Have you ever heard the quote “Begin with the end in mind?” It means that before you start something, you should know what your end goal is.
When you approach life “with the end in mind,” you consider what will be most important to you when you’re nearing the end. And you start to live with those values in mind today.
As moms, we often forget about what we’re trying to achieve. After all, we have laundry to do, dinner to make, and appointments to get to.
But someday, this crazy season will be over and all we’ll have is memories and reflections. What will we wish we knew when we were in the thick of motherhood?
I’ve gathered up some advice from moms of grown children. They have all shared with me “what they wish they knew then.”
After all, who is better to learn from then moms have gone before us?
Advice from Moms of Grown Children
People always say, “Enjoy your kids when they’re little, it won’t last long.” And, “The days are long but the years are short.”
These things are true but impossible to grasp at the time people say them. My experience is that each year goes faster than the one before.
My advice…train them relentlessly for the first 5 years and you (and everyone else) will enjoy them FOREVER!”
I’ve had seasons where I was very intentional in my parenting and other seasons where I coasted. I guess this is normal. My experience is that the kids will awaken you from a coasting pattern with bad behavior!
My advice is to think long term & big picture. The 3-year-old selfish tantrum won’t go away on its own, and contrary to popular belief—they won’t ‘grow out of it.’ It simply changes forms.
They may not throw themselves into the floor anymore, but a grown adult can pout and punish with the same selfish pride if they aren’t taught a different way.
-Cristie Logan Cerniglia | Follow her on Facebook
ASK FOR HELP AS OFTEN AS YOU NEED TO.
Don’t ever let anyone make you think that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
Instead of trying to take on too many things yourself, be brave and know that it is perfectly ok to need help.
-Clarissa Laskey | PassportsAndParenting.com
Let your kid fail occasionally so they figure out how to do it.
And then successfully get back on track using their own strength of will.
As a mom of a struggling college freshman, I wish I had let him fail when he was young and not micromanaged him into success so that he has no clue how to succeed on his own.
-Diane Emery Hoffmaster | suburbia-unwrapped.com
Talk to them about the hard stuff, even if it’s difficult for you, don’t let them see that it’s difficult for you.
This way, you’ve opened the lines of much-needed communication AND shown them it’s not as hard as they might’ve thought to talk to you about difficult topics.
Make it okay for kids to talk to you about smoking, drugs/drinking, sex so that, if they have issues, they come to you and know you’ll be okay with it. My kids have never not confided in me about everything and anything, and I’m so proud of that .
-Lisa Douglas | crazyadventuresinparenting.com
Remember that it gets better.
They won’t always wake up several times during the night. They won’t go to Kindergarten in a diaper. Each child has their own milestone timeline.
All the things that feel so big when you’re in the trenches, aren’t so important when you look back and see the big picture.
Hang in there, mama. You’re doing a great job.
-Whitney Cornelison | SimplifyingFamily.com
If they put up a wall, break it down. Push through it to get to their heart. Be their advocate and biggest fan. Relationships first, above all.
-Laurie Bostwick | successfulhomemakers.com
Don’t ever be too busy to do silly things with them or to listen to the little things. When they get older they’ll want to do more and talk more with you.
Also, always build them up with positive comments instead of criticism. It’s a tough world out there and they need to be strong.
And I agree with the others who say let them make mistakes. There’s no better way to learn.
One more thing, instead of doing everything for them, teach them how to do it themselves. They’ll thank you when they’re older.
-Angie Kittrell Kraeske | postcardsfromtheridge.com
Think before you say, “No.” We get into the habit of saying no automatically.
I read an article when my kids were young (they are now adults) written by a mom who lost her child. She urged moms to say YES more often because she regretted not doing so. That article stuck with me and I made a point of at least thinking before I said no. I have never regretted it.
Important conversations happen in the car when your kids can’t escape you. I offered many “mom lessons” on the way to or from school in the car.
Equally important, I was silent when I picked up my kids other than, “How are you?” and they always filled the void with details.
-Wendy Sondov | themondaybox.com
Train them when they are young. If you want them to be polite, practice being polite. Role play.
We trained our kids on how to greet guests (by having us go out and ring the bell), how to sit in an airplane (by sitting in a chair not fidgeting for up to 10 minutes), trained them on how to open gifts. Trained them to not interrupt by putting their hand lightly on our shoulder.
They learn by doing. Role-playing is HUGE. (15 and 13 and they still use the hand on shoulder).
-Nathalie Brown | Pressprintparty.com
Your child will be a product of your parenting so always role model what you want them to do rather than just telling them.
Always explain your decisions even if you think they are too young to learn, they’re not.
When your child reaches out to you, it will always be at the most inconvenient time for you. Be prepared to drop everything and listen up even at midnight after a long day at work because that might be the only time they open up.
-Emma John Welford | tuppennysfireplace.com
I was a mum the first time at age 19 and again at 32 and 34. My eldest son will turn 18 this summer. What I have learned most is that you will never be perfect and neither will they.
You have to expect that things won’t run smoothly and that being a parent is the rough with the smooth. When you start motherhood it is like owning a pet in the way that they will love you no matter what and don’t care if you have makeup on, just as long as you give them a cuddle and tell them everything is good.
-Samantha Milner | Recipethis.com
Don’t parent from a place of what others will think about you, because it’s not about you.
Your children will make choices that will sometimes make you cringe or think, “What will others think?”. Sometimes those choices will be morally or ethically wrong and you’ll need to step in and correct or disciple the child. But it needs to be for their benefit, not because of how it made you look as a mom. Sometimes those choices are not wrong, they’re just different from what you want for your child.
-Angi Schneider | SchneiderPeeps.com
Research shows that the first 1000 days (including pregnancy) is the period where the most brain development happens in your child’s life. So don’t feel guilty about letting other things slide to talk to, play with and read to your child – as well as teach them routines and other self-management skills – during those first years. What’s more, the memories of these times will help sustain you when they become teenagers and unrecognizable versions of their childhood selves!
-Kate Campion | mysweethomelife.com
I think my best advice for young mothers is to mean what you say.
For instance, you say to your kids “We have some errands to run. If you’re good while we are doing them, I will take you for ice cream!” What if they are not good? Are you going to cancel the ice cream? Or will you give in to their sad faces and puppy dog eyes?!
Say you have multiple kids involved in this deal. What if one is not good but the other one or more is good? Do you take them all to the ice cream shop and deny the one that acted out? I think we all know how ugly that scene could become!
So, basically, if you are going to take them for ice cream regardless of their behavior, then don’t say that the trip is conditional on their behavior. In other words, mean what you say! It’s not as easy as it sounds!
Other than that, enjoy every moment you have with them! Love them, play with them, teach them and listen to them! They do grow up way too quickly!
-Becky Jewart (my mom!)
Mothers have the awesome privilege and responsibility to set the atmosphere for the home and family. My children are all grown so I understand that the days can be long but the years go by fast.
As a parent, we are the authority. Everyone has their own opinion, therefore, my husband and I made God’s opinion the most important of all.
In the book of Deuteronomy, God instructs us to teach our children His laws and principles while you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you rise up. That means teaching is a full-time job!
Life is full of many issues and challenges and as we navigated them we would include our children so that they would understand how faith, truth and right and wrong mattered always. We paused countless TV shows, movies, and songs to talk about what was seen or heard.
As parents you want to be proactive instead of reactive, the greatest example of this is actions always follow attitudes, therefore, we would try to punish the attitude before we had to deal with the actions.
Overall, as you teach kindness and love to your children you need to show them kindness and love! Enjoy these special years!!
Someone once told me that the days are long, but the years are short. Today, I look at my young adult children and reflect on this statement.
I laugh to myself as I remember the evening when I had them both fed, bathed, in PJs and ready for bedtime books, just to realize it was only 6 pm.
I smile as I think back on the days when it felt like I had just cleaned up from one meal only to spin around to begin making another.
I get a little teary when I hear these words in my head from back then -‘Mommy, you are my best friend.’
And I full-on cry when I realize that those years are gone and I can never get them back.
We’re currently in the time of their lives that revolves around friends, school, dating and most importantly, themselves.
Those days were definitely long, but the years were certainly were way too short. Treasure it all.