Today my daughter is celebrating her 7th birthday! I have learned so many lessons – big and small – from this spirited little person.
Here are some of the big ones:
1. How to be an advocate. I could deal with annoying, disrespectful or immature treatment in my own life, but when my daughter was born I realized I had to confront these behaviors for the greater good. In both my personal and professional life, I began tackling difficult conversations and making hard decisions in order to create a better world for her.
2. How to listen more and fix less. My daughter has taught me that more problems can be solved by listening than fixing. Even at a young age she was capable of completing complex tasks if I offered my support from a distance rather than stepping in to “help.”
3. How to be flexible. Little people are unpredictable. They get sick, have accidents, say things. I have learned it is necessary to let go of my agendas, plans, and expectations to create space for the unexpected wonders and frustrations that come with life.
4. How to recognize when I need sleep. I’ve always needed a lot of sleep. Being sleep deprived has helped me realize that any problem seems more manageable after a good night’s sleep. When I feel completely overwhelmed and cannot deal with one more thing, it’s usually time for bed.
5. How to accept help. When my daughter was six-months old, I broke my foot and could not walk or drive for six months. I am fiercely independent and accepting help was humbling. My friends and family came to do my laundry and take my daughter on walks. While it was difficult to admit I couldn’t do it all, I learned to graciously accept help and have become better at serving others.
6. How to be patient. Before becoming a mom, I kept a rigid schedule. My days were full and I was always on the fast-track. Now, getting out the door can be a production. I have learned to be patient with myself and others. I no longer begrudge the driver in front of me for missing the green light because we are all just doing the best we can.
7. How to be present. I am constantly working on this one. With so many distractions, it can be challenging to be present at all times. I have learned to designate times when my daughter gets my full attention and let her know that in that moment she is my sole focus.