the best part is now

Words of Wisdom

January is often a time for self-reflection, starting new projects and making resolutions. Many of us begin the new year with hopes to improve ourselves. What a perfect time to feature a series of posts on gaining wisdom! Over the course of this month, we'll post interviews with experienced mothers and feature stories written by women about what they've learned, and are continuing to learn, about motherhood. Thank you for starting the new year with us. We wish you all a very happy and inspired year of growth! ~TMC--

When I heard the topic for January was "Words of Wisdom", I was so excited. Over the years I have been so blessed to have some amazing women in my life. Many of them have been mothers and I have had the chance to learn from them. Not all advice works for everyone, but I have been lucky enough to find some gems that I think apply pretty much across the board. I thought I would share them with you.

Say Yes: When I was 15, my first nephew was born. Over the past 13 years I have had the privilege of watching my brother and his wife raise three boys. One of the things that has always impressed me is my sister-in-law's willingness to say “YES!”. While as a parent we can’t say yes to everything, she has a policy of saying yes unless she has a good reason not to. Yes for her, a parent of three pre-teen boys looks very different than me saying yes to two pre-school age girls, but her mentality has inspired me. So often I find myself saying no. To bubbles, to play dough, to pancakes, to bubble baths at 2 in the afternoon. I can’t always drop everything and color with my kids, but I could say yes much more.

Holding a Child's Hand

This is Best Part: Up to my elbows in dirty diapers and sticky hands, I used to get so frustrated when my mother would tell me, “This is the easy part.” More than once I went to bed in tears thinking that if this was the easy part there was no way I would survive. And then one day, I finally had enough sleep to hear what my mom was REALLY saying. Yes, this is the best/easiest part. And the next one will be as well. When my children hit grade school and are dealing with bullies, I will look back on this and wish all problems could be fixed with kisses. When my daughters are fighting with me over clothes I will look back and miss the days of my child crying because her school uniform shirt isn’t “pretty”. If I spend all my time wishing for the next stage, or longing for the last, I will miss the now...and the now is the best part.

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back: A few years ago, our pastor asked a group of us young parents to make a list of what we wanted our children to be/not to be in 20 years. While there were a lot of good things on the list, the first thing that came to mind for me was that I wanted my children to not be bitter. In 20 years, I hope that my children will be able to look back on their childhood and forgive my mistakes. We had a great conversation with our pastor about not letting fear hold you back. The fact is, as a parent, you will make mistakes. It’s just part of life. You will screw up. If you let the fear of messing up stop you, you will make even BIGGER ones. And that leads to...

Say You Are Sorry: The best mothers I know are the ones who are willing to go back to their kids when they mess up and say they are sorry. From yelling at a toddler to hurting your adult child, being willing to say you are sorry is often the only way to maintain a relationship.

And when all else fails, remember: “It’s just the first 40 years that are the hardest...”

At least that’s what my mother says...and my brother turns 41 next month.