My dearest daughters, The month of May has arrived, and with it come May flowers and Mother’s Day and all sorts of loveliness. For me Mother’s Day was always special. It was a chance to pay tribute to the woman who helped get me through life, the woman who loves me in spite of myself, and who loved you almost as much as I do — before she even knew you. And despite absolutely adoring your Nana, for me the true meaning of Mother’s Day is found in your faces. I am a mother because you made me a mother. And in making me a mother you made me better. It will always be the thing in life for which I am most thankful for and humbled by.
My sweet Jalayla: for the past eight years you have given me Mother’s Day cards, notes, and drawings. Even before you could read and write you somehow managed to give me some sort of token to express your love for me. I imagine Lola will follow in your footsteps as you vowed to teach her everything you know. This year for Mother’s Day I decided to do something for you both. So, I am writing you a letter (because by now you know how much I love to write them). In it you will find some of the things I would like you to know before you become a parent. At the same time I want you to remember that there is a possibility you will not truly come to know these things until you are mothers yourselves. That’s completely okay. It is also amazingly beautiful because there is something about being someone’s mama that changes the manner in which you see the world and the manner in which you hope to leave it. And so, here are 22 things I want you to know and learn before you celebrate your first Mother’s Day as a mother.
Lessons for my daughters 1 of 23
Click through for 22 things I want my daughters to know and learn before they become mothers.
Don’t trade your children for anything 2 of 23
This week you read me a poem you had written. In it you shared that you wouldn't trade me or our family for anything. The night before you read it to me, I was talking to nana on the phone about some of the things that I worry about regarding our future. She reminded me that we would be just fine, that you would be happy no matter what because you have your family. One day you will grow up and start your own family, and I hope that you will love and value them so much that you wouldn't trade them for anything. Family first. Everything else is secondary.
Make room 3 of 23
You will have times when you wonder if your heart can harness the amount of love you desire to give. When given the opportunity, the heart can do astounding things. I never knew I could love anyone or anything as much as my firstborn. I was pleasantly moved by my heart's ability to make room to love a second, also with my whole heart. Allow your heart to make room for all the blessings brought into your life.
Remember they are watching 4 of 23
Your little eyes follow me even when I don't realize it. They often prompt me to think twice and be slow to speak when my emotions have gotten the best of me. Children model what they see; the example that we set for them provides the framework for how they will carry themselves. Always carry yourself in a manner that you would not regret if your children were watching.
Live in the moment 5 of 23
Never in my life did I want to freeze time, until I became a mother. I can't tell you how many times I have wished that I could just immerse myself in your childhoods. When you become a parent you will find yourself saying that time goes by so fast. You will wonder how something so miraculous can occur within what feels like the blink of an eye. Life does not provide us with a pause button, but it does present us with opportunity. Live in the moments. Live in your moments. Take them in, enjoy them and make them worthy of recollection. When you are older you will miss and long for some of these moments, but if you have lived in them you will be grateful.
Remember that this too shall pass 6 of 23
By all means prepare for tomorrow. You can't predict the future, and life will often present you with things beyond your control. Instead of hiding out in an attempt to avoid potential showers, bask in the sunshine. Take in all the beauty life has to offer. Those memories will often warm your heart when it is heavy, and they will be a reminder that eventually the storm will pass.
Find the beauty in the mess 7 of 23
Recently this lesson was reiterated to me thanks to a friend. The sink is currently filled with dirty dishes, which include baby spoons and Princess Tiana silverware. The dishes are a representation of the composition of my family, which includes the two of you. I couldn't imagine my life being as sweet without either of you.
Marry someone you would be honored to say is the parent of your children 8 of 23
Should you decide that you want to be married, I urge you to ask yourself if the person you marry is someone you would want to be the father of your children. Your daddy loves you with every ounce of his being, and I rejoice in the fact that I am able to say he is your father.
Live a little 9 of 23
Have fun, experience life and don't be afraid to take chances. One of my biggest mistakes was thinking that I had to have it all figured out. I had it all wrong. This is your time to figure out who you are. Try on different hats, find out what makes your heart sing and do it. Take a leap of faith. If things don't go as planned, at least you know you tried. And if you need us, we'll be here.
Come to the realization that mistakes are inevitable 10 of 23
Don't beat yourself up about the mistakes that you have made. From time to time I still find myself groaning over the things I wish I did differently in my teens and twenties. Sure, I've made my share of mistakes, and I will very likely make more. I will even make them as a parent, and for me that is the hard part. But I strive to live a life in which the things that define me aren't the mistakes I have made, but rather what I did after them.
Forgive 11 of 23
I'm not proud of some of the choices I've made in life but I am learning to forgive myself for them. There is freedom in forgiveness. And by learning to forgive yourself of your wrongs you can help your children learn to forgive themselves too.
Let them teach you 12 of 23
The two of you have taught me so much about life and love. Sometimes when I don't know what to do, if I am still for a moment and I pay close attention, you tell me exactly what you need without uttering a word. While I hope to teach you both about life, I am grateful for the lessons that you have taught me.
Get really great at listening 13 of 23
Your children are going to have a lot to say. They are going to need you to listen. It is your job to help them see that their voice matters, and what they have to say is important. So get really great at listening.
Start planting your trees 14 of 23
Recently I wrote about a saying I once came across about how the older generation plants trees so that the younger generation can have shade. As you make your decisions, don't just think about immediate gratification. Think about the future, the generation that will one day enjoy the shade that you created. I believe we aren't here simply to inhabit the earth but to make it better because of our existence.
Learn that the greatest gift you can give is you 15 of 23
Kids love toys and treats, but above all they love their parents. Knowing how precious time is, what better gift can you give to your children than your full attention?
Parenting isn’t “one size fits all” 16 of 23
There isn't just one way to do things, and sometimes even the experts get it wrong. There will be people who don't agree with you and take it upon themselves to be vocal about it. People may tell you what you should do, but in the end you know your family better than anyone. So do what you feel is best. Listen to your heart.
Beware of the Internet 17 of 23
The worst thing I did while pregnant was google my symptoms. If you read the Internet, by the time you are done you will be convinced that you or the person you love are on the verge of death. You will be consumed with worry and will have caused yourself some unnecessary anxiety. When it comes to medical concerns, seek professional advice. And if something doesn't sit well, be persistent.
Be your own advocate 18 of 23
Learn to stand up for yourself. Allow your voice to be heard. Express yourself in an articulate, earnest, and respectful manner. Get good at standing up for yourself. It will help prepare you for those times when you need to act as your child's voice and advocate on their behalf.
Children are dream catalysts, not crushers 19 of 23
There are those who believe that life stops once you have children. Your dreams are put on hold at best, and at worst you have to give them up. If anything, with your arrivals I dreamed bigger than I ever had. I worked harder to make my dreams a reality, and seeing things come to fruition held even more meaning now that I had you all to share it with.
Have faith 20 of 23
The world can be a scary place. The news will most often cause you to want to live in a bubble. But you must keep living. Have faith. Faith in yourself, faith in humanity, and faith in God. There will be times when your faith will be the only thing that will carry you through.
Be their safe place 21 of 23
Talk to your child, listen to your child and let them know that they can come to you no matter what. Be the person they can go to when they are scared, facing a challenge, and in need of comfort. Be your child's safe place.
Sometimes mother doesn’t know best 22 of 23
I will be here for you for always. And I want you to know that when asked (and probably sometimes even when not, though I'll work on that), I will give you my honest opinion. I will tell you what I think is best. But remember that I am human, which means there is a possibility that I am wrong or mistaken. While I hope to impart wisdom into your lives, I also hope to raise women who will trust their judgment and in the end do what they believe is best — even if it isn't necessarily what I think is best.
You are going to rock 23 of 23
You already rock.
In the event that you somehow become a mother before all of these lessons have been solidified for you, don’t fret. You will constantly be presented with the opportunity to learn, and sometimes life will call for a need to modify the lesson plan. These are just a handful of the things I want to teach you, but above all I want you to know that you will never experience a love more precious than the love of a child. And when you do become a mother, you will come to understand why I made the choices I did — from the carefully calculated ones to the occasional leaps. They were all made out of my love for you and the joy I felt and feel as your mom, every day.
Photos from my Instagram @hismrshermr
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