It's kind of fun and a little scary to watch your kids raise their own kids. You struggle between wanting to correct their every parenting mistake and keeping your mouth shut so they learn on their own.
I have to admit, I also look back on what I did as a mom and ask, "If I had it to do over again, what would I do differently?"
It's hard not to be overwhelmed with that thought. Let's face it: when you're a young mom, daily survival becomes pretty consuming!
But as a mom of four adult sons and now a grandma, let me share with you some of the things I wish I knew then.
1. Grab those precious moments
You know what I'm talking about—the fun moments when you lie on the grass with your children and look up at the sky and identify the clouds. "Look, there's a bunny!" "Look, there's a turtle!" I can still remember the musical sound of my little boys giggling. The quiet moments of rocking your little ones to sleep and singing a sweet lullaby. The crazy moments of getting everyone dressed and ready for the day and giving quick kisses as they all run out the door. Those moments are so very important. Grab them! Enjoy them! Remember them always.
2. Chill out!
Every young parent is stressed. Is the baby growing properly? Why isn't our toddler potty-training faster? Is the house clean? We worry and fret and stress our way through many years. If I had it to do over again, I would relax a whole lot more. So many things we worry about will be fine. Don't worry, most 20-year-olds are potty trained! And no one remembers the dust bunnies of years past.
3. Spend more time on what to BE and not just what to know
We spend hours and hours teaching them their numbers, the alphabet and how to read. If I had it to do over, I'd spend a whole lot more time on things we value: honesty, hard work, being dependable, being kind. I'd teach our spiritual values with just as much time and effort as we taught the academics.
4. Embrace their uniqueness
It took many years to realize that our kids are different. And that's a great thing! How wonderful it is to embrace and encourage and appreciate their unique qualities. Toss the comparisons. Toss the wish you had that they would all be concert pianists. Find out what is wonderful about your child and fan the flame of their unique qualities.
We all wake up every day and try to do the best we can. No one wakes up and says, "I'm going to try to do a lousy job as a parent today." So while we're doing the best we can each and every day, we can also look at what we want to add or do differently.
Parenting is a wild and woolly adventure. But it is also one of the greatest adventures we will ever have. So let's enjoy the journey of learning and growing together.