This post was inspired by Karen Edmisten’s list.
Why twenty-six things? Our eldest turned 26 this summer…which brings me to the first thing I’ve learned about motherhood;
1. You know how the old geezers said that children grow up before you know it? They were right. Choose to spend as much time as you can with your children even if it means sacrificing.They need you.
2. Speaking of time, give yourself some of it as you plan your day. Hurrying and over-scheduling will steal your joy and make you resent your little dawdlers.
3. The psychologists, by and large, were wrong. Children are resilient. Don’t raise them like you’re treading on eggshells. Trust God, pray a lot, seek wisdom and be firm. Firm parents cause way less “damage” to children than worried, hand-wringing parents do.
4. Get down on their level every once in a while. Smell the play dough and dig in the sand. They’ll love it and you’ll remember what it’s like down there.
5. Be a loyal parent. Don’t complain about parenting on the phone or over coffee with your friends…your children will probably take it very personally.
6. Toilets get clogged and stuff gets broken. Life is like that. When you’re old and gray you won’t sit around wishing you could hold your old jewelry box one more time.
7. You know those insanely different ways that you and your husband approach parenting? Believe it or not this, too, is part of God’s plan(read a great article from Focus on the Family here).
8. You are the parent; not the servant and not the fairy godmother. Once they are past the baby stage you don’t have to meet all their needs. Someday you will be unleashing adults on the world. Let your children work hard as they grow. It’s good for them.
9. When you feel like you are at the end of your rope take a nap. Superwoman is a myth.
10. You know how the flight attendant told you in the event of an emergency to put your oxygen mask on first and then help your child put on his? When you take care of yourself and go on dates with your husband you’re putting on your oxygen mask. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage…even if you didn’t do it in that order, your marriage takes priority.
11. You can be the wonderful cookie baking mother you have always dreamed of but you don’t have to eat all the cookies. It adds up over time! Ask me how I know.
12. Choose to act and look happy (yes, it is a choice!). Children feel secure when they know their mother is happy. Practice smiling at your family every time they walk into the same room. Let them know they make you happy.
13. If it’s late and you haven’t started dinner yet, fry some onions.It will fill the house with the aroma (and the illusion) that you’ve been slaving away for your beloved hungry horde.
14. Confession is good for the soul. If you’ve sinned against your children, admit it to them and ask for their forgiveness. Children are good little forgivers.
15. Don’t be surprised if you are tired at the end of the day. It’s probably because you’ve been working hard…which is the right thing to do.
16. The laundry and housework will never be “caught up.” Have fun with your children anyway.
17. You know that beautiful greeting card that says, “My home is in my mother’s eyes?” It’s true. Look your children in the eye many times a day. They need to know you see them!
18. Quirky, irritating mannerisms usually pass. So do those awkward, clutsy stages of growing up. It just feels like forever when you’re in the middle of them.
19. Touch them. Ruffle their hair. Notice them.You won’t regret it years later.
20. Tell stories about yourself when you did stupid,silly things. The stories will become part of the family lore and your children will hear the unspoken moral which is, Mom understands because she’s human too.
21. Tell them that God rejoices that He made them. Tell them they are gifts from Him. They need to hear the truth.
22. Remember the time you said “no” to getting the puppy when you had a toddler in the house? You don’t need to feel guilty about that…you were wise.
23. Even if you aren’t a reader, learning to be one is a precious gift you can give to your children. Read good books together. Discover inspiring authors together. You will glue your family together in a special way.
24. Homemade popsicles, dinner together around the table with the t.v. off, talking (and listening), singing together, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, sitting in church together…wonderful memories are built bit by bit over a lifetime. Don’t give up!
25. Little boys can be challenging (to put it nicely). That’s because,someday, they are going to be men! Whatever you do…don’t give up! The world will thank you.
26. The worst lie ever foisted on womanhood was that we could “have it all.” That’s crock. We can’t have it all but we can do our utmost to have a close bond with our adult children someday by being there when they are little. It is worth it…and (as someone who is fast becoming an “old geezer”) remember that they grow up very very fast.