It’s time for another response to the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series. This time I chose to answer the question, “What’s the hardest part of growing up?” Keep in mind, this is my personal answer, and you may totally disagree with me!
I basically grew up as a spoiled only child. Sure, I have two older half brothers, but unfortunately, I only got to see them maybe once a year. Essentially, my world revolved around…. me.
What’s the Hardest Part of Growing Up?
Well, for me, the answer has to be the world doesn’t actually revolve around me.
I really think that there are a lot of people that realized this lesson from a young age. I, on the other hand, sort of felt like everyone should do things for me and that I was always right. I wanted to be the center of attention, the most important person in the room, and the kind of person that everyone depended on.
This was true at home, of course. I expected my parents to bow to my every wish. Obviously it didn’t always work out that way, but I did get to be a spoiled brat. It’s not all my parents’ fault. A lot of it was just my personality, perspective, and outlook at the time. I was close minded and lacked seeing the bigger picture – you know, like recognizing everyone else in the whole world was somebody too.
At school, kids knew me as the straight A student, and a perfectionist. In elementary school, this meant that everyone wanted to be my partner for any project where we partnered up because they knew I would basically do all of the work to ensure a perfect grade. That said, I got a progress report in kindergarten saying that I was a great student, but needed to work on being able to work with others. I was not a team player. I thought my way was always the best way and wouldn’t hear anything to the contrary.
With friends, I would get into arguments over who could play with them because I felt like I should be their favorite friend. I got jealous easily and insisted that my friends just play with me. I would get upset when they would go to someone’s birthday party that I wasn’t invited to or would go away to summer camp. Who did I think I was, anyway!?
I didn’t nurture my friendships, but since we moved around a lot as a kid, I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences any longer than a year or two. I was not forced to be a better friend or a better person, so I chose not to.
Fast Forward to My Adult Years
When I talk about my kids being a blessing, I mean it in so many more ways than just having cute foreheads to kiss at night or silly stories to listen to any time we are driving in our van.
It is so much more than that. My kids have taught me patience, empathy, selflessness, and balance.
I have had to make many sacrifices for them. Over time, it’s been obvious that this has been, among other things, at the expense of my ego. No longer do I worry about having everything I want when I want it. Heck, I may want a new pair of shoes because they’re cute, but I choose to spend that money on something else for the family instead. Maybe I don’t want to drag everyone out to the store or give up an evening with them to go alone. Either way, the shoes just might not be worth it or necessary anymore.
My friendships are diverse, and I don’t require ridiculous amounts of time or attention from them. I don’t expect to be their only friend, ever. I’ve been in friendships as an adult where that was expected of me, and I saw just how ridiculous that is. As a grown up, it’s especially crazy. I need all kinds of friends! I need the mommy friends, the blogger friends, the church friends, the fashionable friends, the IHOP night friends, the childhood friends, the I-Love-You-Even-Though-We-Both-Moved-Away friends, and I even need (ahem – have) several little kid friends. 🙂
In school, everyone just knew how smart I was. As an adult, it’s obvious that no one knows your intelligence level at first glance or in passing. Heck, many of my friends don’t realize I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree Summa Cum Laude, or that I’m also a massage therapist, childbirth educator, and doula. My lifestyle doesn’t reflect my education level right now. I’ve had to embrace that and be okay with the fact that a lot of people see me as just a mom. I’m just a lady that chose to stay at home and homeschool my kids. Unremarkable, in the scheme of things, to most people. That’s okay!!
Where Do We Go From Here?
I’m finding that I continue to change and adapt through the years. I’m actually getting way more laid back, and even more patient. I’m making more friends and keeping the friendships, even through moves and life changes. I’m finding a balance between caving in to my own wants and desires and those of my family and friends.
Has this been easy? Oh, heck no. There have been many growing pains in this process. I remember doing a lot of crying as a teen, and again as a new mother. Trying to get this stuff figured out is hard. There is no manual and no one can tell you the correct path. It’s all trial and error. Sometimes lots of errors.
Is it worth it? Yes! Completely! I’m so thankful for the lessons I have learned over the years through living my life. It’s been eye opening and is enlightening when trying to decide on how to raise my own kids. I want them to encompass and exhibit the many traits I lacked while they’re kids and well into adulthood.
I don’t want them to have to learn the hard way, but I have also let go to the ideal that they won’t have to wade through these lessons on their own. Of course they’ll have to learn from their own mistakes for the lessons to truly stick and apply. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll give them enough confidence to be brave enough to try.