16 Things I’ve Learned from Being a Mom for 16 Years
On April 20, 2004 I became somebody’s mama at the tender age of 22. Sitting in the rocking chair in my hospital room all alone holding a tiny baby boy, I was completely unaware of how much my life was about to change.
Today is my 16th mom anniversary and of course the birthday of my first born child. Learning how to be a mother was not easy, but after 16 years I think it’s clear to see I’ve done a good job! Before I get emotional and start watching ALL my son’s baby videos I would like to use this time to share 16 things I’ve learned from being a mom for 16 years.
1. Babies are the Most Precious Creatures in the World
- As a little girl I loved playing with dolls. Dressing them up and stying their hair was one my favorite things to do! I enjoyed everything I knew about motherhood back then. I also loved to hold and play with babies who belonged to my mom’s friends and people at church. I always knew I would one day have my own baby to dress up love, just they way I did with my dolls.
- Experiencing life with my own baby was way more hands on than taking care of my dolls. My heart was overjoyed by just staring at my baby sleep. He was the cutest, most interesting thing I’d ever had the permission to manage 24 hours a day. I’m so thankful for the memories.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Things are not always going to go as planned. I will never forget Kamari’s first birthday party, this was probably the most stressful thing I ever had to plan at the time. I was so upset because the bakery (at the local grocery store) messed up the design on the cake. The theme of the party was Blues Clues and there were two designs to choose from, I picked the cute design but when I went to pick up the cake the day of the party, I was disappointed to see they had given me the other design. I wanted everything to be perfect, but what could I do at this point? All I could do was take the cake home and make the best out of it.
- Just imagine how many more times I’ve had to just “push through” during these 16 years. I’ve learned to relax and just move with the situation and figure out how to make the best of it. You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why things didn’t go a certain way. It’s really just wasted energy.
3. Ask for Help
- Don’t do it alone if you can help it. I was blessed to have my mom since I still lived at home when my baby was born. My mom was such a big help, this was new to me and there were lots of things that never happened during pretend play with my dolls so I needed my mama a lot!
- Me and Hubs have always been good friends so I was also blessed to have him there as well. I couldn’t even imagine raising a son without him.
4. Bath time is fun time
- There is not too much I can say other than I love these pictures of Kamari, he was such a happy baby.
5. Allow them to shine and be their own person
- When Kamari was around 5, I saw star power in him, he showed interest in acting so we signed him up for a few workshops. He’s never been shy and his behavior in school always reflected his passion for entertaining (such a good way to say he was showing out in school).
- At 16, he is fully engaged in making music and very “social media famous” your kids may be interested in keeping up with him on Instagram.
6. Motherhood is an emotional roller coaster
- Ok, so here is the part no one really tells you about before you become a mother. The amount of emotion that goes into having a child is hard to sum up into words. My heart is attached and I want to protect and hold on to them forever, but I know I can’t.
- For example, 16 is the age when you are supposed to get your drivers license. I’m so terrified of my son driving because I know how much focus and responsibility is necessary to safely operate a vehicle. I know I sound old and extra responsible, but hey that’s my baby and I always want the best for him.
7. Naps are the Best
- I’ve always heard my mom say “you better sleep while the baby is sleeping” this could not be more true. Caring for a child of any age is a huge responsibility, and sleep isn’t always on the top of the list.
- Although I get emotional about my boys growing up, I’m glad I now have the luxury to sleep without anyone crying for a bottle or needing a diaper change.
- After 16 years I’ve earned the right to catch up on some rest and get up when I’m ready. I think that qualifies as a Mama Level Up (something I just made up).
8. Laugh as often as possible
- Children truly bring joy into your life. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to laugh at my kids but have to cover my smile because I’m in the middle of a discipline lesson.
- Kids say the darnedest things! Hubs and I have several memorable phrases of the kids that we refer to on a regular basis. Their lack of a filter sometimes just tells it like it is.
9. Don’t be so hard on yourself
- Trust your instincts, there is no child that comes with an instruction manual. It’s really about knowing your kid.
- Remind yourself you are doing a great job and keep pushing through!
10. Listen and be understanding
- I was raised during a time when children were not allowed to communicate their feelings to adults. A lot of my parenting style comes from remembering how things made me feel as a child. I was not allowed to have a voice and stand up for myself.
- I didn’t want my children to feel the way I did, so I have always allowed them the opportunity to tell me whatever it is they need to say, then I decide how to move on based on the information I have. I never want my kids to feel isolated or if I don’t have their backs.
11. Be Supportive
- Always be your child’s biggest cheerleader, there are enough people in the world ready to tear then down as soon as they leave the house.
- Inquire and show interest in the things they like to do.
- Watch and like their YouTube videos
- Also, like and share their content.
12. Don’t forget about You
- All the time you pour in to loving and protecting your children can easily make you forget about the girl who existed before you took on mom life. She is always there just waiting for a chance to make an appearance. Never forget this girl and make sure to do the things that make her happy. Ask someone to babysit and get back to you even if only for an hour.
- Always remember if you are not good, the whole house suffers. Take a break when needed. Mom life is a 24 hour job that is very demanding and draining. It doesn’t feel good to take the stress out on everyone, so remember to be proactive about scheduling some “me time”.
13. Raising a Teen is Interesting
- I chose number 13 to discuss the shift that occurs when that precious baby moves into the teen years. When my son turned 13 I had to tweak my parenting a bit, meaning I had to toughen up.
- Teenagers are good at putting together a story to get out of trouble. I’ve learned to pay attention and stay up to date on what’s happening in his world.
14. Your Kids Think You Know Everything
- Expect to be asked a thousand questions per day
- They ask Google and Siri for answers to fun questions but choose to ask you everything else
15. Show Your Love
- Make sure your kids know you love them. Buying clothes and shoes is not enough, say “I Love You” and say it often. As parents, we are our kids’ first teachers. Equip them with a high level of self esteem to help combat the negativity they will face while engaging with other children at school.
- The world we live in is not made equal for everyone, our job as parents is to educate our children while teaching them to believe in themselves and always push to reach their goals in life.
16. Time Moves Fast Enjoy the Moments
- As I sit here looking through pictures from 16 years ago I’m reminded how fast time has gone. It still feels like yesterday when I brought that perfect little baby home from the hospital. The fact that he’s 16 is mind blowing!
- I constantly find myself asking “what happened to my baby?” He looks like a grown man now and sometimes it just too much for my poor heart.