Friday, November 1, 2013

Advice for New Moms

I have written several posts about mothering,
my most recent one being here about mothering multiples.
In case you are a new reader, I am a mother to four children
and a step-mother to four more children.
I have a daughter who is 19, a daughter who is 16, and twin boys who are 13.
My step-children range in age from seven to nineteen.
I am also a working mom,
but I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my children
for twelve years, until my twins started kindergarten.
 
Here area a few things I have learned as a mother that I would like to pass on:
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
This is a big one, and I had a major problem with this...and still do sometimes. What may seem really important today may not be so important in the long run. We all have dreams of being the "perfect" mother and no one is...some mothers may appear that way, but they have issues just like the rest of us. Try to figure out what is REALLY important to you, and then spend your time fulfilling those dreams, not the silly little things that will not add value to your life.
 
Cherish Every Moment...Even the Bad Ones
They grow up in a FLASH...I swear it feels like yesterday that I was playing beauty shop with my #1when she was a toddler and here she is a Sophomore in college. I have another one who is now a Junior in high school. The older my children get, the faster the times seems to fly by. I can remember the midnight feedings, being dead tired, dying for my babies to sleep through the night....but now I miss those intimate moments with my babies, in the wee hours of the morning, when everything is so still and quiet, and I could just cuddle and hold them while I was feeding them....there is no more cuddling and holding with 13 year old twin boys....I am lucky if I can get a hug from them these days!
 
Take Care of Yourself
I am still horrible at this....so learn from my mistakes. You CAN NOT be a good mother to your children if you are not taking care of yourself. For some people, that is as simple as taking 15 minutes to read a book or maybe 30 minutes to work out...for others it may be a weekend at the spa or a girls' night out once a week. Whatever renews your soul and lifts your spirit, MAKE the time to do it. Being a mother is often an overwhelming job...in the early years it's physically exhausting and in the later years it's emotionally exhausting. Be kind to yourself and you will be kind to your children.
 
Love Your Children For Who They Are....Not Who You Want Them To Be
All parents have hopes and dreams for their children....and that is exactly what they are...YOUR hopes and dreams. I mean let's be realistic here...who dreams for their child to fail a class or get fired from a job? We raise our children with the morals and values that we hope to instill in them, but ultimately they are going to make their own decisions at some point, and sometimes those decisions are not going to be good ones. It is so hard to sit back and watch your child make a really bad choice....but it is even harder to remain calm, loving, and supportive when their failures happen. We can offer advice, we can discuss benefits and consequences, but we can't (and shouldn't) control our children's lives. Part of their growing up is learning from the mistakes they make. You may wish for a football player who in his heart, wants to be in theater. You may wish for your child to attend your Alma Mater, but your child may not want to go to college. Look beyond your children's choices and past your own expectations into the heart and soul of your child, and love them for the unique and special individual that they are.
 
Make Your Marriage A Priority
One of the best things you can do for your children is to keep your marriage strong and healthy. Your children are going to learn from you what a good relationship is, what to expect in a relationship, and how to deal with conflict. It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race and before you know it, you no longer feel connected to your husband and you have grown apart. Schedule date nights...even if they are date nights at home where you play cards or watch a movie...stay connected and really love each other...especially through the tough times.

Being a new mom is such a special time in your life.
It can also be a very scary time and a stressful time as you navigate your way
thought new adventures such as potty training and preschool.
Hang on to the precious moments!
 

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2 comments :

Simply LKJ said...

I could not agree more Christine! And also agree...the one I struggled with the most (and still do even though the girls are no longer home most of the time) is taking care of me. I am making an effort to make this a priority this year however!

Katie Clooney said...

Great post and wonderful advice, Christine.

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Christine