I recently asked a number of parenting "experts," who also happen to be seasoned parents, to reflect on what they would say if they had the chance to write a note to their "younger parent selves."
In the hustle and bustle of preparing for Thanksgiving, their reflections remind us to make gratitude the priority.
CHILL! It’s going to be OK. The money worries, the health worries, the parenting style worries-all of that will be OK, and it turns out that those things are much less important than you think. Don’t get all stressed out and miss the incredible miracle right in front of you. That child is a shooting star and will be gone in a flash off into the world. Treasure her uniqueness and the precious gold of your connection with her. Get down on the floor with him and see the world as he sees it. There you will find joy and wisdom that’s very rare at adult eye level.”
It's true what they say, "The days may be long but the years are short." No one knows this better than you, a stay-at-home mom to three little boys. Those early days will be long especially when the twins are babies. You will pray for the day to end. At 5 o'clock, you'll watch the door anxiously waiting for their dad, your husband and life saver (literally), to walk in. You'll pray for the weekend, too, when he's home and will offer you relief. But the years will pass quickly so breathe deeply now and live in the moment. Smile as you pace the floor with a sleepless baby and hold on a little tighter. When the toddler tantrums for the third time, don’t fret and instead head to the park for some fresh air. Because before you know it double diaper duty quickly changes to double college tuition, and it will all seem so insignificant.
Your son was born yesterday. Your firstborn. You take him home tomorrow. No doctors. No nurses. Just you, him and her. Two is now three. What joy!
All of your love, attention and affection is being showered on him today...as it should be. But the secret to his ultimate happiness and success does not lie in your relationship with him. It lies in your relationship with her.
Never, ever forget the deep love and respect you felt when for her when she made that final, exhausted 'push' that brought him into your world. Her sweaty face, her matted hair, her pallid complexion. And yet she never looked so beautiful. Hold that feeling over the years and it will turn out fine.
You see, as a Dad, you will have great influence over him. Your interests will become his interests. You will impact upon his tastes in music, sports and art. He will want to read that books that you read. You will cherish the time you spend with him. He will be proud of you...as you will be proud of him.
But she will be his greatest influence. She will teach him generosity, kindness and blind, unshakable loyalty. By her daily example and guidance, he will learn how to be a friend, a son, a brother, a husband … a man.
The irony of all that might be missed on you right now. But forty years from now, you will recognize this fundamental reality: The best thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.