I’m thankful for my teaching background, because without it, there would be a lot of things I wouldn’t have known about being a mother. Like, yelling a lot can be psychologically harmful to your kids. While this might seem like a no-brainer to educators, not everyone knows. My mother must not have. Granted, she was mentally ill, but still.

I got spanked, too, although never hard enough for it to matter, just hard enough to piss me off. My younger brother used to “throw away” his spankings, it was quite funny to watch.

Also, I wouldn’t have known that yelling is ineffective. I do sometimes run out of patience and raise my voice, especially when the two of them are engaged in a back-and-forth and ignoring (or not hearing) my direction, or if one hurts the other, or if there is imminent danger involved.

I may not have known that developmental milestones aren’t the same for every child and that that’s okay. Or that they might excel in one area and simultaneously lag in another.

Desmond is brilliant, but his fine motor skills are a relative area of need. He saw an OT for two years before he entered kindergarten.

Aislyn is also cognitively advanced. She is already reading and performing simple addition. But there’s the toileting.

I wouldn’t have known that kids don’t develop empathy until around 5 (and some even later than that). Even now, when Desmond gets in a crisis state, he seems to lack empathy altogether, but as a former teacher, I know that it’s because his present stress level is interfering with his ability to demonstrate consideration for other people. I know, in his normal state, he has a huge heart and loves his family.

I wouldn’t have known that Aislyn would not yet be able to answer certain, more abstract questions, like some Why questions.

I wouldn’t have known that playing with food is a natural stage of development, and might have discouraged messy play entirely. Though, I admit, it still wasn’t my favorite.

It sounds strange, but I wouldn’t have paid as much attention to the fact that adults are models for their kids, and that adults shouldn’t do things they don’t want their kids to emulate. Or that kids sense tension and stress in their parents.

I’d probably have a lot less patience with the whole toileting ordeal. We’ve been dealing with poop in this household for years, and years, and years…

I doubt I will go back to teaching now that I’m out of it, but I still consider it to have been valuable. If it has helped me be a better parent, then that all by itself made it worthwhile.

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