5 Parenting Lessons I Did Not Learn from My Mother

Parents are well aware that there is no parenting handbook that provides you with the roadmap to guaranteed I-didn’t-screw-this-up-my-kids-are-perfect success.

There’s also no way to predict what type of child you will have or what type of parent you will become.

While my mother did her best to prepare me for some of the joys – and not so joys – that were coming my way when I became a parent, there are some lessons I just had to learn on my own.

5 Parenting Lessons

Here are the top five lessons I have learned through my experience with being a mother of three.

1. Your children may not get along, or even like each other, and that’s OK. I grew up basically an only child. I have a few siblings on my father’s side and my mom had my little sister when I was 10. My sister and I did not truly hang out and become friends until I was in my late twenties and I always thought that if she and I were closer in age we would have been the best of friends growing up. Wrong. Well, we could have been; but as I have witnessed with my own three kids, closer in age is not a best friend guarantee. And sibling rivalry is real. I have two sons, ages 17 & 7, and a 11 year old daughter. They fight every day, and about everything. What movie to watch on TV or who is sitting too close to whom in the back seat. The only time they get along is when they are sleeping. I’ve picked up a part-time job as peace broker and while it may last a few minutes, they are right back to fighting in no time.

2. Raising two sons and a daughter is a whole other ball game. My mom had two daughters. So, when it comes to raising sons and a daughter I’m in new territory. While my kids receive the same amount of love, care, and attention, I would be lying if I said I raised my boys and my girl exactly the same. I do not promote double standards but I do believe in preparing my children for reality. The reality of the world is that women and men are not treated equally. If I raised my children to expect anything different I would be doing them a serious disservice. For the most part, they have the same age appropriate privileges & chores; but there are certain areas that differ. For example, I have already told my teenage son to start thinking about life after school because living with mommy is not an option after college. On the other hand, my daughter can live at home as long as she’d like; and preferably until she gets married.

3. Your life will belong to others…for a long time to come. I was not involved in many activities growing up. I was a cheerleader for a couple of years and was a basketball manager (i.e. water girl) for a year. So, my mom did not have to do much in the way of carpools, practices, etc. Based on this, I formed this fantasy that when my kids grew to school age I could once again reclaim the life I once had. Oh how wrong I was. It only gets worse, not better! As my kids get older, there are more and more obligations, activities, and events placed on my schedule. Between football, soccer, competitive dance, girl scouts, and Tae Kwon Do I can pretty much forget about having my life back anytime soon.

4. There are days where you will wish you weren’t a parent. My mother made it seem so pleasurable. She was always happy to see me, always happy to spend time with me, and always seemed to appreciate the life takeover I brought her way. So imagine my surprise when, shortly after having my third child, I sat in my room crying and wishing that I could start over. No kids, no diapers, no play dates, no weight gain. I just wanted a redo. Then my daughter came over to me and said “mommy, I love you.” The tears went away, I held her tight, and promised myself I would never forget how wonderful it feels to be a parent and have a child’s love. That was, of course, until the next time I cried my eyes out and wished I could rewind time.

5. Being a parent truly is the most important job you will ever have. You hear it all the time and it may start to sound trite but it is the truest statement about parenting. Nobody can teach you how important it is to be in charge of another human being; it is something you have to learn by doing. To see how your thoughts and ideas project onto another person and shape their world is powerful. For me to have this experience with three very different little people has been the most amazing gift I could have ever imagined. Sure, they eventually grow up, move out, and belong to the community. But for the most important, life-shaping years of their lives you are the authority — teaching them what’s right from wrong, showing them how to be humble & polite, and helping them figure out what they are to the world. I would love to know what could be more important than that.

I want to hear from you!
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned from being a parent? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.

Comments 25

  1. Being a parent is truly a big and important job. It is our responsibility to raise them to be independent and responsible. It is a twenty four hour a day job. They do grow up fast though and you will be pleased with the results if you invest your time and love in them. Thank you for this great article. Keep up the good work. You are beautiful on the outside and it sounds like that same beauty is within you. God Bless

  2. LOVE ALL OF THESE!!!! They are so real…I think a lot of parents arent bold enough to admit these lessons but you hit the nail on the head with these!!!

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  3. I agree with a lot of what you say. I raised 4 boys age 23-35. I learned a lot from them and am learning even more every day. Their adult years have been the hardest for me, Their teenage years the happiest of my life. Not what people usually say. They love each other but I still to this day see sibling rivalry!

  4. These things are all so true. I raised three boys who turned out to wonderful young men. I youngest son died in a motor cycle accident though by someone who wasn’t paying attention. My sons have been a true blessing. I did have all those feelings you are talking about. I am now helping my son raise his two young children as he has custody. I am starting over again at 62.

  5. i dont have kids, but i always said i would never favor one child over another as my parents did, or give more to another, or pay for college for one and not the other. i think if you have more than one child you need to treat them as equal. my parents favored the 2 boys over the girls. the boys were spoiled as well as my older sister b/c they have so much given to them, they never had to work while in school, had houses given to them, money (hundreds of thousands of dollars), when i asked for help with my dental i was told no. guess you was chosen to take care of the parents when they were older and chosen to be trustee, poa, me….i had to retire early b/c taking care of them was a full time job, and got nothing for it…my only saving thought was b4 my mother passed away, she told me that she was sorry and now realized that i was the only child who loved her for her and not for what she had/had not given me….she said that she was sorry for not treating me the same as the older children. she passed away the next day. my older brother had sued her again for the 4 time in 10 yrs. i dont think most people know that taking care of your parents is worse than raising kids…you have to handle everything, finances, medical, insurance, shopping, dressing, bathing, shots, driving, feeding, etc. my father was never around when i was growing up, i started working when i was 15 and worked til i retired to take care of my mother. i worked full time most of my college and grad school yrs.

  6. This is a wonderful post. #1 and #4 are especially true for me. I have two boys(14 & 7). They never get along. Well, ok…maybe 3% of the time they’re decent to each other. This is a terrible thing for me to understand since my sister and I were best friends. Thank you for saying them being closer in age wouldn’t matter. I often feel guilty for waiting so long between children.

  7. I grew up with 5 brothers and 1 sister and we did fight allot but when some one said somthing or bullied my 3 older brothers would go after them and we are all still close but we grew up in the 60 and when I had kids I try’ed to teach them like my Mother taught us but it did not work there my 2 girls are like oil and vinegar they fight they stay mad at each other and can hardly be around each other since they got older they were closer when they were young but wen all 3 of my kids I have a son that is older than the girls when they get in one room we can get threw 1 day and thin it a fight so what are you to do now So I no what you mean about a do over some times I would like do it over

  8. This so funny because I knew all of these things.My sister in law used to try to school me on childcare and would just look at her and laugh.I taught my mom some stuff too.

  9. Ohhh my!!! Yeah, there are quite a few things I didn’t learn from my mom. She’s quite old fashioned and always comments on how me and my siblings were little angels when we were younger, and doesn’t know what to do or say to give me advice on my son who is going through the terrible two’s.
    She too made it seem so pleasurable but I’m having a tough time dealing with my son. I’m a single mother and she’s always rubbing it in that when she was my age, she had 3 young kids to deal with, and she never had a problem doing it by herself when my dad was working two jobs to support us. Love my mom, just wish she could give me more advice. lol

  10. Interesting to me how you want your boy to move out ASAP but your daughter can hang at home longer. I was the only girl with 4 brothers & I must admit a bit spoiled.

    Along with all the things your mother didn’t teach you it’s impossible to fathom all the things she DID. Such a different perspective we have on our parents ways when we become a parent ourselves.

  11. Thank you for this post. After an awful week with a teething toddler who has suddenly reached the “terrible two’s”, reading number 4 on your list made me feel a lot better – thank goodness I am not the only one!

  12. SOOO true! Such a great post. I have learned so many things from being a mom that my mom didn’t talk about. I think with the siblings, sometimes God puts people in our families with personalities so different than our own so that we can grow and learn from that experience. Great post! Can’t wait to share! πŸ™‚

  13. Oh hell! I have 2 girls and I plan on telling them the same things my parents told me. They can’t live with us after they are 18 unless (a) they are in college or (b) they are paying rent. Period. I want my girls to be independent and leave. I couldn’t wait to move out! πŸ˜‰

  14. Motherhood is just so ‘individualized’ isn’t it? We all have such different journeys in this gig!! And your mom – with just one had it much easier!! Love these points! They are just SO true. πŸ™‚

  15. Number 4! Oh yes, I am so guilty of that! Especially when I feel so exhausted from work and come home to a wrecked but yes, kisses from the little ones blow those thoughts away. πŸ™‚

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