Heather is a teacher.
Teaching is her ‘other’ passion. Her first occupation? Mom.
It’s a common career, with many uncommon views. Motherhood.
We all have our parenting style. Then we have kids.
We all quickly learn to adjust that style.
I was the perfect parent. Then I had kids.
With two teenage daughters, I adapted my style…just to survive!
Heather and I talk often about raising our daughters; we think there needs to be a support group out there!
Still in the midst of those raisingateen years, I asked Heather to share her thoughts on
“What would anyone want to hear about from me?” She wondered.
Heather laughed, and eventually, reluctantly (I am persistent like that) she agreed.
Motivation to put her words into a guest blog? Inspiration came from her daughter:
through a simple “tweet” #dearyoungerself take you mom’s advice.
You can read moms advice right here…
I have been a mom for almost 18 years and am amazed at how much of a blessing it has been.
Now don’t get me wrong, it has not been easy and this next year will most likely be my most challenging yet… Senior year.
It is my last chance to impart those “wise words of wisdom” before letting her go into the big huge world where I have no control. I then will have 2 more years until my baby sets out on her adventure.
How did I get here and how did we get here without the
problems others have? Here is what I know:
Never forbid –
I learned as I grew up, that forbidding something always made it more interesting. My mother was strict, almost too strict, but not in the way one might think. I was told if I wanted to drink, go ahead. If I wanted to smoke, legal smokes or illegal, go ahead. If I wanted to have sex, go ahead. The twist to all of those permissions was that I had to do it all at home and with my mom, well not the sex (that she would provide the protection I needed). Now if mom said it was ok why should I do it? I don’t really remember consciously thinking this then, but now I see that really was the deal… I never thought all of that stuff was that exciting.
Be open and honest and teach tolerance – Fortunately or unfortunately for my girls we had to use this early and often. We moved to Utah when my girls were very young 3 and 4. Not going to lie I was nervous, Utah is a whole state with a culture very different from mine. I researched the Latter Day Saint Religion and discussed it with my girls. As a result, they were able to stay strong in their beliefs while embracing the culture we moved into, standing on their own two feet! Our neighborhood was awesome, almost like one huge family, but as with any family… we had problems. The first problem was two boys tried to “play around” with some girls; the beware of boys talk: ages 4 and 5. Next, My daughter’s friend called her evil because she wasn’t Mormon. So what does my daughter do? Tells the girl she is not evil, they believe in the same things they just do it in different ways. How old? 6.
Next, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped, right in our own backyard! Now my kids had to learn how to not be afraid in their own bed, many hugs and sleepless nights.
Next, my kids had to learn about alcoholism. My best friend had a horrible drinking problem. My kids learned early how awful that can be. We talked often about how they were feeling and what they should be feeling, never did we discount a thought or reaction, we listened.
All of these things occurred before they were 10; but what is amazing is how these experiences helped them to be so strong and independent young ladies. As we grew as a family and now moved to NY it was tough, the girls and I did not want to leave, but again being open and honest and inclusive with our girls made a difference! We included the girls in our decision to move and they were
able to be a voice in the house we chose. Being open helped my girls feel they were not just along for the ride, but active participants in our family! Now we also have had really tough talks during these last 3 years as my daughter’s best friend tried to commit suicide and is now pregnant at 17. Her reactions to both events and the subsequent conversations has made me proud to be a mom of a level-headed compassionate young woman.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – They hate it at times, but I think the thing that has really helped with my girls being who they are is that I ask those awkward questions, listen for the answers and never stop! If you don’t ask you will never know. The trick is to be prepared that the answers are not always what you were looking for.
Don’t be afraid to let them fail – This is the hardest thing I watch. I can’t be there forever and they need to know how to fail and get back up and try again.
By 14 you need to do your own laundry – I didn’t know how to do laundry until I went to college and even then I was winging it. I think being in charge of their own clothes one makes them aware of the job itself, but also of what they have and that it is important to take care of your things.
Hug and kiss and love no matter what – One of the most important things that my mom always did was to love me unconditionally and to never let me forget she loved me. I don’t care if I was just walking out to the mailbox, if I was leaving the house she told me she loved me. Better than reminding me to wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident, telling me she loved me meant If anything ever happened, God forbid, to either of us we would know we were loved.
This isn’t all I have learned…
or all I have done to help mold these two girls I was entrusted with, but they are some of the most important.
I hope that they will continue to “take mom’s advice”
What they may not know is as I have taught them they have taught me so much more!!!
Maybe I will have to start my own blog to get it all down.
Look for Heather’s blog,
Meanwhile, add to the conversation.
Leave a comment with your parenting survival tips!