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Best Parenting Advice from a Mechanic
Sometimes we get parenting advice from the unlikeliest of places. Recently, the battery died in my car and this happened to me. Even though I thought Postpartum depression was the best parenting (and life in general) wake up call I could get, a mechanic who squeezed me in because I was out of town with two young kids gave me some amazing parenting advice that I just had to share.
Even though I was grateful enough to this tiny little auto shop for taking in my minivan last minute, I am even more grateful to the sweet man behind the counter who was so willing to talk to me and ask questions about my little ones. When I told him they’re 2 and 1 – he immediately started to reflect back on his life with his own kids.
He told me all about how his youngest is now 13 and that they don’t look at him like he’s Superman anymore. He said “when you’re in it, the thing is you think you’re busy. Things need cleaned and fixed. It’s not til they grow up that you realize that wasn’t the important stuff.”
Close to Home
His advice hit home after an argument I’d had with my own father the weekend before. He was mad that I was pushing him to spend his weekend celebrating my Pappap’s 93rd birthday. He had a lot of things to do was his excuse not to spend time with us.
Meanwhile, this sweet mechanic is telling me all about how he regrets all those things he thought he “just had to do” instead of spending time with his kids.
He told me “when they want to play, get down on the floor and play with them. It goes fast, enjoy it while you can.”
Then he looked kind of sad and said he often wonders if he did enough. Now that they’re older and don’t want to spend as much time with him, he wonders if they traveled enough or filled their weekends with enough fun stuff that the kids would remember.
Even though we make a huge point to spend as much quality time as possible with our kids, filling every weekend with some fun activity we know we’ll all enjoy, it really reiterated a lot of things to me.
For example, our plans to quit my husband’s job so we can travel full-time. It’s such a scary thought that we haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but talking with that mechanic that day really made me realize that you have to take the chances while you can. Even the scary and risky ones won’t be there forever.
The Stat That Will Change Your Parenting
That scary statistic bears repeating here – you get 940 Saturdays from the time your kids are born to the time they turn 18.
940 Saturdays. Think of how many of those will be filled up by birthday parties, sports, social obligations you don’t really want to go to but don’t know how to get out of…
If you need a wake up call, please let this be it. Spend that quality time with your kids. Rearrange your schedule so you can be home with them more. Take them to do the free things in town when you can’t afford the expensive things.
Your kids don’t care (at least not really) if you can take them to Disney World or the closest theme park. They’ll remember the fun things you did – the spontaneous picnics on the floor, family game night, building tents in the living room and camping out.
Also, put down your damn phone. I promise, Facebook can wait. No status update is as important as the toddler pulling on your pant leg excited to show you something.
These moments are fleeting so soak them up while you can. When your kids are grown and leave the house, make sure you can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that you truly enjoyed them while they were little, appreciated the sticky floors, and made the most of what you had while you had it.
Do you feel like you spend enough quality time with your kids? What one thing would you change if you could go back to the day they were born and start over? Tell me in the comments, I’m dying to hear what you have to say!