Now that the boys are grown I often reflect on the things we did and what lessons were learned
I remember when I was pregnant, becoming mentally exhausted (and slightly scared) from all the well-meaning, unsolicited, and often unwanted, advice I received. For some reason, most people love sharing only the “horror” stories. I can honestly not remember one person who simply told me how much fun this was going to be. Or, how delivering a baby doesn’t necessarily turn you into a shrieking, husband-hating monster.
So, to the (future) mother(s) of my grandchildren
1. Nourish yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically. You are about to become a mother, don’t lose yourself
What are the things that make you smile, make you feel happy and fulfilled? Is it time alone with your spouse and/or friends? Is solitude important to you? Reading? Pick at least one of these and make time for it every day once the baby has arrived, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. You can do this AND be a wonderful, committed mother.
May I suggest a few things…?
- Prioritize your health and learn what you need to about preparing for pregnancy, delivery and recovering postpartum.
- Go and see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. Learn about the inside of your body and pelvic floor.
- Do your Kegels
- Bind your belly immediately postpartum.
2. Treasure the moments
If you already have kids I am sure you have already heard advice like “don’t rush through it”, “enjoy, they grow so fast”. I heard it so many times, but still would think: “I wish he would walk soon”, “If only he could talk and tell me what he wants”
I can tell you as someone who has 4 grown children and just moved one of my youngest out – They are right! Enjoy the small moments and the wonder. I know it gets crazy at times with these little, not always cooperating, but adorable people. You see, I listened to that advice, but not well enough. I really tried to still my day and sit down with my boys and just enjoy the story they were telling, the cuddle or simply watching them do their thing quietly. But I also got way to caught up in unimportant things like having a tidy house all the time etc. Now that they are older I am always looking for any opportunity to sit down and enjoy time with my boys.
3. Parent in a way that feels right for you and your partner.
You DO know best. Period. It is your child. But don’t let that stop you from getting help and advice. Just be selective in choosing who to ask 😉 Accept no judgment or criticism, just simple, relevant and helpful advice
4. Prioritize your marriage/relationship
Your marriage comes first! You got together and had a family for a reason, now you owe it not only to yourselves but to your children to make this work. I am divorced. So, I can honestly say, there is no hockey game or practice, ballet recital, or homework assignment that is more important than the marriage. Parenting and maintaining your relationship are two equally important entities. Obviously, you will meet your children’s basic needs of life and much more. I urge you to make it just as important to do something for your relationship with your spouse every day. It can be really small like sitting down for 5 minutes together – alone and just being together; a kiss and a hug at the end of every day; a sweet text to say you are thinking of each other. And yes, schedule date nights – often, even if that simply means going to bed early and not watching television… 😉
5. Be a mother, not a friend to your children
Being a mother is a true privilege and pleasure and a unique place in life. You are a confidant, advisor and the one who loves them without condition or limitation. With you, they are completely safe. Safe to be wrong, inconsiderate, apologetic, remorseful, wonderful, funny, goofy and truly themselves. There is a lifelong bond between a mother and child that doesn’t need the tag of “best friends” to have meaning. Because when we try to be best friends we try not to displease. We don’t say things that might upset or anger them, and thus we stop parenting. It is our job as parents to say the things they don’t want to hear when they need to hear it. It is their friends’ job to cheer them up when you do. My boys don’t think of me as their best friend. I am their mother. I am always there for them and they know that. I am their first call when they need something or want to share an experience. I feel so lucky to be that. I know one day their wives will take that place, but I also know they will still call me and check in because that’s what we do.
This ended up being a little longer than I intended it to be, but thank you for sticking with me to the end. I would love to hear from you! What is the one thing you would want to tell a young mom one day?
With love, Elisabeth