My family and I had an awe-inspiring opportunity to experience a South African safari this month. The animal kingdom is gruesome, inspiring, incredible, frightening and fabulous all at once! With a 14-year old and a 5-year old, my husband and I did not know what to expect, but it was an incredible bonding adventure for all of us. It was also an opportunity to learn some great parenting lessons.
As a mom, I couldn’t help but fixate upon Mother Nature’s babies. Whether it was a baby elephant, zebra, or giraffe, we ooh’ed and ah’ed over each one, grateful that the parents of these furry families allowed us to bear witness to their tiny creatures.
After a while, I realized that animal moms and I actually have much in common, so I compiled a list of my favorite six observations:
1. Whether you have two or four legs or paws, it takes a village to raise kids.
2. Parents are sleep deprived!
Moms have a lot in common with giraffes and elephants… None of us get much sleep. Giraffes and elephantscan get by on just two hours of sleep a day (these minutes can be split up into smaller chunks). Sometimes the elephant matriarch can go without sleep for several days!
3. It’s important to keep your loved ones close.
All the baby animals stayed close to their mamas.
4. My children hear like leopards.
Their hearing is supersonic, especially if a whispered discussion behind a closed door is about them. Leopards’ ears are five times more powerful than human ears.
5. Lions are like my teenage daughter.
They both can sleep the day away. Lions rest for approximately 20 hours a day. My daughter is working up to that.
6. All parents need some alone time.
So, whether you’re an elephant walking with your calf between your legs to keep it safe, or a human with your baby snuggled close in an Ergobaby, some parenting lessons are universal:
- It takes a village. Use your resources.
- You won’t get much sleep till they’ve flown the coop – accept it.
- Hold your kids close.
- Watch what you say- they’re listening.
- Respect your teen’s need for sleep.
- Refresh: schedule time for you.