On Motherhood: Through the Years, I Hope My Kids Say These Things about Me

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Do you ever wonder what your kids will say about you when they’re grown up? What they’ll remember about their childhoods and how they were raised? All the hard work you put into loving your kids — it’s not for naught. Everyday, we’re helping to create grown human beings who will think and act on their own — who will contribute to society in great ways, build relationships, and change the world with their ideas and actions and heart. We’re the scaffolding during the construction process of these monuments.

What will our kids say about their childhoods? What will they say about us?

I know that my kids will have stories to tell — and I’m sure that a lot of those stories will contain moments that I’m not proud of, or hilarious things that I’d like to forget.

I do hope though that over the years my kids can say the following about their mom:

My Mom Let Me Fail
This one is so hard. I want to fix it all. When I see a good chance, I want to jump in and make it better to save my kids the heartache, the frustration and the consequences. Consequences are important though — they powerfully link actions to the brain, so we don’t repeat behaviors that yield bad results. If I swoop in to intervene every time one of my kids is about to make a mistake or get hurt, I’m tampering with the natural system of cause and effect. And what kind of message am I sending to my children? That they’re not allowed to fail? That they have to be perfect? When my kids are grown, I hope they can look back and say, “I learned so much from my mom letting me fail. I felt accepted by her, and I discovered how to get back up when I make mistakes.”

My Mom Listened to Me
There are so many things to keep moms busy today — and good things — like new ways of connecting, jobs we love, our hobbies, our homemaking. While I hope my kids can always remember their mom loving life and having interests of her own, I hope they can also say that when they needed me, I was there, listening with my heart through all the noise and distractions of life. And better yet? That I knew them well enough to hear their needs before they even spoke them.

My Mom Had Her Own Interests
Motherhood and loving my children are parts of my identity, but there is so much more. I want my kids to know that a woman is a great many things. I want them to see me exploring the world like I hope they will — pursuing hobbies, reading books, trying new experiences and discovering new art and ideas. I don’t want my children to ever feel pressure that my happiness is dependent on their choices or that my fulfillment hinges on their successes. “She supported us and cheered us on,” I hope they say, “but she also invested in her own continued pursuit of learning opportunities.”

My Mom Set a Good Example of Compassion
Responding to others’ needs and looking for ways to help people in our own circles, in our communities and globally are things that children are taught and learn through role models. I hope my children can say that I always modeled compassion and that I instilled in them a love of people and a desire to have compassion for those around them.

My Mom Made Home a Haven
I may not be able to control the world around my children, but I can certainly do my best to make our home — the foundation of their childhoods and their safe place every night — a calm, loving, peaceful, happy environment. I want homey memories for my kids — family game nights, dinner around the table, snuggling in our pajamas, laughter, cozy beds, forts in the living room, and music in the kitchen. I want them to face life with a foundation of a safe, happy place to come home to. I want them to learn how to create an environment in their own homes someday that restores them after long days. And maybe it’s a selfish need of mine to be needed, but I hope when they’re sick, they’ll always want my chicken soup.

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My Mom Made Mistakes and Apologized
“My mom wasn’t perfect, but she always tried hard. And when she made mistakes, she admitted she could do better.” That’s what I hope my kids say. I want my example to give them permission to make mistakes, too — and to show them that accepting those mistakes and moving forward is part of life.

My Mom Made Me Feel Loved and Accepted No Matter What
More than anything, I want my kids to be able to say that they never ever doubted that they were loved and accepted by us, no matter what they did in life. There are no strings attached to our love. And I hope that when times get rough and my kids are figuring things out the hard way, that maybe they’ll feel most loved then.

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