I’m going to start by saying what every mom says about her child growing up – TIME FLIES! It feels like yesterday when Naomi Moon was 18-months old and before we know it, she is 2 years old in a few weeks.
It’s also been 23 months since I was entrusted with the wonderful job of being Naomi’s mom, my most challenging role yet but also the most rewarding. Here are 8 things I’ve learned from being a mom to a two-year old, how I’ve evolved as a mother and some of the most important motherhood wisdom imparted to me.
Let me start by saying that my intention for this post is not to tell other moms how to parent. These are things that I’ve experienced, learned, heard that resonated with me and have helped define my motherhood style. It doesn’t mean that I have this motherhood gig figured out, because in reality, these principles go out the window when I’m having an off day. But you know what, it’s ok, because of point number one:
- Define your own journey
I had a tumultuous introduction to motherhood, it made me feel inadequate and a failure, until I confessed these feelings to my best mommy friend, and she gave me the best advice that I carry close to my heart. “You get to define your motherhood journey”, this is your story and you get to decide on how you want to experience and remember it. You may have had an emergency c-section or had a water birth, you may have suffered from postpartum depression or were blissfully happy during the 4th trimester. Your baby may have taken to you immediately or you had a rough start with breastfeeding; accept these experiences as part of your story knowing that there is no right or wrong journey, which brings me to point number two.
- Whatever you chose, is the right decision.
I often get asked for advice from new moms, and this is the most important piece of advice I tell them. Moms love to give advice (sometimes unwelcome!) on breastfeeding, starting solids, sleep training, etc. Hear them with an open mind, and use whatever is relevant for you and your child. Breast might “be best”, but if you have an agonizing and stressful experience with breastfeeding, know in your heart that whether you chose to continue trying or bottle feed is the right decision for you and your baby.
- You are much stronger than you think
You birthed and gave life to a human being – that is the ultimate strength of a woman yet we easily become clouded with self-doubt and fear. I now know that tenacity is engrained within us, as we we express our strength in small ways every minute of every day, even if things seem impossible and overwhelming. Sleeping on the cold floor next to your baby’s crib, watching over them when they’re sick, preparing their food first even if you hadn’t eaten all day. That’s strength to me.
- Self-love is the greatest love you can give
Something transformative happens when you become a mom - you see yourself through your children’s eyes. This made me think about the image I reflect to Naomi. It made me realize that unconditional love starts with self-love. When your heart is full, you give love without asking for anything in return.
- Treat your child with respect
Montessori and RIE parenting philosophy was a game changer for me as it helped shift my parenting perspective and approach. Treating babies and children with respect help foster their independence and trust that they are much more capable than we give them credit for. Respecting and validating their emotions (even tantrums), expressing empathy like you would another human being, and giving them the power to choose. When I don’t know how to approach things, I put myself in their shoes and ask, “Would I want to be treated this way?”
- Encourage instead of Praise
How often do we find ourselves saying “Good Job”! Instead, try articulating why they did a good job? Anthony Robbins shares this same belief saying, “Offer encouragement on the effort they expend to overcome problems”. This felt unnatural for me at first, but it’s a great mindfulness practice as it forced me to really observe and be present with Naomi. For example, if she completea a puzzle on her own, instead of saying “good job”, I now say something like “I’m really impressed with they way you concentrated in order to solve that puzzle”.
Offer encouragement on the effort they expend to overcome problems
- Find moments of connection
This motherhood gig is tough and we constantly have to juggle and multitask, so I’m the first to admit that I don’t always give my full attention to Naomi. First of all, we’re busy moms and secondly, we will lose our minds! I used to feel really guilty as I looked back on my day and wished I spent less time on my phone and more time with Naomi. Now I find moments to connect with her even if it’s just 10 minutes. These are usually moments when I need to care for her like changing her diaper, eating with her, bathing her and putting her down to sleep.
- They do what we do, not what we say
Our kids are our biggest fans and they pay so much attention to how we act, speak, and react to things, instead of what we actually tell them. This made me think a lot about how I want my daughter to perceive me and what kind of role model I’d like to become. I told Anthony once that I just want to raise a good confident human being, and it starts with me showing her how to be that person. It can be from the simplest thing such as acknowledging everybody we meet and pass with a ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.
Now it’s your turn, share some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from being a mom.
Photography: With a Little Grace | Facebook
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