Learning From Our Moms and Teaching Our Kids
It gets you thinking, doesn’t it? Mother’s Day? All flowers and brunches, hand-printed cards and Popsicle-stick presents, right? There’s more than meets the eye to our relationships with our parents and our children. What I’ve learned, like so many, and what I try to teach my kids is that we are all much more than the moments. There will always be memories in which our kids think back and say, “Wow, that was amazing!” And, the flip side is that there will be (many) times that they say, “What the heck were they thinking?”
I'm blessed with an awesome mom, stepmom, mother-in-law and my fondest memories are of my grandmothers, but here’s the truth…we parents are human beings; and as human beings we have flaws. Our parents have flaws. Their parents? And the ones before that? You guessed it. Flaws. Mistakes. Bumbles. Inexperience. All of it.
There were the moments – those moments, when we, or they, were not at their best. When we, or they, fumbled and stumbled. Hopefully, faithfully, honorably – most of us do all of that with the right intentions. With LOVE in our actions. With COMPASSION in our hearts.
Did our moms, step-moms and grandmothers always get it right? Do we always get it right? No way. Do we always come out looking like a parenting rock star? Hardly. But hopefully, our hearts are in the right place and as children AND mothers – we can get to a place where we see that we are more than the individual moments. As long as we are continuously working towards positive progress and raising the next generation to hopefully make at least ONE less crazy mistake than we have, we’re moving forward.
Mothers are people. We come from a long lineage of who knows what from who knows where. But in the end, it’s up to us to decide which lessons we take, which we keep, which we teach to the generation we raise, and the impact we make on the generation they raise.
We’re all more than the moments. We can look to the past and pick out the things that were inspired, smart, funny, eclectic, compassionate and kind – and infuse our own parenting with those powerful memories and tools. And the things we maybe wished were different? Well, we tuck those into experience. We learn from them. Grow from them. Have meaningful conversations with our kids from them.
Mother’s Day – we all want our kids to think we’re the best thing since sliced bread. That’s great, right? But so is the lesson that we make mistakes and if we can show our kids that in spite of our bumbles – they are loved, and valued and respected – we can help them make the shifts and changes each generation before has done to make a better life for the next in line.
Let’s celebrate Mother’s Day this year in that way. Honoring those who came before – for ALL they are and all they were. Every single moment teaches us something and gives us the opportunity to teach someone else. That is the gift that keeps on giving.
Celebrate. Big, small, and every moment in between – because we are ALL more than each moment. Happy Mother’s Day.
Amy McCready's new book is "The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World." Learn more at AmyMcCready.com.