I've learned a lot from my kids, mostly by trial and error, and managed to glean some wisdom over the years watching other moms. I've moved from parenting by friendship (if I'm nice they'll do what I say) to getting to be friends with those I parent (once they're in their 20's things ease up a bit.)
Sitting on my back step today, I took some time to reflect on this crazy journey of raising people. I decided that motherhood doesn't just grow up the kids, it grows up the parents, too. Here's ten things I've learned along the way...
1. Know what season of parenting you're in. Don't fight it. And, no season lasts forever.
2. Let them struggle. Don't rush in to solve all their problems because they will never gain the skills to solve them on their own. Coach and equip them, then give them the space to work things out.
3. Advocate for your child. Seems like the opposite of #2, but it's not. You are their voice at times; speak up for them when the need arises.
4. Don't pray that they never get into trouble...pray they get caught when they do. I learned this one from a friend when my kids got into trouble. If they don't get caught, you can't deal with it.
5. Now that you're the mom, act like it. Sounds harsh, but it's true. And if you have issues from your own childhood to deal with, deal with them. Don't let your past poison their future.
6. Love their father. I once heard Dr. Phil say that the greatest gift you can give your kids is parents who love each other. I was getting divorced at the time. I can say we've remained friends and did our best to raise the kids together, albeit separately. This time around I've made a concerted effort to be my husband's wife first, the kid's mom second. Let them see what a healthy marriage looks like. (I didn't say a perfect one. A healthy one.)
7. Get interested in what interests your child. It will give you opportunities to grow together. Let them know what interests you...they will see you as a whole person, at some point.
8. Apologize when you need to. You can't teach real grace, humility, and forgiveness if you need to be right all. the. time.
9. Live by your convictions. What is right for your family may not be right for someone else's. Don't expect other people to want to do things your way, and don't beat yourself up if someone else's ways don't fit your family. Recognize that we are all doing the best we can.
10. Give them room to be who they are.
We have the awesome privilege of walking beside someone as they figure out this thing called life. Celebrate the journey with them...the hard steps, the funny ones, the ones you wish would move faster, and the times that seem to fly by.
And to my kids...thanks for making me the mom I am...gray hairs, laugh lines, and all!
|Justin and Connor in front, Sophie (my granddaughter), Alex, Jessi (Sophie's mom),
and Mitchell in back. (2013)