Monday, September 13, 2010

Words of Wisdom--Brought to You by Hindsight

 Click on the link above to watch an amazing video about motherhood!  Grab your tissues!

1.  Meet other moms.
2.  It is okay to be scared.
3.  Millions of parents survive sleep deprivation.
4.  It's okay to want a break.
5.  You WILL make mistakes.  Forgive yourself.
6.  Real men change diapers.
7.  Take time to fall in love with your baby.
8.  Take time for yourself.
9.  Let Grandma spoil them.
10.  Imperfect is the new perfect.

These are 10 of my favorite messages from the above video link made by Nummies, a nursing bra company.  It is a touching reflection of mothers holding signs with messages that they'd tell their "pre-mom" selves if they could go back in time.  About 5 seconds into the video I found my eyes welling and then spilling over with tears.  Chin quivering, I nodded my head vigorously with every new message that appeared.  At the end of the video, I closed my eyes and naturally pictured myself as that VERY young...(too young perhaps)...24-year-old-first-time-mother.  There was part of the current me that wanted to shake her, but most of me just felt bad for her and her two sons for all that she DIDN'T know, all that she needed to learn, and the path that she'd have to take to grow up to become a mother her boys deserved.

It is hard as a mom not to think "If I knew then, what I knew now..."  and then tick off a list of things we'd have done differently if we had that impossible chance to do it all over again.  And while I was mulling over that list another thought began to creep in, staying at first on the periphery, but ultimately permeating the din shining a bright light on the "could-haves" and "should-haves."  After 16 years of raising my sons, I DID have the unique chance to kind-of-sort-of-in-a-way do it all over again...this time with Ila. It presented an interesting opportunity for me, the seasoned mom, to teach me, the new mom, some of the important things I learned along the way.  Learning from my experiences in order to improve my parenting this time around...what a concept.

Feeling excited by the prospect of being able "to go back in time," I began to rummage through the dusty, dark recollections tucked away into the far away corners in my house of memories.  I called to them to come out...and they did...gingerly.  Painful mistakes I'd made as a mom, things I neglected to do, phrases that should never have been said were typically not allowed to see the light of day in order to protect my sanity.  But now they served as research subjects.  All week I viewed and reviewed them in an arms length way with the emotional disconnect of a scientist.  What could I learn from the mistakes I made?  More so, what could I learn from the happy moments of the last 16 years of parenting?  What messages could I till from the roots of my experiences so that they could be delivered in my time machine to the awaiting "new" mother who was eager to learn.

After much cogitation I am pleased with my list of ten lessons to tell my "pre-mom" self.   Buckle your seat belts and join me on my time machine as we deliver the following messages!
Lessons for My Pre-mom Self.

1.  Everything  always looks better in the morning.
2.  When someone offers help--take them up on it.  Learn to lean.
3.  Life is difficult.  Shielding your children from all things uncomfortable will not equip them with the coping mechanisms they will need in the future.
4.  Every mistake made is the universe's way of teaching you something.  Look for the lessons.
5.  Saying sorry is not a sign of parental weakness.
6.  Sometimes you may not know what's best.  Find an expert who does. 
7.  Be infinitely careful about who you allow to become important to your children.
8.  Sometimes the hardest, most heart-wrenching choice for you is what is best for your children.  Trust your gut.  Your hurt will pass and your child will grow.
9.  Problem solve WITH your children.  Teaching them how will ensure that they never feel trapped or limited.
10. Be the person you want your children to be...because they are ALWAYS watching. 

Now it's YOUR turn. What lessons did I miss that you'd want YOUR pre-mom (or dad) self to know?  Leave them in the comment box below!