You can’t choose your family the way you choose your friends. So the idea is just to make the most of what you have. This is a very valuable lesson which we could probably apply to other areas of our life, but usually we have options. With family, there is no other option. They are our family. Even if we don’t like them, don’t know them or no longer have them around –they exist and they play a very significant part in who we are as individuals and also what we go through in life.

I can’t count the amount of people who advised me “you don’t fully appreciate your parents until you become one yourself” or “you’ll understand where your parents were coming from when you have children of your own” TRUE and TRUE! Like all advice though, I didn’t really hear the words until they became my reality, then I was like “ohh, that’s what they meant—they were right!”

So whether you have a big family or an only child, whether you’re a new Mum or have kids that’ve grown up too fast. Whether you’re a stay at home mum or balancing a career and your family, even if you are just considering starting a family, you’ll agree that operating a family is the most CHALLENGING, LIFE CHANGING, TIME-CONSUMING yet REWARDING job you will ever experience! That’s pretty powerful. And so very common. Everyone is doing it.

Are they doing it well? Who knows? Who cares? If you can just do it, that is enough, that is life.

I don’t want to come across as implying that starting a family is so dreaded and horrible and hard that you shouldn’t do it. The rewards far outweigh the challenges.

As a parent (relatively new and inexperienced) I’ve discovered that we want to give our kids EVERYTHING! All the material things they desire, all the love and wisdom in the world. This is not at all possible (not in this lifetime anyway!) So there is a fine line we need to draw to ensure our kids hold values, respect and dignity. (THIS is why my mum was so strict/mean/unreasonable when I was 15!! . . . now I get it!)

Everyone has problems; everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. I’ve learnt we need challenges to teach us lessons. If we remain willing to learn, and attempt to work through these problems we can add meaning to our lives – we’ll always have room to grow. However, if we choose NOT to learn from our mistakes (or others mistakes) and fall victim to our circumstances –then we will remain stuck with the pain and heartache that each problem brings. There’s no point in laying blame on your family.

We can’t compare ourselves to others, although we ALL do it! ALL families are different, in so many ways. Families aren’t stupid – they’re generally just misunderstood. NO family is perfect. Someone else’s family may have values you wish you had, or possessions you wish you had, or experiences or circumstances –you wish YOU had. But did you ever think that people can see your values too? Did you even know you HAD values? There is soooo much we can take from our family that impacts which direction we’re headed or even where we stand. Everything about us –physical, psychological, even spiritual is derived from family. There are things we don’t like (about ourselves, about our partner, about our parents, about our children, about our siblings) but again, nobody is perfect. It is all necessary.  The key is to recognise everybody’s’ strengths and try to take something from that. Overcome weaknesses by working on improving these areas. Take a real look at the blessings you’ve been dealt and start to make the most of what you do have. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities presenting themselves as you really open up and understand your FAMILY STRENGTHS.

You might even begin to really like your family….. you might even want to “thank” them for being them!

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