Every morning when I see these precious faces, I feel like they grow and change literally overnight. IT'S INSANE! To everyone who told me this after they were born and still do to this day... you were right! It goes way too fast.
1. It goes by fast. Seriously, one moment you're holding them for the first time ever and the next they are starting Kindergarten. I could cry just thinking about it. Choose time wisely, as their years aren't refunded. Any game, play, school dance, accomplishment, missed tooth can not be relived. My kid's favorite thing to do is "cuddle-up". When they say this, I know they just need mom and that nurturing, uninterrupted time. I wouldn't trade this intimate moment with them for anything. Even when they are older, married and with kids. They will still cuddle-up with me. When you can, choose them. Always.
2. No such thing as perfect parents or kids. But - I am the perfect mother for my children. God created me specifically and uniquely for them. Once you know and can accept that, you will be much more confident. Not every house will run like yours and that's okay. Don't be the mom that keeps score. Instead, cheer yourself on in the way you were made as well as other moms.
3. Manners matter. Teach it, be it. Please, thank you, I’m sorry, excuse me, and please and thank you (yup, again!) How we use manners and how we treat people go hand in hand. Let's make sure we aren't missing the opportunity to teach this while they are young. This is also goes for us Moms too. A simple word of kindness can go along way, especially as they grow and learn to live with others in all stages of life.
4. It's okay to ask for help. I know this is super hard. As moms. we want to be the Super Mom and be able to do it all. Hard to break it to you sister, you can't and that's okay! That doesn't mean you aren't capable or that you should feel defeated. We were not mean't to do this thing called life alone, so just ask for others to be a part of it. Asking for help isn't a weakness but a strength of knowing your limits, so you don't end up worn out and wiped out.
5. Celebrate often. Life has it's own way of throwing curve balls and hard times. Even the smallest of celebration can go a long way with their little hearts, as can big celebrations for big accomplishments. Saturday morning trips to Dunkin' Donuts can do wonders when they have a solid week at school. Don't get caught up with what isn't going great and remember what is going great.
6. Eating and sleeping can make or break your WHOLE day. Every mother knows, when their kids are hungry or tired, they don't even know who's child that is. A good food plan will set your children up for great physical health and a set sleeping schedule will allow consistent stillness and comfort. The moments of chaos, crying, nonsense drama, yelling and fighting can be avoided with good foods and routine sleeping. This goes for us Moms too! Have you gone a day without much needed rest or meals?
7. Have a support system. Motherhood can be lonely if you don't have a good tribe around you. I seriously pray for this all the time. I have girlfriends that are along for the journey but if you haven't found one yet, seriously pray for one. Therapy sessions and bills can be completely avoided just by being with your friends. The ones who really know you, watch out for you, celebrate you and cry with you when you don't succeed. The friends who show up, who really pray for you (and don't just say they do), believe in you, laugh with you and at you, stay up late for you, watch your kids for you, text you, call you, meet you at the hospital, or wait for you in the parking lot. Whatever happens in your life, chances are you have a solid group you’ve invested in during this journey and are a part of your life in some way. So give your heart away to a few gals who will give theirs back to you.
8. Take a break. Give yourself time to step out of the role as mom. Mothering until you have nothing left to give or only having negativity energy to give, wont be good for anyone involved. Give yourself space to breath and fill your tank. Go out for a pedicure, coffee at Starbucks, hike in the woods, a good run, dinner with a friend, or whatever your little heart needs. Then you can step back into it with your game face on!
9. Be consistent. The hardest thing for kids is not knowing whats happening on a day to day basis. It's put them on edge with uncertainty which can turn into bad moods, drama, crying, and what mom wants that? Sure some cases are completely unavoidable. For the most part, it is our job to keep their little hearts at ease and to enjoy childhood. Whether it's their sleeping, eating, seeing family members, church, etc. Set a schedule or have a calendar to help them stay in a routine.
10. Pray often and when you can't...ask a friend or family member to pay for you. Anything related to your children needs prayer. From conquering fear to worry, stress, insecurities to accomplishments in school, good grades, graduating college to marriage and children. The time you spend in prayer, sets your heart up with the right tools to handle any situation. You, yourself may not have all the answers but when we pray we show up for Him. Doing things His way works out better for our good then our own anyway.
11. Unconditional love. Does this really need an explanation? Love for your child or children happens before you see their face for the first time. It's an unbreakable bond, even if your current circumstance doesn't allow you to see that face everyday. But the way a child learns to love and their interpretation of what love looks like is something I strive for in my own personal life. Even in the toughest, darkest of seasons, a child's heart can still stand pure and bright as if hurt or pain never occurred. With that being said, I have noticed more in the past two years, my children watch and see EVERYTHING I do, especially the ways of my heart. Whether I'm in those seasons of toughness or difficulty just as much as the seasons of easy and simplicity, the way I choose to love others, regardless of circumstance, sets a precedence for them.
All these lessons I’ve learned came painfully for me and still do. I'm still learning and will continue to learn as long as I need to for them. Sometimes the 5 year old gives me more run for my money than the 11 year old. Which is shocking since, Ciara is at that pre-teen age of thinking she's grown. (Someone send help - ha!) I’ve come a long way in 11 years and I’ve got a much longer way to go. In all the lessons and learning and letting go, God remains the only constant thing for us. Through the days of my children, He uses them as a tool to mold me more and more with every moment.
One decade down.
Deep breath...another decade to go.