Advice For Parents

It’s Back-To-School time again and parents all over the country are taking first day of school pictures, kissing their kids and wiping away the tears as they watch their children leave for school. For the past 16 years, I have been a part of this. Yesterday morning, though, as I watched my baby start his junior year of high school, I realized that I only get to do this for one more year. Next year will be the last year to bake first day of school chocolate chip cookies, the last year to annoy show love to any of my children by taking first day of school pictures … the last first day of school. GASP!

How did this happen so quickly? I remember the first first day of school like it was yesterday. I think I was more scared than Derek was when I left him at school. I felt like I was leaving a part of my heart there. And I knew that he would come home different – a little more independent and one step closer to growing up. It was a very long day for me and I can still remember the feeling when I saw him at the end of the day. Shockingly, he was fine and so was I. Now, Derek and Brittany have both graduated and I am down to one again. As I am going through this “letting go” phase, here are a few things that I am learning. Maybe it can help you also.

  1. Have fun!  I am so amazed by how quickly the years have gone by. Make sure you enjoy every stage that your kids go through. I remember Derek’s dinosaur phase. He had pictures of dinosaurs cut out and taped all over his walls. I learned all their names and he and I told stories about them each night. I didn’t think Brittany’s princess phase would ever end … but it did. I am so glad that we had our tea parties and princess parties then and I didn’t put them off or they never would have happened. Don’t be so busy that you don’t enjoy your kids. Now that my kids are all teenagers or older, it seems that the times they are home and want to talk are the times when I’m the busiest. But, you know what? I try to always stop what I’m doing and make time for them. I know it won’t last and I want to make the most of it.
  2. Let them fail.  I think the biggest mistake I made as a mom is not letting my kids fail enough. I thought that “helping” them succeed would instill a desire for success and motivate them to dream big. Unfortunately, it didn’t. It just made them a bit dependent on me and they didn’t learn consequences for laziness early enough.
  3. Move on with your own life. One of my favorite philosophers, Dr. Seuss, said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” This is how I’m trying to look at parenting. OK, yes, there were tears in my eyes and a slight lump in my throat yesterday, but that’s fine. I am so happy for the times I have had with my kids and I look forward to watching them grow into the men and woman that God made them to be. And I am designing my life after my active parenting is done. I think that is a key that a lot of moms forget. They get to the empty nest stage and don’t know what to do with themselves. Now is the time to reinvent yourself and figure out what God has planned for you in the next stage of life. Don't underestimate your worth and God's plan for you also. Click To Tweet

So, today, I will eat a cookie, take a deep breath, pray for my kids and focus on God’s plan for me. Let’s embrace this journey and enjoy every moment!

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