We love our babies long before the plus sign appears on a positive pregnancy test. When they’re born, we’re changed forever.
Becoming a parent means entering a new season in life — a season that requires significant courage and boldness. We have to be prepared for the unexpected. We have to show up for anything. We have to be brave.
There is no braver role than being a parent. Need proof? Just look at the COVID-19 pandemic. Raising the next generation while working remotely during a global crisis in an ever-changing world was not something any parent saw coming.
It’s because of facing the unknown and the many unanticipated moments over these last few years that we’ve learned to become fearless advocates for our ourselves, our children and the causes that are important to us.
These times have called us to be braver than ever and to draw upon the deepest essence of who we are. Many of us made decisions we may have been too afraid to make before, such as a career change or moving to a new city. Others have needed to make drastic changes to align with new priorities.
Becoming a parent has helped me remember the important things in life and incrementally evolve into who I am and who I am meant to be — the best version of myself: a brave, loving, compassionate, understanding mama teaching her children to carry on these values in their own lives, so they can do their part to help make the world a better place. We can inspire this same bravery and boldness in others. When we’re brave, we give others permission to be brave, too.
When your children grow, they help you grow and expand, too. As they explore the world around them, you get to learn new things about your inner world as well, perhaps things you haven’t noticed before.
Your self-awareness is magnified. Kids echo their parents’ behaviors. It’s like looking into a mirror; our children are reflections of our emotions, personalities and tendencies. Raising kids has helped me examine my patterns, such as my tendency to overwork and overdo. I am more aware now of how my behavior and reactions impact my kids’ behaviors.
Your compassion expands. Compassion for others and compassion for yourself increases in a major way. Becoming a parent teaches us to grow self-compassion, to have kind words, kind thoughts and kind deeds toward ourselves. Thanks to our kids, we learn the value of being just as loving to ourselves as we are to them.
You’re constantly learning. We may think we teach our children life’s lessons, and in many cases we do. However, our children teach us, too. They’re our best guides. Becoming aware of this requires the courage to listen with presence and the readiness to act on what we uncover. Over the months, years and decades of parenting, we slowly transition into better versions of ourselves. Our kids open our
eyes, so we can see more clearly. They open our minds, so we can appreciate different points of view. They open our souls, so that we can know unconditional love. Sometimes, I’m not ready for what my kids are here to teach me because of resistance and old habits, and
sometimes, I’m ready to bring on the growth.
You don’t stay static. Life is not static, and neither are we. Although it may look similar day to day when you’re working and raising kids, life is different every day, because there is constant growth and change happening within and around us — even if it’s not visible on the surface. Like nature, we adapt with the fluctuations of the seasons and during our own seasons of life. Even subtle change requires courage.
Originally published in Winter + Spring 2022-23 issue.