When you think about Mother’s Day, what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? My goal for penning a special blog for Mother’s Day is, of course, to show gratitude and appreciation to the mothers in our lives and to all of you who are celebrating Mother’s Day. At the same time, I’m asking that we also show love and compassion to those people who for one reason or another are not able to celebrate with their mothers or who long to be a mother.
With that in mind, I think that Mother’s Day is an incredible opportunity to think about our mothers and be grateful for the positive things they taught us. We can also be grateful for the less positive things that have taught us various life skills, such as resiliency and perhaps even things that have provided us with an opportunity to learn what it is that we do not want to repeat with our own children.
When I was a teenager and going through my own challenges, my mother used to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to understand what she was going through until I was a mom.
I will never forget the few seconds after giving birth to my first daughter when the doctor gently placed her on my chest. I remember realizing that this sweet, little, precious child was mine and my life would never be the same. It was a very special moment and at the same time very scary.
Now, 17 years later I am wondering how almost everything these days comes with a manual, but not parenting. We, as mothers, do not get any instructions for our children. How do you think you'd be as a mom if you were able to get a book with very simple instructions and maybe some suggestions that could help and guide you through motherhood? This concept might sound groundbreaking and maybe crazy to some of you, but I think that most of us would appreciate having a manual that could help us and empower us to become a better version of ourselves so that we could be a better mother for our children.
The truth is, a manual will never exist, but I do think sharing from our experiences can help others. So, in honor of Mother's Day, here are five things I wish I knew prior to becoming a mom.
1. You are doing the best you can with what you know.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to be a mom. Prior to my first daughter's birth, I read so many different books about parenting and ways to help with the baby and I listened to so many people and was offered so much advice. At the end of the day, although it was a wonderful and enriching experience to read and learn about so many different ways to parent and raise a child, I think that we must be realistic and realize that there isn’t a wrong or right way. The most important thing is to find your own way that works best for you, regarding sleeping, feeding, education, and everything else.
This example might be outdated, but when I had my daughter, Baby Einstein was all the rage. I remember reading so many different articles that said that classical music is extremely beneficial for brain development so, of course, I bought all the CDs and made sure classical music was playing throughout the day. Later on, several different studies were released that stated that too much stimulation is not beneficial for babies. My point in saying this is that there isn't ONE way to parent. Information is constantly changing and the best thing to do is find your own special way and make sure that you are comfortable with whatever it is. Most importantly, make sure that you are attuned with your child and that whatever it is you’re doing is right for you, your child, and your family.
2. Reflect on your relationship with your mother.
Is there anything that you can think of that you are doing in your relationship with your child that you can relate to your relationship with your mom? Is this something that you liked and appreciated as a child? If not, I would encourage you to think about it and perhaps take action to change whatever it is you’re doing.
This can be challenging, but it's very important because if you can think about your relationship with your mom and what you liked and what you liked less about it, you might gain important insight into ways you can improve your own relationship with your children. Let’s take for example my mother, who I love dearly. To her, getting married and having kids was of the utmost importance, so she never encouraged me to pursue my education or have goals as I was growing up beyond becoming a mother. Therefore, this is something that is extremely important to me and I encourage my kids to do whatever it is they are passionate about and not allow anything to stop them from pursuing their dreams.
3. Invest in your relationship with your partner.
For me, being a mother was something that I wanted and dreamed of since I can remember, and having my first daughter and then second and third consumed my life. I invested most of my time and energy in raising my girls and becoming a better version of myself as a human being and as a mother. However, even prior to becoming a mother, I wish I worked more on issues in my relationship that