When I first became a mother, I panicked. It was the first time in life I had ever committed to something that I could never walk away from if the going got rough. It was the first time the buck really ever stopped with me. Really, anything else, if you really have to, you can walk away. This motherhood thing was different (insert the word fatherhood if you are a dad) and it freaked me out. On reflecting upon my initiation into motherhood, I thought of the things I wish someone had engrained in me in the beginning. I wrote these 10 things from my current self, the relaxed, well balanced, fully in control and always put together (ahem ahem) mother of 12 years and four amazing, compassionate, beautiful (now I’m not joking it’s really totally true) kids.
Notes to self:
1. You are doing the best you can. Assume the same in everyone else. There may be a few mothers out there who don’t care about their children, I am told, but I have yet to meet one. They are the exception. Most mothers love their children and are doing the best they can with what they have. Don’t judge them or yourself. If you feel like you could do more, do more. If you feel like you can’t, don’t.
2. You are the only mother your children will ever have. If they need someone to make clear boundaries, set standards, draw a line, make a hard decision, fight a battle, it is your job. No one else can tell you when it is time to do this and when it is time to let it go. You are their only mother who would kill or die for these people without any hesitation, and who really knows them well enough to be equipped to make that decision. You are the only one with the power to always and without fail, have their best interest in mind. Do not let anyone ever tell you what is right for your children. Collect info, research, get support where you need it, and make decisions based on what is right for you and your family and no one else ever.
3. It will never be enough. It’s ok. You are their mother, you are not Gd. You can not make the world a different place than what it is. You can however do your best to prepare your children for the world that you brought them into. Heartbreaking, but true.
4. Change is constant. Do what is right for you and your family now, and don’t be afraid to change it up. Each child is different, every stage is different, you as a mother have learned and grown. It is good.
5. Being a martyr does not make you a good mother. An exhausted, out of shape, poorly fed, unhappy mother, teaches children that model. The only way to teach your children to be energetic, healthy, nourished, and happy, is to be those things for yourself first.
6. Your kids know you. Do not underestimate them. Maintain your integrity, and be honest with them. Apologize, and grow. They love you. They will forgive you.
7. Give them responsibility as soon as they are capable. You are their teacher, not their slave. The best way is to teach it is to do it together until they can take over.
8. Their siblings are your gift to them. Long after you are gone, they will have each other. Help them love each other. Teach them forgiveness and compassion for one another, not by telling, but by showing. Don’t feel guilty when you don’t have all the time you wish you had for each individual. After all, they have each other too, because you did that for them.
9. Remember how hard it is to be a kid. Tell them about it.
10. Show your family that you appreciate and are grateful for them. More important than what diapers you use, what baby carrier you wear, how many years you breastfeed exclusively, how many beds you fit in the bedroom, what grass fed organic butter you use on your sprouted gluten free dehydrated omega 3 probiotic crackers, what education system you choose, what religion and spiritual path you ascribe to, is to smile at each other and be grateful for every moment.
Thank you, self. I will keep that in mind.
Be Well, – Ora