I’ve only been a mother for less than 11 years, but I have been shaped and molded by some of the best around.
At 40+ years old, I can still boast THREE Grandmas that have all been a huge factor in my life.
I have my Mom – my hero.
And, I am friends with some of the best Moms in the business.
Not to mention – I parent a pretty darn smart 10-year-old – who has shared many life lessons with me.
So in honor of Mother’s Day – a most unusual one for me – I thought I’d try to reflect on some things I’ve been taught, and some things I’ve learned all by myself.
1. Motherhood is messy. Despite the best laid plans, no matter how your child, or children have been brought into this world it is a messy job. Things don’t go according to plan. Ever. So stop planning and stick your fingers in the mess of it all. Heck – jump right in and play. Your kids will remember your smile more than your polished table, organized closet or streak free windows. (I’m still working on that one!)
2. Motherhood is exhausting. Just when you think you have it – something will throw you into a new stratosphere. You will be tired for the rest of your natural life. Eat as well as you can. Take care of yourself. Try to give up caffeine. Splurge on under eye concealer. Then get in the car and head to swim practice, doctor’s appointments, shopping, therapy. While you are in the car – TALK. Children in the car are a captive audience. You can have some of your most important conversations there. Plus – it’s illegal to text and drive.
3. Motherhood is different for everyone. Comparisons are just not a good idea. As a matter of fact – make a habit of NOT comparing. There is no need to justify having one child, or claim you’re more exhausted with three. Each one, however the child became yours is a gift to be cherished. They are not potato chips, and having one doesn’t make it “easy” any more than having 3 or 4 makes it “hard.” Avoid telling anyone how much tougher it is to have a boy, or a girl. Avoid generalizing and making excuses. Just love your child.
4. Motherhood involves paying attention. Stop texting. Put down your cell phone. LISTEN to them. TALK to them. You may be very impressed by what they have to say if you get to know them.
5. Children are unique. Let them learn early to embrace their individuality. Create an atmosphere of unconditional love. Build their confidence, and keep them grounded enough not to become arrogant. Develop gracious losers, and equally gracious winners.
6. Motherhood is like being on stage. All day. All the time. And they watch EVERY thing you do. If you wonder how they learned that habit – good or bad – look at yourself. They want to be just like you. And chances are good they will. BE someone you want them to be.
7. Motherhood involves worry in a way you’ve never ever thought of before. That little heart beating outside of your body – no matter how old they become – will always and forever be more important than your own. You will worry about sniffles, and scraped knees, and heartache, and doctor’s appointments, and surgery, and pain, and healing. You will worry about doing too much, and doing too little.
8. No matter what you do, and how hard you try, you’ll never have it quite right. So always do the best you can with what you have where you are. That way you can rest your head peacefully every night.
9. Teach compassion. They won’t learn it unless you do. Teach them that “everyone has something.” No matter where you go or what you do or who you meet each day – EVERYONE is struggling with something. Whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, financial, greet every person with the knowledge they are bearing a burden. Try to frame all of your interactions with everyone around that knowledge.
10. Motherhood involves NEVER GIVING UP! Tenacity like you never imagined is necessary to do it well. When they are down and out and done, look at them and reassure them. Hold them. Support them. Forgive them. Love them with all your heart. The returns you get on the best investment of your life are immeasurable.
So as we sit tonight in the hospital, waiting, wondering, and worrying – we are still thankful. We have so many blessings in our lives.
Take a look at some of the women who helped make me who I am today – and enjoy what’s left of your Mother’s Day.
HAPPY MOTHER”S DAY TO ALL!!