I've had the opportunity to watch my sister in law raise her kids. She had her first child just a couple years after I got married and then had twins when her oldest was three. I know those years were a blur to her but as a newly-married woman without kids, I often stood in awe of how she managed it all. I mentally took note of a lot and was able to use so much of what I learned from her with my own kids. For instance, schedules: it was completely necessary that her kids be on schedules for everyone's well-being. I put that into practice with my own kids and it was such a benefit for our family. When mine turned 2, she passed along advice and books which helped me through that age and so on through the baby and toddler stages.
Her and my brother in law live 3 hours away but we visited often when their kids were little. It was great to get a taste of little kids and then come back to our peaceful world of newlywed bliss sans children. After we had our own, we tried to keep the visits frequent, but now as all of our kids get older we don't get to spend as much time together. Activities and sports seem to rule our schedules now.
This past weekend we packed up the family van and headed to Charlotte to visit them. It's always a fun weekend and the kids have so much fun hanging out. Their oldest is now 13 and our youngest is 5. My kids pretty much worship their older cousins and it's just fine because they are really great kids.
I don't get the chance to see my sis in law in action much anymore and I've gotten into my own special grove as a mom. But just like always, when we are together, I learn something from her about being a better mom.
This weekend, I learned:
- To take a very real interest in my kids activities. To love what they love.
- To sit down and play more board games with my kids or play catch outside with them - engage in more play with them.
- To keep more lists (always a struggle for me)
- To try and stay ahead of the laundry. Which reminds me that I have a load in the washer...
- To not always say what is on my mind to my husband when he is bugging me.
- To not get too upset when someone knocks your mailbox down, breaks a window to your garage and knocks over your birdbath in the middle of the night. Yes, this happened while we were there - most likely teenagers. I never heard the glass break in the middle of the night but she did and she remained so calm. I hope that I would react in a similar way but I'm not sure that my fear wouldn't get the best of me and cause me to freak out.
I try not to fall into that comparison trap but it is difficult when you see another great mom running her household so efficiently. I do think it's good to learn from other moms by taking a bit here and there that you can incorporate into your own family, though. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I love having women like my sister in law that I can look to for advice and guidance. I know some women even look at me that way which amazes me...really, it does. But really that is the way it's intended to be, the moms who have been there helping the newbies learn the ropes.
So, how about you? Who have you learned from about being a mom and wife?
For More lessons learned this week, head on over to Musings of a Housewife.