It’s almost Mother’s Day and many around our nation are wondering what great Mother’s Day gift they should give and how to truly honor mom. If you’re a mother like me, you’re most likely not thinking about gifts and flowers, but considering your role, the good times and bad, and the blessings hearing the word “mommy” has brought to you. Motherhood is such a joyful and amazing experience, not without its ups and downs, but it has been the greatest job and accomplishment of my life. But, I think we can all agree that its not an easy job and you deserve more than 1 day devoted to how hard you work at blessing and caring for your children! Though it’s easy to get wrapped up in the cards and flowers or in your to do list (the constant nose wiping, reminding, counseling, helping, and on and on), it’s important to spend one day reflecting on your role as a mother; what you are proud of and where you’d like to grow.
As my gift to you this Mother’s Day, I want to share with you what I wish I had known as a young mother. As I look to the reality of my oldest child heading off to college and a home filled with nothing but teens, I am beginning to look back and realize that there are many things I would do differently now that I am at this new stage of motherhood. This post is for those moms who, like me, are facing an empty nest and for those whose hands are constantly full of little ones. It’s for every mother on this day that we reflect and celebrate us!
- I wish I would have known that someday I would miss those days when my little girl came downstairs in the middle of the night to climb into bed with us. Rather than thinking I needed to teach her independence by putting her back into her bed, I wish I would have pulled her into bed every time and treasured those moments to snuggle.
- I wish I would have known that my time with my kids was truly limited. I remember many moms telling me that time will fly and before I knew it the kids would be grown. But as a young mom with several little ones, I really could not imagine that possibility. Thankfully, homeschooling really gave me the opportunity to invest in my kids and stretch my time with them beyond the pre-school years. But from this side, as my daughter prepares to go off to college, I still wish I would have found more ways to spend time with her.
- I wish I would have known that spending time one on one on a regular basis would really build a special bond between my children and myself. A friend and fellow homeschool mom told me how she found a way to really invest in each of her 10 children and build that special bond. As the rest of the family headed out every Wednesday night to Pioneers or Brigades, she kept one child home with her for the entire year and just spent those few hours focused on him or her. That time was spent differently with each child depending on his or her interests, training needs, character, and passions. What incredible memories she was building with each of those kids!
- I wish I would have realized how huge of a resource my Mom was! I wish I would have asked her for advice even when I didn’t think I needed it.
- Laughter really is great medicine. I am so thankful that we found many ways to add laughter to our day. Kids love to laugh and they love to hear Mom laugh. Laughter, especially laughter from Mom, brightens everyone’s day. So find ways to create fun and laughter as often as you can.
- I wish I would have fully understood that children really do learn what they live (and not necessarily what they hear from me). I remember thinking that I didn’t want to overindulge my kids by doing things for them that they could do themselves. I thought I was keeping them from developing an entitlement mentality. Instead, they learned what they lived and will often refuse to help each other at home. But like the example we set, they are always willing to seek out opportunities to help or accommodate the needs and preferences of others. I am so proud of how they will go out of their way to bless others but often wish I would have set the same example for how we interact with one another at home.
- It is okay to leave food on the plate — even if they come down and get a snack later. Let’s face it, we are not always the best cooks and sometimes kids are just not hungry when we decide to feed them. So unless it is a constant habit, letting them choose not to eat at dinner time is okay. Just be certain to have some healthy snacks to feed them when they are ready to eat.
- I wish I would have continued to tuck them in every night all the way up to present day. If you are a Mom who turns this over to Dad every night, take it back every now and then. You will miss the days when they listen with rapt attention as you read the same book night after night. With Abby leaving soon, I have reintroduced this ritual to my day for all of my kids and those minutes right before bedtime are some of the best moments of the day.
- I wish I would have allowed for more messy play. Sometimes knowing that I would have to clean up later and the thought of feeling stray sand under my feet for days meant that we avoided the project altogether. Now I can’t help wondering if I squashed some creativity that was bursting at the seams to get out.
- Despite the many things I wish I would have known, I am glad that my husband set the tone to make family number one. We have so many memories of bike rides together, special dinners, playing soccer in the back yard, hiking, family trips, and lots of hugs and kisses. And we have some great memories of activities where we included their friends and as a result expanded our family beyond our walls.