here I was about to hold all three of their leashes together. Thankfully, it worked out well. They had been introduced briefly a few times and apparently that was enough to satisfy them all. In some situations, you just have to go with the flow and let the chips fall as they may.
The restroom and drinking fountain were closed and of course the kids needed both so we made use of a nearby store for both purposes and went right back to playing. The dogs wanted to run around and the kids wanted to use the playground so I found a spot in the field that was next to the playground so I could run with the dogs while watching the kids.
Life Lessons In Winging It For Everyone
Throughout this walk and park visit, many interesting situations came up where I had to wing it. But that's life. No matter how much you plan things, sometimes you just have to wing it and in the end, you may find out that winging it is the both the best lesson and the best fun you've had in quite a long time. It's quite fine to plan things. You have to have goals. But it's also good to just let it go and let it flow.
All of these scenarios could have been stressful and some may not have gotten involved in the whole thing, to begin with. But I've quickly learned in many experiences that if you have an open mind and are aware of your surroundings (and all the many ways you can use them to your advantage), life can lead to some fun adventures.
Just wing it! Your life is waiting for you!
When other moms are dishing out the latest gossip, making date night plans, and getting excited over the latest fashions for moms and kids, I can't help but feel out of place. The things I want to discuss seem so different and I am often way out of touch with what everyone else is interested in. I'm not like many other moms. In no particular order, here's five reasons why.
I don't look forward to dropping my kids off at school -- or anywhere. I'm all for quality education. In fact, that's one of the main reasons I eventually chose to be a homeschool mom. You'd think after all those years of seeing my kids all day every day, I'd be glad to drop them off at school every morning. I'm definitely glad they are getting a great education, be it at home or elsewhere. But I'm never excited to spend the whole day without them. I can't relate to that relief many moms seem to experience when dropping their kids off at school or with the sitter.
I'm so lost with the latest gossip. I'll never knock those who are into it because we all have our own things. But I never know who the heck these famous moms are everyone is talking about. I don't even get into the business of the people I know all that much, let alone people I've never met. So when all the other moms are gossiping about each other and celebs, all I would have to offer is what I've done with my own kids -- and firsthand gossip is just, well..not really gossip. So generally I am sitting there with a blank face nodding and pretending I know what they're saying.
Date night? What's that? In our home, it's more like family night, but with a plural. When the other moms are talking about getting all dolled up and going out for a night on the town with their husbands, I can't relate. But wait, don't feel sorry for me yet. Our family values are just a little bit different and they work for us. We believe in doing things together, but that means all of us - not just me and the hubby. We used to have date nights without the kids but all we did is talk about the kids and wish they were there. So now they are. Problem solved.
"Play dates" are unorganized and don't have a formal name. When other moms are discussing Jimmy's play date with Sarah and Sam, again I cannot relate. We don't call it a play date when the kids visit with their friends and they are not planned and scheduled. It's more like this: "Mom can we go to the park? James says they'll be there." "OK, Honey, let's go" While other moms seem to be checking schedules and planning out specific play dates and activities, my kids and I are on the nature trails, playing games we invented, or going to the next thing planned at the last minute. We have never been to a "Mommy and Me" class, but we sure happen to have lots of mother and child time. I think those things are great for those who are into them, but they just aren't for us. As they say "to each their own."
I don't have a professional photographer. That's me. Some moms constantly ask me why we never go to a professional photographer. "Photos you take yourself are just not the same as professional ones," they tell me. I know they aren't. That's why I prefer them. When I look back on our old family portraits, I don't want to think of crying kids trying to straighten themselves in a studio. I want to think of all the fun we had together while I set the camera on auto to snap whatever we were doing that day. The picture you see in this post? Professional, right? Wrong. That was taken with our camera on auto while we were walking a nature trail.
I'm not like some other moms in these and other ways -- and I'm perfectly fine with that. I appreciate all moms for who they are. At the end of the day, we all may be different in various ways, but we all have the same goal - to raise happy, healthy kids and that can be done in so many different ways. Are you like other moms? Whether you answer yes or no, you can still be a good mom. At the end of the day, it isn't about where we go, what we're interested in, and what we do. It's about the love we all give to our kids. If you do everything in parenting with love, you're a good mom.
More from Lyn:
Say What? That Wasn't the Plan...
Raising Kids Who Love The Outdoors
Positive Parenting: Why Doesn't My Teen Trust Me?