When I was younger, I imagined being a mom one day and thought of all the things I would one day teach my children. Little did I know, they would teach me a lot about life, too.

Many of us go into parenting with this idealistic view of what being a mom will be like. We may envision meals served at 5:00 pm sharp, a perfect sleeping routine, where our children go to bed at a set time without trouble, and perfect school lunches prepared in neat little Bento boxes. And then, we make it to motherhood, and slowly, much of what we envision falls to the wayside, as we realize what our version of motherhood is.

Part of that journey is realizing that while you are the parent, you aren’t the only teacher in your parent-child relationship. Instead, your children have so much to teach you about life. Here are 10 lessons you only learn from being a parent.

1. Every day is a new beginning.

To a child, each day is brimming with new opportunities and a fresh start. Each day, they learn many new things, meet new people, and constantly redefine themselves. As a parent, I’ve learned to not get so hung up on bad days, because the next day is a fresh opportunity to start anew.

2. Express your emotions.

When a child is excited, they show it. When they are upset, they show it. They don’t hide their emotions, and it’s important to remember that we should express our emotions openly rather than bottle them up.

3. Accept people for who they are.

Children don’t judge- even when they see our faults. They love everyone without discrimination, and they view the world in a much more open light than we do.

4. Get excited about life.

Children don’t think of their hobbies as something they “have to do,” they look forward to them, get excited about them, and live for them. What is life without the excitement of trying something new, or learning something new?

5. Be courageous.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about the mindset of a child is that they aren’t worried about what other people think of them, or worried about humiliation, they still dance like no one is watching. They sing out loud and make funny faces. They aren’t afraid of being themselves.

6. There is no one right way to do things.

In our minds, we grow accustomed to doing things a certain way. But, when children come along, we grow to realize that there are many ways to reach a goal, and it’s fun to observe how children find their way to do things.

7. Expensive possessions don’t equal happiness.

I purchased an expensive toy for my little one, and while she was happy with it, I was almost disappointed for a moment when she set the toy to the side and took out the $1 crayons and cheap coloring book that I had also gotten her and began coloring instead. However, when I thought about it, I realized that money doesn’t equal happiness. I notice this too with other children I am around, oftentimes, kids are just happy to have a good time, whether they are playing with a cardboard box, a rock, or a $200 toy from Walmart.

8. Mistakes help us grow.

For much of my life pre-child, I was terrified of mistakes. Each time I made one, it would send me into a tailspin of anxiety and worry. Now, fast-forward to teaching my little one to tie their shoes. So far, she just about has it, but she misses a small step each time. However, she notices where she is failing and changes her approach each time. It’s amazing watching her use mistakes as building blocks. And this isn’t just with tying shoes- it’s with everything in life. Mistakes aren’t the end, they are a step forward and one step closer to success in all endeavors.

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