Top 10 Things I’d Tell a Younger Mom…

I’m don’t consider myself the perfect mom.  I’ve made some pretty bad mistakes in my parenting career and I can look back on how I’ve parented my kids and ruminate on a lot of shuoulda’s, coulda’s, and what-if’s if I wanted to.  Problem is, I’m not done parenting my kids and ruminating only causes problems, it doesn’t bring about good in anyone’s life.  So I keep plugging away and I trust the Lord that my mistakes don’t land my kids in counseling for the rest of their lives, lol.

I do have some advice for those young moms who aren’t as far down the road of parenting as I am.  These are things that, as I look back on my road, I have wished I had done more, or that I am glad I did.  Either way, if you were to ask me what I would say to you are the top 10 things that are the most important things to do as a Mom, these are them:

10.  Don’t do the fad thing, find your own way to parent.  Do what works best for your family. Don’t apologize or get defensive when people criticize or get uppity or they share what they are doing because that’s their family.  Your family is perfect in it’s own way.

9.  A messy house is a loved house.  Don’t let people who don’t have kids around anymore get you upset because your house is a mess all the time.  Your kids have an immune response for a reason.  If you are constantly cleaning and disinfecting, their little bodies will never learn to build that immune response and they will get sicker later in life.  Remember to tell the person they are visiting you, not your house.  If they are visiting your house, then perhaps they aren’t such a good person for you to have around you.

8.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  What I mean by that is, pick your battles.  If your daughter wants to wear plaid with stripes, let her express herself.  If your son wants to always wear army colors, let him. These things don’t matter for eternity.  If your pre-teen wants to color her hair purple, but she makes straight A’s in school and hasn’t dated a jerk, let her.  It isn’t a sign of rebellion.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Even a nose ring or a belly ring is not going to go with them to heaven. It is not a sign that they are sliding down the slippery slope to hell.

7.  Play with your children when they ask you to.  Before you know what hit you, they will be slamming the door in your face.  They will be embarrassed to death at you.  They will be graduating from High School.  You will blink and it will be College.  When your child asks you to take a moment and play with them, do it.  Even if you are having the busiest day of your life.  Take 5 minutes to play.  You won’t regret it.  You will regret it if you don’t.

6.  Let your child fail.  Having said that, make him “get right back on the horses back.”  This is one of the regrets I have.  One of my children was learning how to drive.  He took his learners permit test and failed it.  That was two years ago.  He is now afraid to take it again.  I did not make him take it right away again.  A few days after taking the test, he tried to drive with his dad in a parking lot and almost had an accident. He hasn’t been in a car as a driver since.  We should have made him take the test again right away, and we should have put him in the driver’s seat again right away.  Now he’s full of fear because he considers himself a failure.

It’s OK to let your child fail, but always pick him/her back up and get him/her back in the saddle right away.  They need to experience failure under your tutelage.  Sheltering them from it is just as bad as not picking them up and putting them back in the saddle.  In this day in age we have “Helicopter Parents”, who don’t want their kids to fail.  Bad News.  That is not real life.  Let your kids fail.  Then teach them how to come back from their failure.

5.  Allow yourself to fail in front of your kids.  Apologize to your kids and your spouse in front of your children.  Be humble in front of them.  They need to know you aren’t perfect.  Otherwise they won’t know that they can be an imperfect pEdson, too.

4.  Your kids learn everything from you!  Everything.  So be careful what you say.  Be careful what you do.  They are always watching.  They want to be you.  You are to them what it means to be a True Follower of Christ.  If you aren’t following Christ, then don’t expect them to.

3.  Be balanced in your parenting.  Don’t be a control freak.  Having said that, give your kids boundaries that show them they are protected and loved.

Some parents want to smother their kids with too many rules.  They feel that if they over-protect them with boundaries they will somehow turn out OK.  Then when the opposite happens and they rebel and flip out on them, they are shocked and dismayed.  Too many rules breeds rebellion and grief.

On the other hand, not enough rules make a child feel abandoned and unloved.  They will reach out to anyone and anything that will give them that sense of protection and love that you’re not giving to them.  That’s where loser boyfriend steps into the picture, or the gang, or the pimp.  So give your family the love they deserve and don’t be afraid to call them on disrespect, disobedience, and delinquency.  You’re their parent, not their friend.

2.  Take time for yourself.  So many young moms are too busy with their kids to take time for themselves.  They wear themselves out and they break down.  Their health goes to pot, their psyche goes nuts, or they just give up and make a run for it.  If you want to be a healthy mom, you need to take time for yourself.  Mom’s Night Out, Women’s Bible Study, build your own business, take night classes, work a part-time job, keep your licenses current, take a bubble bath, go for a walk, exercise without your kids. Whatever.  Just spend quality time away from your kids for 30 minutes 3 times a week or more if you have a special needs child.

1.  The most important point.  Put your husband/partner first.  When your children grow up and are out of the house, you will be left alone with your husband/partner.  If you are putting all your effort into your kids and nothing into him/her, do you think life will be pleasant after your kids leave?  Don’t let the kids pit you against each other.  Don’t be petty with your partner.  Live in harmony with each other.  Date each other.  Show each other how important the other one is.  Show him/her how proud you are to be their partner.  Make them feel special every single day.  That way they will be special when you’re kids are gone, too.