It’s a girl!
After 22 years, another baby has arrived in our family. I am an auntie to baby Olivia.
My brother, Rob, and his wife have chosen to start a family much later in life than when my husband and I started ours. I was in my 20s. Rob is in his 40s.
Since Olivia joined our world, I have been thinking about how I would parent if I had children now in life. Would I do anything differently?
I am not one to live with regret, but, yes, I would do things differently.
Be more intentional at every age about how I mentor their growth
I am not talking about teaching spelling or math. The school system has a curriculum for those developmental skills. I am referring to life skills that are only taught by parents and grandparents. Budgeting, creative cooking, couponing and laundry are skills that every child needs to learn.
Every year, I create a personal development plan for myself. I think about what I want to focus on in the next year and how I want to grow. This focus includes physical, financial, spiritual and educational goals. Why did I not think of this when my kids were younger? These skills are not taught in school and are critical for every age to learn.
A 2-year-old might not understand how to budget expenses, but she will understand what it means to earn an afternoon snack if she cleans up the table after lunch. And when she is 3, she might not know what tithing her income is, but she will find joy in giving to the Salvation Army buckets.
I realized that I was not intentional enough with life skills training when my teenagers did not know how to mail a letter; however, I had a proud moment when each teenage child successfully learned how to launder their clothes.
Offer a variety of
healthy meal options
I was not exactly a perfect chef when I was first married and became a mom. I was the homemaker who added four cups of garlic to the lasagna instead of four cloves. (I was taught in home economics class that the “c.” abbreviation meant cups. I did not know it meant something different when measuring garlic.)
Popular dinner menus consisted of casseroles, hamburger helper and macaroni and cheese. Any quick, convenient recipe was adapted in our home.
Now that I have expanded my menu selections and found how easy it is to cook healthy recipes, I would use a variety of seasonings and choose to cook with unique foods like gnocchi and avocado.
Thankfully, two out of three of my children are not picky eaters, and all of them enjoy cooking as adults.
Be home every day to take
the kids to and from school
I realized how my attitude in the morning influenced my kids’ entire day. If I were in a rush and hurried the kids out the door without a smile, then they returned home that evening the same way — rushed and grumpy.
On days when I could be home after school, I saw how my presence influenced their approach to homework and chores. I also was able to create healthy afternoon snack options.
I enjoy working. This is why I chose to be a working mom. I also enjoy being a mom. If I were to do it again, I would balance my day with a little less work and more mom-time.
I am thankful that my children are confident, responsible young adults. These decisions might not be needed any longer as a parent, but I am ready to use these adjustments as an auntie. And maybe even a grandma someday.
Kathie Rotz is a leadership consultant and John Maxwell certified speaker, trainer and coach with Unity Consulting in Dubuque.