Its happened…somewhere between pony tails, studying for spelling tests and basketball practices I became an “old mom”!!! We have three children and always refer to them as “the kids” but the fact is that our oldest received her drivers’ license today, the lil man has almost completed kindergarten, and our middle daughter is taller than I am now! I am not sure when these atrocities occurred, overnight maybe!
It seemed like forever that my husband and I were always the ones at gatherings with friends and family that brought “the kids.” Now, we are the older couple sitting back sipping a cold beverage while everyone else is running after toddlers! It is kind of refreshing actually!!
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of embarking on a first road trip with a fellow bridesmaid and her 4 month old to go dress shopping with the bride-to-be. He is the cutest little guy, and for a first road trip he and his mom did wonderfully. We talked during the ride about the baby, the things he is eating and progress he is making and I suddenly realized that I hardly remembered ANY of my children’s first road trips!! However, all weekend I was the go-to for any questions regarding all things baby. A compliment in many ways, but also a realization that the “new mom, raising baby” part of my life is over! It was bittersweet to say the least.
So, I have decided if I am going to have to be an “old mom” the least I can do is impart some wisdom…so here’s my list to surviving the early years:
- You are the momma/daddy and you know best! Always be polite when receiving advice from family members, co-workers or sometimes complete strangers but remember that God gave YOU this child, and your opinion is really all that matters.
- That being said, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed or need guidance. We have all been there, its totally normal.
- Help your child develop some independence, even though it stinks to let go a little; you will be thankful for it when they are old enough to make judgment choices on their own.
- An occasional “adult weekend” or even “Mommy date” is good for you, your spouse and baby! The truth is that the grandparents and/or aunts and uncles really don’t mind keeping baby for the weekend, they’ve been waiting to spoil that cutie without you around anyway.
- Let baby get dirty occasionally and don’t get too bent out of shape when they lick things they shouldn’t (like the handrails at Dollywood), consider it building up their immune systems!
- It is more than okay for your child to see that sometimes life isn’t perfect, don’t try so hard to make it that way for them that you forget to let them have some reality checks. Sometimes you lose or don’t get picked for the team – its just a reason to try harder or work to make the situation better.
- Recognize that “momma guilt” is a real thing and that you will feel guilty for every possible thing they do and don’t do, even when they are adults. Part of parenting is constantly doubting yourself!
- Take lots of pictures, in just a short 6 months or a year you will be amazed at how much they have grown.
- Enjoy every phase of your child’s life (even the “terrible” stages), believe me it won’t last as long as you think!
- Pray often and out loud with your children as much as possible. Let them see that you know and love God so that they will learn to as well. Its the very best gift you can give them!