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12 things I learned from school-aged children
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I've learned some amazing things from my kids. Two years ago I wrote about 12 things I had learned because I was a mom. Here are 12 things I learned from my school-aged kids. - photo by Nicole Carpenter
I've learned some amazing things from my kids.

Two years ago I wrote about 12 things I had learned because I was a mom. At the time, my children were little. Well, they kept growing and I kept learning.

As parents I dont think the learning is ever complete. After all, were just figuring this parent thing out as we go. And just when we get one stage figured out, its time to move on to the next.

Here are 12 more things Ive learned thanks to my school-aged children:

1. Ive learned I cant always be the cool mom. And actually being the cool mom is rarely my thing. The last time I tried showing off for my kids, I threw a rib out! Often I need to be the supportive mom and the boring mom and the please-do-what-Ive-already-asked mom.

2. Ive learned there are worse things than video games. Of course, all things in moderation, but Ive seen video games expand thinking and encourage imagination. There are television shows I worry about more than video games.

3. Ive learned a good book makes all the difference for all of us. Getting my kids to read every day is hard. Yet, Ive found the right book can re-direct a poor reader, re-connect a distracted parent with eager kids, even re-invigorate an overwhelmed mom to take time for herself.

4. Ive learned a forged signature on homework is not the end of the world. School can be tough and Ive learned to first ask the why behind my kids actions before I punish them over the what.

5. Ive learned few things beat a spontaneous family dance party in the kitchen. We shake it off or whip and nae nae. I smile, laugh and pull a muscle and then everything seems better. For a few moments my kids are impressed with their parents moves, but that quickly changes to embarrassment. (And Ive learned I kind of like the look on their face when Im embarrassing.)

6. Ive learned no time for friends seems to be the worst thing ever. Nothing upsets a hopeful child like the lack of time between the end of homework and the start of dinner. For that matter, Im a better person too when I have time with my friends.

7. Ive learned to drop the gloves. I pick my battles because most things arent worth a fight. Like wearing a tie to church, science experiments in the freezer or glitter scattered everywhere. And then the things I do fight for, I usually win.

8. Ive learned technology is tantalizing. I dont know what its like to be a kid with wi-fi, email, DVRs or hand-held devices. My Walkman wasnt too distracting. So Ive learned its OK to keep changing the rules as I learn how to parent around technology.

9. Ive learned to start the day right. A solid breakfast for me as well as the kids makes a big difference. (I use to forget to feed myself.) And if we can get off to school on-time, without yelling, it's already been a great day.

10. Ive learned I hate chore charts. I hate them because Im always the one to implement them. I hate them because it brings out the please-do-what-Ive-already-asked mom. And I hate that without a good chore chart, the house seems to crumble to (Lego) pieces.

11. Ive learned that hearts really do ache. My heart aches when I watch my kids hurting. It aches when I dont have the answers I need to help them. And it really aches when I look at old pictures or videos and remember how little my children once were. It hurts that I cant get that time back (even though I didnt know how Id ever live through it).

12. Ive learned my kids prefer a babysitter over me. That is, just until bedtime and then nothing seems to beat good-night cuddles with mom. It seems even to bigger kids, moms are still irreplaceable.