No matter what stage of motherhood you are in, you have probably wished at some point that someone had been around to tell you all the things you had to learn the hard way. You've probably read quite a few parenting books, which can be helpful, but no book covers all the bases. What advice do you wish someone had shared with you once you became a mother?
Most of the lessons I have learned have been through trial and error and I certainly wish that someone had told me the best places to nurse in my local mall, for example, or what the real story is with vaccinations -- almost like cliff notes for parenting.
None of us have a crystal ball to see what is ahead, yet we all see the value of perspective. It seemed that if I asked a direct question to a group of local mothers, I could get an answer, but mostly it took my making a mistake for someone to share their wisdom with me. Generally, people don't want to impose or have others think they're sticking their nose in their business --and that is certainly a risk when giving unsolicited advice.
So from one mom to another, I'm offering this short list of things I had to figure out for myself. Adhering to this list won't change your parenting style because when it comes to your family, you know what's best. It will just make your life easier and a bit more manageable.
1. If you want your spouse to help you more, you must be clear about what you need. Do not wait for your spouse to read you mind or to pinch-hit for the family.
2. Self-care is an important part of motherhood. Taking time to improve your mental and physical wellness benefits both you and your entire family.
3. The difficult times in motherhood come in seasons. There is a season for sleepless nights, colic, fevers, extracurricular activities, middle school and smart talk from your teen. Sometimes it's more than one season at once. And while it might seem that what you're dealing with now will last forever, it won't, so hang in there.
4. Create a supportive family culture that shares the age-appropriate responsibilities. It often seems easier to just do it all in motherhood, but doing so means that your children don't get the benefit of learning how to do things for themselves and, well, you have to do everything.
5. Ignore moms that compete with you because your best is good enough. Just make sure to do your best.
6. Cleaning floors and dishes don't count as quality time with the family.
7. Let your children know what you like and share your hobbies with them. It is so easy to be the mom and forget to share the person that you are with your family.
8. Date yourself, date your spouse, date your children -- all separately, of course.
9. Set boundaries with relatives who stress you out. This can be initially awkward, but worth it in the end.
10. Let you children sleep with you if it allows you to rest, but kick them out of your bed if it prevents you from sleeping or enjoying quality time with you partner.
11. Eat breakfast everyday.
13. If you don't like the choice that you have made, renegotiate it.
As a mother of three, I still don't know it all and I'm still learning things the hard way. Let's get interactive and help each other out. What do you wish someone had told you about being a mother?
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