When you’re single or newly married, all of your thoughts are about you. How am I going to afford that new purse? What are we going to do this weekend? Why is my hubby in such a bad mood?
When you become a mother, all of those thoughts are pushed to the side, and your thoughts are now focused on this brand new little life you are now in charge of.
It then becomes, Is she eating enough? When will she ever sleep? Why is she still crying? Is projectile vomiting normal? And most important of, all Am I a good mother?
Then a few years later, it becomes, Will she cry on this first day of kindergarten? Will the other kids be nice to her? Have I prepared her for school? Am I a good enough mom? Will I cry on the first day of kindergarten?
After years of science fairs, and gymnastics meets, and their first sleepovers, your thoughts turn to, Will she be scared of the older kids on her first day of Junior High? Will she be able to figure out her locker? Will she fit in with the other kids? Why is she so emotional? Am I a good enough mom?
And in the blink of an eye, she’s starting high school, and it’s, Is she able to drive all by herself? Is she ready for the ACT’s? Will a boy ask her to prom? Have I prepared her for peer pressure? Is she listening to anything I have to say?Have I been a good enough mom to prepare her to go out alone in this world?
As mothers, we never know if we are making the right decisions at the time. Did I spend enough time with her growing up? Did I smother her? Did I give her enough? Did I give her too much? The list goes on and on.
My baby is about to to be a high school senior, and I can’t think of too many decisions throughout the years where I didn’t second guess myself. At 17, is she still in one piece and hasn’t become a serial killer? The answer, thank goodness, is yes. Did I do everything perfectly? Heck no. Were there times where I gave her advice and it blew up in her face? Yep. Did I give her advice and she didn’t listen, and she had to learn from her mistakes? You betcha.
As moms, we do the best we can with what we have. So my daughter didn’t get to go on Spring Break vacations to Italy or get a brand new BMW for her 16th birthday like everyone else in her grade. What she did get was a mom that listened.
There was a day when my kiddo was little and she raced in the door from school and began rattling-off some story about what happened on the playground while I was in the middle of writing a report for work and I shushed her. I looked up and saw the disappointment on her face, and I decided that would never happen again.
When I worked outside of the home, I couldn’t be there when she got home from school, but the minute I got home from work I would sit with her on this big chair and listen for 5-10 uninterrupted minutes about her go on about her day. When I stopped working, I would stop what I was doing at 3:00 and wait for her on that chair as she got off the bus. To this day I still do it. We started this routine when she was little, and even at 17 she still expects it. She may not sit on the chair with me anymore, but it’s important for her to know that even for a small portion of the day, she has my undivided attention. That’s all we need to connect, and it’s surprising the amount of knowledge I have gained about her amazing life in those few minutes a day.
I think it’s great if you can give your kids lots of fun material things, but I think the most important gift you can give them is to be heard.
At the time, it might seem silly to take time out of your day to listen about fights on the playground or her disappointment about not getting a part in the play. As they get older, in those minutes you get to find out the important things like what kids got drunk over the weekend, and who you do and don’t want your child to hang out with. As I sit there everyday and listen to her tell me about her daily stories. I subtly try to give a bit of advice here and there. So over the years there might have been a lot of things that I didn’t handle the right way, but one of the things I proudest about is our close relationship. Ten minutes might seem like no big deal, but I think throughout the years it was. She was heard. Her thoughts and feelings were validated. It might surprise you in those few little magical minutes that they actually hear you too.
Remember that Rustic Console Table I built out of old cedar fence slats? Well I made a wine rack with that wood too! Tutorial will be coming soon!