I feel as if I have shared a good bit of valuable advice here and there. I have often said that it is hard to have a clear perspective and know the value of a moment until it is in the past. I have harped on living in and soaking up those sweet moments while you are in the midst of them. I have mentioned not looking too far into the future or wishing away the days- even the not so fabulous ones.
Parenthood is a lifelong commitment from the moment of conception until the end of your time here on Earth. It is a long road full of ups and downs, hills and valleys, curves and straightaways. You never know what is ahead of you, but you can always look back and see where you have been and how far you have come. Those memories serve as reminders of those sweet, cuddly newborns, the rambunctious toddlers, the annoyed pre-teens, the hormonal teens, the confused young adults and your grown children who now have kids of their own. While they are beginning their brand-new path of parenthood, you have a few decades under your belt and plenty of advice to share (if they are willing to listen).
I am not there yet myself, I only have about a decade under my own belt, but my younger family members and friends who are new to parenthood often come to me for advice on certain subjects and you better believe I turn to my own mother probably once a day to ask for advice, vent or even cry on occasion. That is one of the perks of having a group of mom friends and family and trust me you need them. Being able to share those valuable lived experiences between you, so that maybe you can learn a few things you could do differently or in some cases- what not to do.
I often find myself reminiscing on the road I have traveled this far and wondering what I would tell myself if I could go back in time before I began this journey. When I asked other moms of course I was met with an abundance of differentiating responses, but some of the more common replies included spending more time playing, taking more photos, being more patient, not worrying about the messes or setting such high expectations.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received since becoming a parent and one I need to remind myself of often is, “don’t take credit when your kids excel and don’t blame yourself when they don’t.” We are not responsible for their choices. Don’t get me wrong, we are here to guide and teach our children. We should equip them with the tools they will need to be successful, loving, respectful and forgiving adults. But they are humans, just like us. They will make their own choices, just like we did and do, and sometimes those choices don’t align with our own, but they should be given the freedom to decide and make a path of their own. A path that will make them happy and fulfilled.
If you met yourself at the start of your own parenthood journey, what advice would you give yourself?
(Paige Nash is a wife, mother, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal. And a mom on a journey.)