To all the Mothers I have Loved Before...

The following is part of a Bloggect organized by Kara @ Cape Buffalo. To find out more and/or check out the other participating Bloggers, go here.

This is my very first Mother's Day. This time last year I was extremely pregnant, dragging myself from couch to bed, waiting. This time last year I was reading every uninspired parenting magazine for clues and insight and advice. This time last year, when I heard the word, "mother" I thought of my own. Days later that would change. I would be mother (who, what, how!?) and my mom would be a grandma.

"Titles" have always caught me off guard. "Fiancee" was always an impossible word for me and "wife" took me some time to get used to. I was unable to change my name legally after marriage because, simply, I liked my name. I liked the words that had become my identity over the years and chose not to change them. "Mom" was surreal the first few days. I would look around for my own, not thinking that one was referring to me.

Through the months I fell in love with, "mom." It felt natural. Beyond expectations, I felt it suited me. I felt closer to myself and to the mothers who had raised me. My mother and two grandmothers who I grew up loving and admiring and laughing with.

Being that this is my first Mothers Day, I thought I would turn to the mothers I know the most for their advice and insight into motherhood. "What is the advice you wish to pass on to me, new mother"

Advice from my Mother/Archer's Gammy:

1. Eat dinner as a family as much as possible. In my opinion, "The family dinner" is the most important event that bonds a family. It is the one time that the family sits down together to share their day, discuss topics, and listen to each other.

2. As a mother, you will blow it from time to time. Never be afraid to apologize and admit to your children if you have made a mistake.

3. As much as you teach your children, be willing to listen and learn from them. My children are my greatest teachers.

4. Set strict limits on TV, video games, and computer use. This is really HARD to enforce but is well worth the fight.

5. Teach your children good nutrition by offering them nutritional food. Never keep sodas or lots of junk food in the house and make them a nutritious lunch for school.

6. Remember Mr. Roger's wisdom and let your children know every day that you love them "just the way they are." Don't expect them to be anything but who they are.

7. Be an example to them. Kids learn most by watching you than by anything you say. And they remember everything so be your best around them as much as possible.

8. Expose them to the arts. They won't get enough of them in school.

9. Give your children space to find out who they are. Our children are more like our ancestors than like us, so don't identify yourself with them or assume they are like you. Most likely they aren't.

10. Teach a code of ethics and set rules that you can stick too. Kids need and want limits. And they need something to pull from when times get rough.

11. Follow your heart when it comes to parenting. You will never parent each child the same because each child is different.

12. Let your children make mistakes and learn from them. This is the hardest thing to do. You cannot shield them from pain. Life is difficult and they need to learn how to deal with their problems and learn from their mistakes.

13. Try not to take everything too seriously. When things don't turn out just the way you had thought they would, find joy in the new turn of events.

14. Develop trust through communication and honesty. If you aren't honest with them, how can you expect them to be honest with you?

15. Let the punishment fit the crime. Simply grounding a child isn't necessarily the best punishment.

16. Don't forget to be joyful!!! Children are an endless source of joy.

There are a few other things. Some of these I did well. Some of these I could have done better. We can only do our best and follow our heart..... I will leave you with my funny mother wisdom that I made up in the middle of getting you through your teen years:

Motherhood is a life sentence!

I love you.

Advice From My Nana/ Archer's Nanana:

Your mother, my daughter Wendy, remarked to me the other day, "Being a mother is a lifetime sentence!" It's unconditional love, and we hate to see those whom we love suffer in any way. Life is not all easy and we know that, but nonetheless we want it to be easy for our kids.

One of the wisest things ever said to me about motherhood, was a remark made by a friend of mine called Jane who had 5 kids. One day after my two daughters grew up and I was trying to solve one or another of their problems, Jane remarked to me, "Pat I learned years ago that when our kids phone us and complain about their problems, we mothers are not supposed to solve them. We're just supposed to listen. Your kids don't want you to solve their problems, they want to solve their own problems. They simply want to know you sympathize."

After a mother listens to her children and tells them that she knows and understands how difficult it is for them to be going through whatever they are going through, then the child hangs up the phone totally happy and satisfied. That young person can go on in life and face whatever challenge he or she is facing with renewed courage and energy. Of course, meanwhile the mother is left worrying about her son or daughter, but chances are that same child is walking away from the phone whistling, ready to face the day again. Pretty soon their problem will be solved and everything will be wonderful again and the mother might not even hear about it.

I have tried to remember this advice and follow it. I still get off balance and attempt to solve my children's problems, but I try not to. Deep inside, I know, they don't want me to solve their problems; they just want me to sympathize. Perhaps that's one of the best definitions of a mother's love: A mother is a friend who cares and listens when you need a sympathetic ear.

Advice From my Grandma/Archer's Gigi

Motherhood should be enjoyed with the bad and the good, always being positive and loving. I loved being a mother and watching my children grow and mature. The advice I'd like to give (you) is to let the baby adapt to your life. As a little one, take him/her where you're going. This also applies to children as they grow up. YOU ARE THE PARENT!. Also, children should have chores to do. When my children learned to walk, they put their dirty clothes in the laundry. It was a positive action and verbally rewarded. Children should use good table and social manners whether at home or out. Chores should be delegated to children and they as well as good grades should not be monitarily rewarded.

...Of course love is the most important advice to impart and give.

Every day I learn something new as a mother, but as we approach Mothers Day I would like to pay homage to the motherS. The motherS who have raised me and the motherS who come and read this blog and the motherS through time, all insightful and encouraging and inspiring, all of whom have ideas and opinions. The "it takes a village" mentality is in all of us. We all want to impart our wisdom, to share our stories, to help each other. It is one of the great wonders of the woman, her solidarity with other mothers, new mothers like me; her ability to mother as a mom, a grandma, a great grandma and beyond. And to all of the "moms" who have raised me... All the mothers I have loved before, I thank you for offering your love and insight to me, my first year with a little one, my first year as a mommy.

Like my mother mentioned above and then my nana as well, "mothering is a life sentence."

Alright, Archer. Let's do this...And awaaaaay weeeee goooooooooooo!!!

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Canadian Mommy | 12:44 PM

That is some awesome advice! Your family seems great!
Happy Mother's day! (soon anyway)

Anonymous | 2:16 PM

What a great post! Something to dig out on the days that being a mom is a little less than ideal.

Kudos, mama!

Kara | 2:28 PM

Wow. You should publish this or at least give it a permanant home on your side bar!

Anonymous | 8:11 PM

What an amazing tribute to the women in your life and to mothers in general. It's nice to hear about mothering without all the Lord/Jesus/Savior stuff laced in (that's what I get...). Ack.

kittenpie | 9:34 PM

What awesome ladies you and Archer have in your lives. Happy mother's day to all of you.

Gina | 10:41 PM

Beautiful! I love that you wrote all this down for the rest of us to benefit from. All wonderful advice and a lovely gift to pay homage to those who have uplifted you, motherS...

Tearfree | 5:50 AM

Fantastic post!

MrsFortune | 12:00 PM

Oh I am so crying right now. It's interesting too, to read the differences between your mom, grandmother, etc. Very!

I'm getting used to mom, now, too. It's weird, but I'm likin' it.

Kat | 12:48 PM

Aweome post - as a non-mother, I relish my title as "Aunt" and give big props to all the mommies out there - include you and your mamas!

Mom101 | 1:18 PM

Again, you have rendered me with nothing to add. Will you do all my blog posts from now on? Please?

Anonymous | 6:42 PM

This is so lovely. What a wonderful tribute. (And I LOVE the picture!)

Her Bad Mother | 7:27 PM

This is beautiful. Makes me miss my Grandma (many things make me miss her, but this made me feel it keenly. What you got with your ladies, it is GOOD.)

Anonymous | 11:50 PM

Hey Bec...I looooooveeee reading your blog!!! It is so amazing how you can write what one thinks but doesn't know how to express!!! I love you and we need to catch up!! Miss you...

Anonymous | 10:48 AM

Loved the post! thanks for sharing the wise advise from your family!

Anonymous | 9:46 AM

I'm new to the blog, just read your book, so I'm at work on a Monday reading from October 05 forward. Much more fun that checking my Outlook for work stuff. Anyway, I had to email myself all that wisdom for the someday I have kids. Love it. You're a great mom (which obviously runs in the genes) :)