Growth Spurts: Wisdom (or Something) at 40
I turn 40 years old this month. 40! I am really having a hard time believing it. No, I don’t think that 40 is old; I’m just surprised to have gotten here so quickly.
So now that I’m in my fifth decade of life (Oh my gosh…), I feel like I have some wisdom to share regarding mamahood. Or at least stuff I’ve learned through my personal experiences. So here you go, free of charge. Glean what you will–
The happiest days are the days when babies are born! Recognize and marvel at the wonder of human life. Don’t miss the miraculous.
While still appreciating the miraculous…Don’t get discouraged during the first weeks of a newborn’s life. They WILL eventually get their days and nights straight, and they WILL eventually be able to go longer than the [seemingly] 20 minutes between feedings. Sleep whenever you can; let the dishes, laundry, and dust pile up; and just do what it takes to survive those first weeks. This often involves several bubble baths and a great deal of chocolate.
It really is okay if you decide to formula-feed rather than breastfeed. And if you breastfeed, it’s okay if you feel more comfortable covering up when feeding in public.
Potty training will test your sanity.
“Tired” is more of a personality trait than a feeling, when you’re a mother. But it’s a good kind of tired. It’s rewarding. Or it will be.
Television is a terrible parent, but it isn’t a bad babysitter sometimes. Let’s be honest–when you have three kids under the age of four, some days just call for a Mary Poppins-length movie.
If you work hard to be consistent with discipline when your children are very young, your job will be made easier as they get older. Give them a strong foundation.
If your kids don’t want to play sports, don’t make them. If they do want to play sports, let them have fun and just be kids about it.
If you are the only neat freak in your house, you will not win. Ever.
Each of your children has their own love language and communication style. Learn it and act on it accordingly.
Listen. Listen. Listen. Your children need to be assured that you hear them and want to understand them. This starts at Day 1.
Be interested in the things your children are interested in. Even if you aren’t.
When you make a mistake or hurt your child’s feelings, be quick to apologize and ask their forgiveness. Set an example for them to follow when they are the ones who need to apologize.
There really is something that happens when your children become teenagers that can’t be explained…or understood…or handled very well sometimes. Prayer is imperative. So is patience. Also chocolate.
It is hardest to parent the child who is most like you. This is when it’s good to have a spouse to tag-team with, as they have already learned a thing or two about how to handle these types of situations/attitudes/meltdowns.
Ask your children about their day. Every day. Get creative with your questions and steer clear of the ones that lead only to yes-or-no answers.
Avoid behavior modification and focus on the heart of the child behind their behavior. Get to the root of the issue (selfishness, laziness, pride, anger, etc.) and deal with that. Remember that you are guiding and shaping their character; their actions are simply the result of what is in their heart. (This is very telling for EACH of us!)
Don’t give up on your children. Do everything you can to reach out to them, to help them, to love them.
The days are long, but the years are short. Soak up every minute with your children.
Carrie Bevell Partridge will be celebrating her 40 years of life on March 5th, with the ones she loves most in this world and who bring her the most joy–Kevin, Callie, Caleb, and Katie Partridge. Also chocolate.