I often ask my followers and clients what topic they would like me to address, today’s suggestion came from close to home: My own daughter who is a mother of 3, faces the challenges of many parents, especially during the busy holiday season.
First of all, that sweet little Christmas picture of everyone in matching outfits smiling in front of the fireplace may look seamless, but let’s be real, it took 40 takes because the kids were pushing each other, someone doesn’t like their outfit, or where they are standing, and the dog probably photo bombed several times. I look at these moments and I wonder if you’re going to remember the challenges or the smiles.
I started doing scrapbooking as a hobby years ago, and next to the pictures I like to write the story about when the picture was taken. My son was a very silly and energetic child so there was always a backstory to the moment. In one picture, when he was 6 yrs old, he had received a haircut, he placed a big chunk of hair under his armpit and said “this is what I will look like as a teenager”. That still makes me laugh today, and he’s now 21 yrs old. I’m certain he will be thrilled with me sharing this!
As you go through each stage of parenting remember this:
- The little newborn you gaze at for hours, who wakes you up at all hours of the night, will one day be 30 and gazing at their own baby. Cherish that little face and the moments in the middle of the night when it’s just the two of you.
- That 2 year old who never stops running and has a favorite word, “mine!” will one day be deciding their life choices and you hope that they will be as head strong and determined in achieving their dreams.
- The middle schooler who has a million and one activities going on is learning to multi task, be part of a team, and socially grow into the world. Encourage them to do everything they want and to be sure they finish everything they start. These are the lessons they will need to be a good employee and friend as an adult.
- Last, but certainly not least, the TEENAGER. This one is the most challenging because they are letting go of the child and figuring out who they will be as an adult. They want you in their life, but not in their business. They want you to care, but they want to be trusted. They need you for support, but will pretend they old enough to make decisions. They are walking contradictions. But it is a crucial time to not give up. I used to say my parenting style was this, I gave freedom with limitations. If it affected their health and safety, I had the ultimate say. Otherwise, I would encourage them to make a decision while explaining what consequences could be expected from those decisions.
All of these phases of parenting have their own challenges. Don’t be so hard on yourself as a parent! I write this today to encourage you to “not sweat the small stuff”.
Enjoy each and every memory. When things seem overwhelming and you are shopping, cooking, decorating, and preparing, stop and observe each child and instill the joy of the moment. Show your children that life is about the fun not the stress. That it’s about the time we spend together, not the gifts. That it’s about doing for others, rather than what’s in it for them.
Every moment is an opportunity to be an example, a teacher, a guide, a mentor, an inspiration, and to be the greatest influence your children will have in their childhood and throughout life.
This too shall pass, and soon you will be begging your children to call and come over. Don’t rush it or focus on the hustle and bustle, but rather savor these precious moments, for they will be remembered in the hearts of your family and for generations to come!
Have a wonderful Holiday Season!
Love and Blessings, Maureen