60 and Counting…Random Lessons I’ve Learned from Motherhood

by Christa Hines on May 10, 2013

Nearly eight years have melted away since motherhood planted itself firmly into my heart, wrapped its tendrils around my soul and lovingly commandeered my life. Eight years is a blink of the eye. Yet, I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in such a short space of time. Granted we still have a long way to go as my husband and I work to raise responsible, generous and kind young men, but here are a few random lessons I’ve learned so far––especially when it comes to raising boys.
  1. Every day is a little different from the one before. This is reassuring on days when you feel stuck, under-appreciated and bone-tired. 
  2. Every mom needs a “been-there, done-that” seasoned mom in her life to help put parenthood into perspective, calm anxieties or provide resources. 
  3. A tell-tale sign that my kids had a terrific day is the ring of dirt left around the bathtub after evening baths. 
  4. I used to get annoyed when people would tell me, “enjoy this time. It will be over before you know it.” Now that the days seem to go by like the speed of light, I get it.
  5. I never thought I’d utter the words “Okay, who did that?” in so many different contexts, but usually in a car followed by everyone rolling down the windows.
  6. Kids will forget their backpack, socks and a coat, but they’ll never forget a promise you regret making three days and 21 hours ago.
  7. Boys seemed to be hardwired to think tooting noises are funny. 
  8. Hugs make everything better. The run, tackle, squeeze hug nearly knocks me off my feet every time. I love it.
  9. That horrific headache you have is probably because of lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, diet or all of the above.
  10. Sitting in the smallest bathroom in your house in the middle of the night with the shower running to create steam helps a baby suffering with croup. The steam is also a great way to get a 3 a.m. facial.
  11. My son’s definition of clean is very different from mine.
  12. Little boys’ pockets contain a treasure-trove of discoveries. 
  13. Baby powder, vaseline and diaper rash cream are all items that need to be put waaay out of reach of children. Vaseline doesn’t come off of flat-painted walls.
  14. Notice and acknowledge the positive things your child does.
  15. If you’re like me, the first time your child takes a step, says he loves you, or rides a bike without training wheels, you’ll cry.
  16. You’ll discover which of your children has the worst gag reflex when you bring home a new puppy who proceeds to get really, really sick in his crate.
  17. A strategy that works with one child might not work with another. 
  18. Children don’t fall asleep on airplanes until you are landing.
  19. If you want an honest opinion, ask your child. Chances are he’ll tell you anyway.
  20. Teaching kids to say please and thank you matters.
  21. Talking with and listening to your kids matters, too.
  22. The pediatrician isn’t always right. It’s okay to find a new one if he blows you off or is condescending. 
  23. The best time to find out about your child’s day at school or his worries is during car rides or right before bed when he is trying to put off going to sleep.
  24. Even though there may be times when you have to ask for your meal to go, take your children to restaurants to help them learn social graces and boundaries in public places. 
  25. When stuck in an airplane with a toddler in melt down mode, sometimes the only thing you can do is pretend you don’t know him.
  26. Mud, dirt and boxes provide hours of entertainment. 
  27. Experiences are more valuable than stuff.
  28. Your child will at some point throw a major temper tantrum in a public place. You won’t be the first parent to pick up your wailing child and abandon your shopping cart in the middle of the store. 
  29. Learn together and take as many opportunities as possible to explore science, nature, music and art. Kids love to learn by doing. 
  30. Play board games and cards together. Not only do they learn math and reading skills, children learn how to win and lose gracefully.
  31. Write down the funny, sweet and poignant things your child says. 
  32. It’s okay if your son doesn’t like sports.
  33. Always keep your favorite photo of your child nearby to remind you of his inherent sweetness, especially for those moments when he is acting like the ultimate punk.
  34. The $100 interactive dinosaur exhibit isn’t nearly as fun as the free model train exhibit. 
  35. When your child presents you with a handful of sweaty, wilting dandelions, they become your favorite flower.
  36. Every situation is different but usually the best reaction to an emotionally charged moment is to remain calm, cool and collected. I’m still learning this lesson.
  37. Developing a yoga practice helps with number 36.
  38. Incentives and rewards work for kids…and parents.
  39. For some reason, clearing off the dining room table and putting a bouquet of fresh cut flowers in the middle makes a house appear cleaner.
  40. Going for a walk with your dogs while your husband takes over the bedtime routine is a sanity saver on rough days––even when it’s 25 degrees outside and the wind is howling.
  41. A glass of wine works, too.
  42. And chocolate. Dark. For your heart. 
  43. Scheduling time just for you isn’t selfish. Self-care is necessary and it makes you a better parent.
  44. Pursuing personal interests and goals teaches your children that care-taking is just one of your roles.
  45. Share your interests with your child.
  46. Find a dependable sitter who you trust and your children like. Your kids will gain a sense of self-confidence and independence when you are away and breaks are good for your emotional health.
  47. Spending time with your husband, watching TV and eating a steak after the kids go to bed is almost as fun as a night on the town.
  48. Boys think it’s fun to sneak up on you and scare you. But if they truly catch you unprepared and you scream, you might make them cry.
  49. Laugh often. 
  50. Save the notes your child writes you.
  51. Singing is sweet if you can carry a tune. If not, your singing can drive your child crazy, which is good intelligence for when he’s driving you crazy.
  52. It’s okay if your child thinks you might be a little nuts.
  53. Everyone has a rotten day now and then. Teach your child that it’s perfectly acceptable to spend a little time alone to brood, create, read, pray and rest. 
  54. Boo-boos don’t hurt as much when you kiss and stick an Avengers band-aid on them.
  55. Nourish your spirit by finding and spending time with friends who you can laugh––and cry––with.
  56. Nurture your child’s interests. Even if they seem a little out of the ordinary.
  57. Kids are curious. Be curious, too.
  58. Begin and end every day with a hug and a kiss.
  59. Forgive yourself. Parenting is tough and sometimes you do and say the wrong thing.
  60. Every child has the potential to change the world. Your child already changed yours.
Happy Mother’s Day!

Illustration courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/metrue

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