Motherhood. One word that encompasses so much that there is no beginning and no end. Every stage brings more complex feelings, reactions and resolutions. It can be overwhelming at times. Nothing prepares you for it. It is trial by fire. You can already picture them sitting in a psychologist’s office blaming you for everything. They are only four years old. Is it scary? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Would you take a bullet for them? Yes. Do you love being a mother? Yes! Yes! Yes! Therefore, there is no escaping. You are in it for life. The challenge is not losing your mind.
My children are now 19 and 22 years old. They seem to be doing relatively fine (graduated, never went to jail, paying their bills) so I guess I did a few things right. Here are my tips for upcoming new mothers and those right smack in the middle of motherhood.
1. The protection of your children is vital. Safety trumps everything. The world is full of dangers. It is OK to worry, which you will…every day, all the time, forever. Accept it.
2. Your children derive more lessons from you saying no than saying yes. Stop feeling guilty for not giving them everything they want.
3. Sometimes effective communication doesn’t require words. It helped me many times in public situations and prevented arguments.
4. This will be your daily struggle.
5. Your children are a reflection of your parenting. Some of that is true and some is not. The hard part is deciphering which is and which isn’t.
6. It is hard to change the patterns in your parenting. Don’t deny them, we all have them.
7. All mothers need good back up…
8. ..and a good response to fall back on.
9. Self-care, self-care, self-care.
10. There is no clear to road map to raising good, responsible happy kids. Don’t beat yourself up.
Now again I enter a new stage of motherhood – parenting adult children. Although my freedom has increased and the workload has decreased it isn’t any easier. It mostly entails trying to sit back and keep my mouth shut as they make dumb decisions. Some days it’s like watching an oncoming train wreck. I try to distract myself by learning new things.
I will tell you in ten years how that goes.