30 Reflections in 30 Years of Mothering

by Jessica Faye Hinton on May 13, 2012

Time and distance from our past lives allow us to more easily forget and see things more “clearly” through lens tinted rosy.

Time in motherhood and distances traveled in motherhood are what make older mothers different from newer ones. My mom is an old mother. She became a mother thirty years ago.

She gets this, or motherhood, but her understandings of this, or my motherhood, are different. Unlike the woman I thought I once knew as a child, as a grandmother, she is lenient, “easy-going,” and, dare I say, fun? She allows vanilla ice cream over sandwiches for lunch and she never, ever yells or loses her patience. Ever. She smiles and is enjoying this moment and when I ask her about past moments that happened in my childhood she still smiles and remembers the good, mostly. “It was really perfect then,” she says from time to time.

Perfect.

In her I see the mother I could become and am reminded of the mother that in looking back on this climb I hope to see.

She’s my “go-to” mom friend. She’s the person I would call as a first-time mom when naps were missed or when things aren’t going right or, now, when I have questions or need help. Even though we don’t agree on everything, becoming a mom has given me the ability to see her more clearly and our pasts as mothers and daughter more clearly. I get her now…not just as a mom, but as a woman who became a mom and, in doing so, became someone new.

I get her now that I’m here, and in some moments of looking back at the climb of motherhood, she gets me, too. I think,

I’m grateful to her. And I’ve learned a lot from her. And in her, I see pieces of myself.

Yesterday, in talking about our plans for Mother’s Day, I asked if she could tell me 30 things that she wishes she could’ve told herself 30 years ago. Her mother died when she was 21, so these are things, I think, her mom likely would have told her, too. I think.

  1. Love your children unconditionally and without any reservations.
  2. Your children are watching you to learn how to live, always, but remember to also teach and direct them in the ways you’d like for them to grow.
  3. Feed your spirit. Say your prayers and give thanks even when things aren’t going your way.
  4. Regrets, guilt, and worries about what could be are a waste of time. Live in the moment.
  5. Tell your children and husband you love them and that they are loved every.single. day. It’s not enough to just show them.
  6. Value your family first and most.
  7. Know that nothing lasts forever, even your sorrows, hang ups, unhappiness, and disappointments.
  8. Forgive yourself for you are human.
  9. Make sure to parent your children with an eye towards both long-term and short- term goals.
  10. Spankings don’t work. Teach and show children what you want them to do.
  11. Missed naps and detours from daily schedules are not a big deal, at all.
  12. Make sure that as a mom, you remain an interesting person, not a mom, but person. Do this by continuing to do interesting things.
  13. A paying job can’t make you feel more worthy if you don’t already believe you’re worthy without a paying job.
  14. Take more real vacations.
  15. Invest financially in your children and remember that your children are an investment.
  16.  Love more of the small moments.
  17. Saving money, coupon clipping, and sale items are good, but don’t always try to be so frugal at all costs.
  18. Take more pictures of yourself and your spouse. You need to see yourself growing and evolving, too.
  19. Keep a journal.
  20. Remember to treat your children as individuals.
  21. Remember to spend one-on-one time with each of your children.
  22. Parent your child to their level of understanding.
  23. Don’t beat yourself up over small things.
  24. Forgive yourself.
  25. Motherhood is a long journey, so pace yourself.
  26. You will make some mistakes. And mistakes are okay.
  27. Make time for your spouse.
  28. Splurge on yourself from time to time.
  29. A clean house isn’t everything.
  30. Mom friends are nice to have.

If you are a mother, I encourage you all to ask an older mother you know about some things that she wishes she could have told herself years ago. Write down her responses and make them your mantras.

To all my mom readers, Happy Mother’s Day!

p.s. If you haven’t already, enter my giveaway to win a $75 gift code to go towards your own memory book by Bellflower Books! It ends on 5/18/2012.

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