They say that the secret to having it all is believe that you do. I married the love of my life over 27 years ago and 26 years ago this July I joined the noble ranks of Motherhood. Being a mother was all I ever wanted to be, except for a few brief moments when I wanted to be a spy or a ballerina, but a mother was and always be my best and first choice.
So for Mother’s Day this year, I want to reveal my top 10 lessons I have learned from being a mother:
|Day when I learned that love is not pie. Birth of baby #2.|
|Being their mom is enough.|
- That love is not like pie. Some people think that love is like a pie, with only so many pieces to go around and until its gone. With each birth, I discovered that my love wasn’t divided – it was multiplied and expanded exponentially. My son when he was little liked to play a game with me…’I love you more than candy’ I would say. ‘I love you more than PIZZA!’ would come back his reply. Back and forth, trying to top each other over who loved who more. We would always finish our little game the same, ‘I love you until the end of numbers’ I would say as I snuggled him tight, and since we both agreed there was no topping that since numbers had no end, we would smile and enjoy the warm confidence that our love had none either.
- There will never be enough of you to go around and its okay. Doing your best like on day when you have to admit 2 sick kids to the hospital, and the one at home really needs you and your husband just lost his father and he needs you, and you have slept in days…uh- huh those days. It is soooo easy to beat yourself up as a mom on a normal day – but those really, really bad days you don’t have the luxury of feeling sorry for yourself or woe is me-ing. It is time to rally, it is time to draw the line in the sand and hold strong. There will be time to sleep, to crumble later. Do not worry everyone is not getting their fair share .right. this. minute. Remember motherhood is a marathon and not a sprint.
- This too shall pass. A bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life. A bad stage is just that – a stage. Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Continuing to show up, ready to try again is half the battle. Terrible twos, troubled teens, etc. will pass. The idea is to find joy in each stage and see the big picture. Don’t wish away today for the promise of tomorrow.
- A mother is only as a happy as her saddest child. Watching a child suffer, be in pain or struggle is the hardest thing I have ever had to bear. It takes tremendous courage to carry forward with faith, optimism and cheerfulness despite this pain. I marvel at women who I have known who have fought bravely on through: children with cancer, loss of a child, or betrayal of a spouse. Women who despite their own personal suffering manage to change a dismal situation by their love, their nurturing and their cheerful attitude. I am fortified by their example and try not let the pain swallow me – it is not an option.
- The days are long and the years are short. I was changing diapers for six years straight due to the timing of having our children. I remember thinking I would be changing diapers forever! If I could go back, I would suck the marrow out of each and every day. I would enjoy, relish and roll around in each day and just enjoy the moments – every stinking one of them. I miss those moments gone, but I am determined to not let another go by unnoticed, unsavored.
- Never Make a Promise You Can’t Keep. We will go to the movies later, you can go swimming on Saturday...those promises we make to just appease will shake your credibility and will come back to haunt you. Children have LONG memories, trust me! Think before you promise, hold your tongue when angry and do not make big decisions when you are tired.
- Take a break. A depleted mom has nothing to give. She is an empty well. Play, change your routine, nurture yourself. It is a gift to your children as much as it is a gift to yourself.
- You teach your children how to treat you. I trained my children from the time they were young that while it was okay to not like what I asked, or disagree with what I had to say, it was not okay to be rude or disrespectful to me. We are not a TV sitcom and it isn’t funny to slam your parents. I came up with the code phrase, Excuse Me? to let me know that they were heading into dangerous waters. Sometimes, it took 3 EXCUSE ME?s before, the light would go on and they would quickly rephrase their complaint. I believe it is my duty to my daughters to teach that they are not a doormat and not accept abuse from others in any form, and a duty to my son be shown how to respect and treat women. Respect is earned and respect is expected. I try always to be worthy of my children’s respect and to give respect for their wishes in return.
- Pay attention and being at the crossroads. Children need their mom to be paying attention to the redflags they are silently throwing on the field. They need you to be there when they come home from school, get home from a date or on the phone when their lives erupts into chaos. Being their soft place to land, their strong foundation to stand when they are shaky is worth everything. They don’t need just quality time – they need time. Paying attention takes work. Being there requires sacrifice. Time, attention and being there are all sacrifices that pay big dividends. No sacrifice is too small or too great.
- No success can compensate for failure in the home. Family and motherhood are choices you have to make everyday. Some days I do better than others. But at the end of the day nothing else matters to me than being the best wife and mother I can be. I know I will be successful in my life if my family knows how very much they are loved and cherished.