I try not to be “one of those moms,” but I suppose the moment you start to think that, perhaps that’s just what you’ve become. This is my story.

I was out shopping at a local, popular, one-stop store where you can get everything from groceries to clothing to over-priced coffee to must-have bargains in bins that greet you upon entering. I love this store. I love to shop there and typically I love the clothing for my little girls. On one shopping trip, I was perusing the clothes when I came across this cute little top that read “future role model” on it.I

I smiled to myself upon seeing it, and then for some reason, it stuck with me. Why “future”?  Why not now? This shirt began to bother me on so many levels. While it’s great that we would want our children to be role models in the future (of course I do), why is that something for the future only?

Then I came to the conclusion: it’s not. We should be teaching our children to be role models now for their peers and all other humans in the world. Really, as I thought more and more, I’d say most kids are looked up to just by being, well, themselves. How many times have I caught myself in awe of something my kids have done or said?

So amidst all the craziness that is mom-life, here are five ways that my kids are my role models and exactly the kind of people I’d like to be when I grow up.

1 | The ability to call out others for wrongdoing

So far this relates more to my eldest than my younger, but I am sure that it’s coming. My oldest seems to have no fear of calling either my husband or me out when she feels that we have wronged her, or even when she feels that one of us has wronged each other.

For example, if my husband and I have a heated discussion in front of the kids (judge away), little ears are listening. Afterwards, she has been known to tell her father or myself that we shouldn’t talk a certain way or say a certain thing. (No, I’m not necessarily talking about cussing or anything like that. Even the tone we use can cause her to correct our behavior.)

While I’m not a fan of her correcting either of her parents, there is something to be said about her ability to recognize adults acting inappropriately and having no qualms or hesitations about setting that behavior right (or at least attempting to). I do hope that she is always as fearless in her fight for what she feels is wrong in this world, and will stand up to people who don’t treat others with respect.

2 | The ability to be awestruck by the simple beauty of life

“Mom, look at the beautiful pinks and blues and whites in the sky!”

“Mom, look at that rainbow!”

“Mom, is that a bird nest?”

“Mom, can you smell those flowers?”

Every new sight, smell, or sensation is miraculous to them, and through their eyes becomes miraculous to me as well. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by life that, as adults, we forget sometimes how much awesome surrounds us on a daily basis. An observant toddler is just the ticket for rediscovering the world around you.

3 | Endless energy

I’m not sure how much explanation this needs but, in case you are unaware, kids have a shit load of energy to burn at all times. I admire this fire power and wish I could siphon off a little for myself but, alas, just watching them sometimes sucks it right out of me.

4 | A never-ending fountain of creativity

My daughters, like many other kids, are incredibly inventive. They will sit at the table and go back and forth making up stories, jokes, songs, you name it. They love to paint, draw, and color with any medium I will allow them. They pretend to be characters from shows, books, and movies they’ve seen and re-enact parts, create new twists, and intermix plots to their little hearts’ desires. They never run out of ideas, and their imagination and creative abilities are completely astounding.

5 | They are sponges for learning

Learning takes time, yet for my kids, it seems like they soak up the world around them and are able to spit incredible amounts of learned information right back out at me. Sometimes the information is things I wanted them to learn, and other times they catch me completely off guard.

For example, while sitting at the kitchen table and coloring one night, my eldest and I were going over aspects of the alphabet, like what letter started our last name or something like that. Out of the blue, my youngest softly spelled, “W-O-O-D.” I whipped my head around to get her to repeat it, but her shyness and reluctance kicked in, along with a big ol’ grin because she knew she’d retained and correctly used some pretty impressive information. She was only two and a half at the time, and had most likely heard me teaching her sister to spell and had picked it up at the same time. This kind of miraculous-learning moment seems to happen all the time with my kids, and their abilities to do so reinforces why I look up to them

A role model is someone who has admirable features, someone you wish you could be like “when you grow up.” Honestly, when looking at the characteristics and abilities of my own children, there are no other two people I’d want to emulate more. Do they have it all figured out yet? Of course not. They’re toddlers. Do I want to take after them in all aspects? Hell, no. They still like to touch gross things and do some crazy shit but, all in all, they are two awesome little people with some amazing qualities that are totally admirable.