With Mother’s Day coming up I was kind of reminiscing this week at how fast my kids are growing up and how much they are changing every day….and then I started thinking about things I have learned through being a mother. My writing isn’t spectacular but these lessons have been super important to me.
- Kids are messy….so don’t stress the spilled milk (or the 25 lb. bag of flour). When my oldest was about 2 and one day while I was taking a shower (which is always a recipe for disaster) I came out to find that he had ripped open a 25 lb bag of flour that I had bought the day before and was busy dumping the whole thing out with his hands. By the time I got there the flour was EVERYWHERE, and he was as white as a sheet basically swimming in it…..all the while laughing and giggling. And it made me laugh, so hard that tears were streaming down my face. I even got the camera out but the pictures don’t do the situation justice. I think that experience taught me that it’s okay when messy things happen, and it’s not worth getting mad over…..just get out the camera 😉
- Sometimes the mundane tasks of motherhood are good for my soul. This lesson was learned from a seasoned mother who taught me to see the good in the mundane.
- Patience versus understanding. This lesson is one that I learned when I was an early mother and taking graduate classes in Early Childhood Education. As part of a class we were required to read a book about teaching young children and one of the main focuses was how the two terms “patience” and “understanding” were so different. And it changed me. Patience, I learned, is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Was it really patience that we wanted as parents? Or was it something else? And then I learned about the definition of understanding–to be sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings; tolerant and forgiving and better yet the second definition–having insight or good judgment. THAT is what I wanted as a mother…..I wanted to “understand” my children and not just be long-suffering. It was a process but I began to ask myself a lot of “why questions”—such as why is my 2 year old having a meltdown, is she hungry, tired or scared? And then I could change how I would respond to the situation with that understanding. It took years of practice, but I think it made me a better mother.
- Laughing is better than crying. I love this quote…and try to live by it. “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” ― Marjorie Pay Hinckley
- I can’t fix everything and that’s okay. When my kiddos were littler, I found that every time someone fell down and scraped a knee, that I could put a bandaid on their cut or bump….and cuddle them up on my lap to help them feel better. But as they have gotten older I have realized that I can’t always fix their problems. I have to let them fail, I have to let them cry and all I can do is reassure them that it’s eventually going to be okay. It’s a hard part of motherhood…but a learning one. This has especially been true going into the teenage years.
- Do something everyday that can’t be undone. Yours may not be sewing, but you can definitely find something in life that fills your soul–read a book, go on a walk, but my reminder is that I have to do something everyday to take care of myself.
- You love those you serve. We have lately delved into the world of foster care. And boy oh boy I could write about 50 posts on things that I have learned from being a foster mother. But, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is that you love those that you serve. And when I have a kiddo that is particularly hard to love that day, I try to find a special way to serve that child. I find that my heart softens and the understanding and compassion for their circumstance fills me with the added love and then the strength comes.
- Life doesn’t have to be perfect. Appreciate what you have right now…..messy house, kids who are happy and playing. Piles of laundry? Me too. Every time I see a new scratch on the wall or a new smudge on a freshly painted surface I try to remind myself that I have happy and healthy kids—and that’s all that matters. The other things in life really don’t matter….but our family relationships do, so that’s what I try to focus on.
What lessons have you learned from being a mother?