28 things I would tell my younger (mother) self
On this Mother’s Day, I took some time to reflect over all I’ve learned in 30+ years. My children are grown now and there is no question, their presence in my life has shaped the woman I am today. Below are 28 things I wish I had known at the beginning of my parenting journey. Perhaps something in my experience will resonate and help you on yours. Happy Mother’s Day!
1. You will grow into your own unique way of being a mother. You won’t have it all figured out at the beginning. Don’t worry, you will find your way.
2. You will make mistakes. Be gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can. Ask for forgiveness when you need to. Learn the lessons you need to and move on.
3. Your best is good enough. Your best will change as you learn and grow.
4. Your greatest gift to your children is them knowing you love them fiercely and without conditions.
5. Your children will grow up faster than you imagine. Let them be babies and kids for as long as possible.
6. You will never regret time spent cuddling, gazing at, playing with, and comforting your babies.
7. Your responsibilities will feel crushing at times. Focus your energy wisely.
8. Two things can be true at the same time: you can adore your babies and need a break from caring for them sometimes.
9. Don’t compare yourself to other moms and don’t compare your babies to other babies.
10. You must do what is best for you and your family and allow others to do the same without judgement.
11. Expectations. It’s okay to have expectations of yourself, of your partner, of your baby. But make sure they are reasonable and let go of what is not.
12. Being comfortable with “good enough” means you are living what is possible. Don’t create stress and unhappiness in your life with your pursuit of “perfect”.
13. Some days you will be full of energy and others you will not. It’s ok to make things easy on the days that you are not. In fact, it’s crucial that you do.
14. The image you had in your mind about being a mother and the reality of it are going to be very different. Let it go, live in the now and be happy.
15. Nobody cares whether your house is spotless. And if they do, don’t invite them over.
16. As much as possible, experience moments from your child’s perspective.
17. Celebrate the changes in your body from pregnancy and breastfeeding. Look in your eyes and smile every time you see yourself in a mirror. You are amazing.
18. You are a mother, not a robot. You are going to feel joy, wonder, excitement, love and you are going to feel frustration, impatience, overwhelm and uncertainty. Stop feeling guilty for being a normal human.
19. Schedule time for yourself. A little bit every day and a lot at least once a year. This goes on the calendar and is non-negotiable. You are doing the hardest job in the world, vacations are necessary.
20. Give yourself credit for all the “trying” that you do. Though things may not always work, your continuous effort is the stuff of motherhood.
21. Sometimes what the situation needs is for you to do less, not more.
22. You will never be able to be everything for everyone. This is a fantasy that only makes you feel bad. Drop it.
23. You are going to long for simplicity in a messy and complicated world. What becomes part of your day and life are up to you. Be thoughtful about what you allow into your life.
24. Surround yourself with helpful people who love your kids. Find your tribe and they will share the joy and work of raising your family.
25. Every single day, take a few minutes to really look at your baby and marvel at what you made.
26. You are a good mother.
27. Your children are going to love you. As a person who has lost my mother, this lesson has been profound and came too late.
28. Your mom is giving you advice because she wants to connect with you over your shared motherhood roles. Not because she is trying to control you or criticize you or tell you what to do. Don’t dismiss or reject her. One day you will wish you she was here to talk with and hear what she had to say.