What My Kids Taught Me This Year

What My Kids Taught Me This Year | Twin Cities Mom Collective

2020 has been a rollercoaster that we all desperately want off of. In fact, I think I might never ride a ride again. Maybe I’ll just stick to the snacks and that game you throw balls into fish bowls. And along for this never-ending rollercoaster ride is our little people. While the adults have been panicking and trying to keep them happy they’ve just been there, riding along with us all. I think they’ve taught me more than I will ever be able to explain in this little corner of the internet. But here we go. This is a snapshot of everything I’ve learned from parenting 3 of my own kids under 8 and teaching a classroom of 2ndgraders this last year.

  1. They still love you.

They do. I know we are questioning if we are doing enough, or if we are juggling a bunch of impossible tasks at the same time just trying to stay afloat and I just want you to know… they still love you. Even when a day goes crazy. Even when you all just snuggle up to watch a movie and order pizza for dinner. Even when you need them to play independently so you can finish work or make dinner or check their school work. They just love you all the time, no matter what. And I don’t think we can even be a better parent than the one we are being right now, for our kids.

  1. They still think that you’re doing a pretty amazing job at this thing.

Not much else needs to be said because even on my hardest days, my youngest will randomly come up to me and squeeze my legs and tell me she loves me. And some days I know I look like a hot mess on Zoom with my class and I still have a sweet little girl tell me how beautiful I am every morning. They just think we are amazing and I think if I believed it a little more, we would all be a lot happier!

  1. They are more resilient than we will ever realize.

Guess what kids? You aren’t going back to school next week… actually for another month. Scratch that, you won’t see your teacher again this year. I know you loved her. I am so sorry kiddos, we will find fun stuff to do! I know we can’t have playdates, or go into a store, or see your grandma but we will make the best of it!!! And we did… but can you imagine?! We took away a whole lot of their fun and they made the best of it. They played in the backyard and painted rocks and made wands out of sticks. On rainy days, they made forts and made up their own movies and leaned into what makes childhood fun. They didn’t even blink or argue… they just did it. They knew they were doing things to help everyone in their community and they took on that responsibility and did a whole lot better than most adults!

  1. They really like hot cocoa and marshmallows.

When in doubt, have a treat. I am pretending they taught me this and that I wouldn’t have a treat otherwise but… treats make everything better. Kids know that! So make a cup of hot cocoa, have a piece of chocolate, ice cream after dinner… it all sounds great! So when all else fails, have a treat!!

  1. They just need us to be patient and love them and not worry about things like Zoom times and reading levels and how they did on their math Seesaw activity.

I admit it. I am the over the shoulder checker and make sure they got alllllll the things off their assignment list. Just lately I have started not checking. Every once in a while I will look to see if they did most of their work, but I have given that power over to them. They were always in control of most of their schoolwork and they definitely don’t need me ruling another part of their little lives. If they don’t finish all the things, will they fail? Nope. We actually have been telling my 3rdgrader that she doesn’t need to do the optional assignments. And she HASN’T been. This is huge for her. She gave her littler perfectionist self the power of control and decided she does enough and that those extra assignments don’t need to be done. What a great skill she’s learning (and teaching US) during all of this!

  1. They need us to check on them. Like, really check on them.

Do they need a mental health day? That is okay. In fact, what a great life skill to teach them how important their mental and emotional health is. Is Zoom overwhelming? Maybe we just need to turn off their camera and let them breathe? Do they need a hug? Some cookies and a movie? Or maybe they just need a break like all of us. I think our kids are all incredible and resilient and amazing and working their tails off BUT I think we need to ask them how they really are. Then we need to listen to what they’re telling us with their words and their actions and help them. We don’t need to throw a party or buy a bunch of stuff, but maybe just let them be kids again and run and color and make a mess. And maybe if we join them we will all feel a whole lot better.

So there is just a little bit of what my kids taught me this year. So many times I feel like it’s my job to teach them all the things they need to survive in this world but it seems to be that if I am just there for them, they do a pretty great job of doing this life in their very own special way. They are also teaching me a whole lot along the way!

Ashley Saaranen
Mama to 3 littles, wife to my high school sweetheart, lives in the Twin Cities and teaches a fantastic crew of 2nd graders! We have our own little zoo of 2 pups, a cat and 6 chickens and we love playing outside, exploring and spending time with friends and family! I'm a runner, yogi and fun lover who also kicked breast cancer in 2018! Founder of the Minnesota Breasties, a non-profit that supports women going through cancer. Big time fun lover and happy to be here with all of you! https://www.instagram.com/ashsaar/

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