Do you ever feel like as a mom you are learning new things every day? Maybe not even related to your kids, but things about yourself. I know I do. Every day I learn something new. It may be the latest parenting hack, the latest way to help my child (fill in the blank), or new ways to braid little girls’ hair. You name it. Just like with any job or vocation, we need to keep studying and learning to be on top of our game. Parenting is no different.
I have been a mom for almost six years and I still feel like I am constantly learning. I most definitely do not have it all figured out. In honor of my oldest child who made me a mommy, I want to pass on six things I have learned as a mom.
Surround yourself with like-minded friends.
Parenting is the hardest job I have ever done and will ever do. Parenting can also be very isolating. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom who works away from the home or who stays home with her kids. It is isolating. Many times you wonder if your child is “normal.” Many times you wonder if anyone else on the planet has gone through what you have. This is why it is important to surround yourself with your tribe of mom friends who you can lean on during this journey of parenting.
We all need friends who are bold enough to tell us when we are being absolutely ridiculous but are also there to hug us when we are at our worst. We need mom friends we can laugh with until it hurts, and friends who will cry with us during those most difficult moments of parenting. We need mom friends who will celebrate our biggest parenting wins with us. We need mom friends who will listen and not judge us. Finding this tribe of friends can be difficult but oh so sweet when you find these friends.
Always Make Time For Play
Always take time to play. Playing encourages imagination. Playing encourages empathy. Playing teaches kids to be curious and to seek answers. Playing teaches how things work. By playing it helps kids to problem solve and to get along with others. Teaching kids to explore and learn through play improves dexterity as well as social and emotional strength. The benefits of play also include improved confidence. The benefits are endless. So get down on the floor or go outside and play with your kids!!
Read to your child every day.
Read to your child. Every day. Reading to your children has so many benefits. It teaches kids about empathy. It teaches kids about the world around them. It builds vocabulary. It sets kids up for success as they begin school. If you don’t have a lot of books at home, don’t fret. The local libraries are a great option and they have amazing programs catered to all different age levels. The librarians are incredibly helpful and can recommend perfect titles for your kids’ interests. The benefits of reading to kids are endless.
Be an advocate for your child.
Everyone tells you to advocate for your kids. We all have a motherly instinct. As a mom you know when something doesn’t feel right. In my time as a mom, I have learned to advocate for my kids when it comes to medical professionals, teachers, and even friends. Our kids need to be heard. Our kids’ needs need to be met. Sometimes speaking up for something you know is not right is very difficult and at times uncomfortable. If we don’t speak up for our kids, who will?
Do not be afraid to question professionals and ask questions. Do not be afraid to explore multiple avenues until you feel you have the answers you are seeking.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry.”
We all mess up. We all say things or do things we wish we would not have. We all act on an impulse. There are always moments we wish we could do over. When you have those moments, (and you will) do not be afraid to tell your kids you are sorry. Do not be afraid to express remorse when you have acted in a way you regret. Talking to our kids and apologizing shows our kids that we are not perfect. It shows our kids that even adults mess up. It shows our kids that actions have consequences and that it is healthy to talk about our missteps and seek forgiveness.
Always take hugs from your kids.
A hug is a beautiful way to express love. Hugs make my heart smile and feel all cozy and warm. I realize that as my kids get bigger and older, the hugs will be much less frequent. I am going to savor all of the hugs from my kids. I will savor them even if it is my child stalling on going to bed. I will give my kids hugs even when their actions have made me angry. It seems that the times when we are the angriest are the hardest times to hug. Perhaps that is when we need it the most. I will do my best to take hugs from my kids even if I am in the middle of something. We all need to feel love, and hugs are some of the best ways to do it. For young kids, sometimes that is how they show it the best.
Parenting is incredibly challenging, but is also the most rewarding job. In my almost six years as a parent, I have come to realize every day is an opportunity to learn, grow, and get better. We can all learn from others and learn from our own experiences. We can always improve as long as we don’t stop seeking and growing.
So keep being you and doing the amazing things you are doing!