What is the saying … the days go by slow, but the years go by fast. That’s never more true than it is as it relates to motherhood. One minute I was kissing their boo boos … and the next I’m basking in the joy of being a three-time grandmother.
When I stopped writing regular blogs here, it was because I thought I’d said all I had to say … and I didn’t want to just keep repeating myself. But, as this Mother’s Day approached, I have been thinking a lot about motherhood – the lessons I learned from my own journey, as well as those I’m learning watching my own children become parents – and so many times I’ve thought about the things I discussed and shared in this blog.
So, with full knowledge that I’m repeating myself, I thought I’d look back and pull forward some of the thoughts and ideas I shared here regarding motherhood (and life in general) – because while so much has changed, these things remain true – true for us and for our kids.
- Parenting, like life, is a journey. And it’s often hard. Looking back I often think “how did we do that?” But I can see now that it’s an endless series of letting go, and that the adapting and changing with the tides of parenting can be one of the toughest parts of this job. But making it to the other side is all about handling today … dealing with the moment at hand.
- Time and attention – those are two of the most important things we can give our kids. Life can be crazy and it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, but none of that is as important as being there for our kids. Even now, as my kids are fully grown and navigating their own lives, I still reach out and check in on them. And I make it a point to really listen to them. Technology makes this easy, but nothing beats a real call or visit.
- Letting go with arms wide open. Sometimes it is so hard to just let your kids do it on their own. Whatever it is — from forgotten homework (that we rush over) to endless advice — we want to protect our kids and prevent them from suffering in any way. But I have learned that the better move is to say “I have faith YOU will figure it out.” We can’t (or at least I think we shouldn’t) make things happen for them. They have to stand on their own two feet, make choices for themselves, and yes, sometimes face the consequences. From my experience, that is how they grow.
- Face your issues head on. Difficult conversations or confrontations are never easy, but the aftermath is so worth the short-term discomfort. If you have a conflict or issue, address it. Whether it’s a romantic relationship, a family member, a friend or a co-worker, if you approach your relationships with openness and respect, they’ll be better and strong in the long run.
- Don’t waste your time in the negative space. I’ve never understood why someone would waste their time thinking, talking or acting in negative ways. It’s always baffled me why someone would choose to spend their time putting that out into the atmosphere. It’s unhealthy and unproductive, so move through it quickly and find the good in life. That’s always a better place to be.
- No gossip. The gossip mill is toxic and I have always refused to be a part of it. As my grandmother always said, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. This is something I worked hard to pass on to my children, and instead encouraged them to work on their own behavior … to set the tone. Because the things we say (or post on Twitter and Instagram) matter. We should all focus on lifting each other up, not dragging each other down.
- It’s your life and it’s in your hands – This is a belief I’ve emphasized with my kids again and again. Our life is our script to write and no one else can cause you to fail, falter or abide by their wishes – unless you allow it. Sure, things happen in life, but when you blame others for those situations, you sign off the rights to your life and empower someone else to rule your life. You become the victim.
- Live in the Moment – Grab life and live every moment, in the moment. Because this is it, our one shot – and we can’t waste a moment. We can’t predict the future, and we certainly can’t change the past … we can only strive to do and live better.
- Reinvention – Get up, get out and get going. I believe in continuous reinvention, and that it’s never too late to do whatever it is that you’ve dreamed of doing. Sure, it’s scary, but I promise that rewards will be so very sweet!
- Always be kind! It’s just that simple. Be kind to yourself, to your kids and to those around you. Because kindness is contagious, and a little kindness can go a long way in making the world a better place.