Children can teach adults three things – to be happy for no reason, to always be curious, to fight tirelessly for something”-Paulo Coelho
We’re so busy disciplining our children that we forget to appreciate the small but valuable life lessons they teach us.Ever wondered why only children believe they are capable of EVERYTHING?“I can get that cookie jar”, your 4-year old will say, although she’s just an inch short of the table and that jar is way beyond her reach. You might dismiss it as just another toddler tantrum, but it speaks volumes about a child's perception, attitude and the no-fear approach to everything! Even when they’re only so much as crawling around the house, there’s never a dull moment; never a missed opportunity to get under the sofa, the table AND the cat. Why? Because they have no inhibitions about what they CAN do. So, if you’re a woman, particularly one on a career break, here are five important life lessons from your toddler that will undoubtedly change the way you view your break and help you restart your journey on a positive note:
1) Always Keep Yourself Busy If you're a mum to an energetic, "blender-without-the-lid-on" hyperactive toddler (or, just any kind of toddler, really), then you are most often glad that you're alive at the end of the day. But, wait.Did you see your child waste one single precious moment sitting idle? Of course, not! Because, their minds are working furiously ALL the time, soaking in every little detail - from an ant on the floor to soap bubbles, from jumping up and down in puddles to making a rocket ship out of scraps of paper. While you may see this as "wasting time", they're actually exploring, discovering, and learning. Might be a good idea to incorporate this in your own life. Don't spend hours in front of the TV, on social media or gossipping. Instead, keep yourself busy. Do things that will help propel your career in the right direction. Sign up for courses, language classes, dance classes, whatever interests you. It works wonders on your confidence levels and positivity.
2) Stay Stubborn "I want that Poke'mon game card", your child will squeal and scream even though they haven't the faintest idea of what it ACTUALLY is."I want that life-size Winnie-the-pooh"! From tearing you up into tiny little pieces in a crowded super market to sending you into a trance-like state, they are capable of ANYTHING. And they WILL NOT back down until they get what they want. Wriggle on the floor, kick legs furiously in the air, yell in a high-pitched voice to bring the neighbours down- they get the attention, and ultimately get you to GIVE IN. I would not wish this situation upon ANY parent, but there's no escaping it. It happens to ALL of us. Now, if a person THAT small can terrorize you into getting their way, imagine what YOU could do if you stayed stubborn for all the RIGHT reasons, of course. When it is a question of your individual development staying stubborn is the way to go.Give yourself the time and space you deserve. No, it's not always about changing diapers or buying presents for your toddler. Take a break. Respeect your need for time alone, so others will respect it, too. Believe in it. Stay stubborn.
3) Tomorrow? What’s that? Everything your toddler will ever want to have or to do, will be “NOW”!Doesn’t matter if they demand a dinosaur that walks and talks and closes its eyes when it goes to sleep, (which you will NEVER find) they need to have it NOW! From chocolates to a submarine, from tassels in the hair to a unicorn, everything revolves around the “present”. Ever wondered why? Not because they’re ill-behaved, but simply because the word “Tomorrow” does not exist in their dictionary. They live every moment, and God forbid you try negotiating a trip to the park for “tomorrow”! If your toddler demands it NOW, they sure as hell mean it. So, there you have it. Do what you must, and do it NOW. Throw the “T” word out of the window. Whether it’s working on your CV or your hobby, don’t put it off for tomorrow. I’m sorry, did you say “tomorrow”? What’s that?
4) Dream Big / Set your Goals HighSee how your toddler wants to be the “airplane man” or the “rocket man” while they animatedly point to the sky? They’re five years old, and have NO idea what’s in store. Does that stop them from dreaming the biggest dreams? Does that let YOU stop them from dreaming the dreams they want to achieve? NO!You’re no different. You too have had several moments of “I wish I could do that”! Except you are now prone to unsolicited advice from EVERYONE you ever knew.But, don’t let that determine your journey. Don’t let it stop you from getting to that dream you set out to achieve. Go out there, and get the job done. You know you’re capable. You know you’ve got what it takes. DREAM BIG, because that’s the ONLY way to dream.
5) Throw out Pretense Let’s be honest here. No kid is worried about wrecking that brilliant dress or their stylish hair-do that you worked at for half an hour. They don’t care about having cake all over their face while stuffing in as much as they can before someone else takes it away. They do what they enjoy, not once worried about what “THEY will say”.If jumping up and down in muddy puddles with their new shoes is what they want to do, then that’s what they will do. And at the end of it all, they are cool and confident even if they look like a train-wreck, because they’ve enjoyed every single moment. It’s who they are – minus the pretense. It’s about time you learnt this life lesson from your toddler. Sure, you will give them a piece of your mind, but look at it this way – what’s more important, people’s opinions of them or their happiness?When you find yourself pretending to be someone you’re not, when you’re doing something you don’t enjoy in order to please others, repeat this a million times. ALOUD.“I am not what YOU think , I amYOU are what you think I am”While you may lament a career break and the monotonous life you’re leading thanks to routine chores that revolve around your children and other household duties, you’re missing out on one important detail – IT WILL NOT LAST FOREVER.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Instead do what it takes to keep you happy, and positive. A break doesn’t have to be dull and depressing. A break doesn’t mean you’re weak, vulnerable, and timid. Regardless of the reason you decided to put your career on the back burner, let it not pull you down if things don’t work out the way you planned.Learn to Listen, and Listen to Learn! Every phase is a learning process. But it’s also fun when you can get all of life’s most important lessons from your toddler! Learn to be like the GO-GETTER-TODDLER running about your house.Learn to Laugh Out Loud.Learn that it’s okay to have a meltdown.Learn to let go of your fears.Learn to trust. Learn to get back up when you fall.Learn NEVER to be taken for granted.Learn to demand that which you desire!