Tomorrow, my son turns seventeen. I can still remember how in love I felt the first time my eyes locked with his seventeen years ago.
I had no idea all the emotions that would flood my heart over the next years: feelings of inadequacy and the need to do it all right. Feelings of disappointment and exhaustion as well as excitement, joy and deep pride in who he was becoming.
Motherhood is the most rewarding job and the hardest job all at the same time.
What would I say to my younger self if I could go back in time and share some of my life experience with her now? Below are four truths that I wished I had learned at the beginning of motherhood.
1. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is empathy.
Deep connection happens when you feel both heard and understood. Listening and understanding their emotions is a priceless gift that I wish I had learned early on in my motherhood. I remember when my second son was born and my first born would act out when I was nursing the baby. I wish I could go back in time and say to him, “I know it is hard to have to share your time with mommy now. I also miss our special one on one time together.” Instead of getting angry with him for misbehaving, I so wish I had given him this gift of understanding. Try putting yourself in their shoes as you listen and understand what they are going through.
2. Let go of perfect.
No one has a perfect life. As you are grasping for this ideal life you built up in your head, just remember everyone has their own struggles. There are no perfect moms or perfect kids. Give each other lots of grace. Let go of needing it perfect and just enjoy each moment with your loved ones.
3. Give up comparisons.
During motherhood, you will be so tempted to compare: compare yourself as a mom and compare your kids. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. It will leave you either feeling horrible about yourself because you will not measure up, or you will become prideful because you think you are doing it better. Either way, it is a lose-lose situation. Instead focus on how God made you unique and how He gifted each of your kids.
4. Be Intentional!
Be intentional with your time and words. I know the days are long, but the years are short. Time truly goes by so fast. Guard your time with them and show them how important they are to you with your words and actions. Laugh together, play games, and go on adventures. Savor your time with them. Get into their world and let them know that they are a priority in your life.
Before you know it, your child will turn 17 and you will only have one year left with him at home. Friends, this is my motherly advice to both you and me.
- Remember the gift of empathy and be your child’s greatest listener!
- Let go of ideal and perfect and in its place give lots of grace.
- Don’t compare but instead share with your child what makes them special and unique.
- Use your time to spell love and be intentional with your kids.
Praying for you and cheering you on in your special role as mom!