This month I celebrate a quarter of a century of being a mom. My firstborn is turning 25!
Remembering my girl, at the various stages of her life, I approach her 25th birthday with profound pride in the person she has become. A huge milestone for her, reaching the quarter-century mark is also a significant moment for me.
I’ve been reflecting with wonder, focused on how much I have learned and grown in the course of this amazing, often chaotic, remarkably inspiring journey as a mom.
As a gift to myself, which I am happy to share with you, I offer the top 5 things I have learned in 25 years of being a mom.
1. Your child will show you what you need to know.
When keeping your eyes, ears, and heart wide open, you’ll find yourself more attuned to the signals, conscious and subconscious, of what your child needs you to know. Too often, I’ve been oblivious to those signs, wrapped up in the hectic nature of life or my own vision of what is or what should be. Slowing down, and being attentive, has brought many blessings, revealing precious insights openly available yet too often hidden in plain sight because I was just too busy or too stubborn to look.
2. Be ever ready to be surprised.
Your journey will be unpredictable. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of parenting, something changes, and you are again stretched and challenged beyond what you ever thought possible. When expecting the unexpected and preparing to be unprepared, you’ll find yourself ready to stretch yourself to handle the inevitable surprises, both wonderful and challenging, bound to come your way.
3. Forgive yourself and keep striving.
The mistakes will happen, and happen, and happen again. You’ll mess up and get things wrong. Be compassionate with your child and with yourself. Forgive yourself, yet always keep striving to adapt, adjust, learn, and do better.
4. Remember to take care of yourself.
You are a mom with a heart bursting with love for your child. You are also juggling an impossible number of demands in addition to caring for your child. In the midst of overwhelm, often what seems like the easiest thing to do, the course of least resistance, is to neglect yourself. Resist the temptation. Give some of that amazing mama love you hold to your amazing self.
5. Embrace the dance of presence and release.
Of the many gifts you have for your child, perhaps the greatest two are in a constant dance: being present and releasing your child to be independent; the author, artist, and designer of her or his own life. Like a tightrope walker, veering just a tiny fraction of a step off course, being too present or releasing too quickly, may send you tumbling. Despite the bruises, get right back into the embrace of the dance, sharing both your unbounded love and your unbounded trust.
The top 5 things I have learned in 25 years of being a mom are very different than what my top 5 would have been on my daughter’s 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, and even 21st birthdays. The years have brought insight. I am, on this celebration that feels so very significant to me, filled with overwhelming gratitude, standing ready to open myself to the learning, growth, and love yet to come.