Connor competed in his last swim meet today. His Azionaqua team took home the trophy at the conference meet. He was so excited!
My sister-in-law called yesterday. She just slipped into the role of stay-at-home mom to her two young kids (ages 3 and 1). She shared some of the "struggles" we stay-at-home moms face and bemoaned the amount of dishes she washes within a day.
"Why don't you use paper plates," I offered.
The line went silent and then she almost whispered, "Do you really do that?"
"Not all the time, but sometimes, especially when I'm overwhelmed with dishes," I answered.
Her giddiness at my response radiated through the phone's receiver. She treated my suggestion as if I discovered the cure for world peace. Who knew paper plates could be so revolutionary?
It got me thinking: when I was at my sister-in-law's stage, what do I wish a more seasoned mom had told me? What pearls of wisdom would I pass along now (that might be a tad more significant that paper plates)?
I would say....
1) There's no prize given out for having the youngest potty trainer, bike rider, reader, swimmer...and on and on. Don't waste energy fretting over these things. I've never heard of anyone asked in a college admission or job application about when they mastered any of those skills.
2) If something is going to happen, it will happen on your way out the door (think dirty diapers, sick kids, forgotten lunches). Always put a little "hedge" into a morning to allow time for the unexpected.
3) Phone calls can always be returned, precious moments cannot.
4) Someday, I'm betting the kids won't remember the color of our couches, but will recall family vacations. Remember this when budgeting money.
5) Mommy time outs can be lifesavers. Placing the kids in front of a movie every once in a while can truly make everyone more pleasant.
6) Maintaining a spotless house is a never ending uphill battle with little ones. Aim for clean, not perfect.
7) No child is perfect. They will do things that are messy, embarrassing, frustrating, and hard. They learn through all these things and so do we.
8) Accept friend's offers to help and offer to help friends. Build a community of mommy friends and seek to rally and encourage each other. They will serve as your lifelines and you to them.
9) Laugh. Kids are pretty darn funny (or find the laughter in the situation later).
10) Savor the time. I'd be rich if I had a quarter for every time a gray-haired woman approached me in the grocery store, eyeing my young sons, and said, "One day you'll miss this time." As I'm a month away from having three kids in full day school, I understand these words. The time has flown and I pray I've appreciated it.