When I look back at all the criticism and self inflicted guilt I put myself through when I had my first child at tender eighteen, all I could do is laugh and be grateful for those moments. Over the years of steep hills and unknown roads, I have discovered that one on my noblest missions in life was just that: to be a mother. I will never have all the right answers but I do have four wonderful grown-up kids who are a faithful testimony of my own growing process as a mother, woman, and a better spiritual being.
My children have taught me many lessons, not all have come to me the easy way. Mothering is a long process of trial and error. It is made up of tears of joy and pain. Challenges are always there and when it comes to make the right decision, there’s always a hint of doubt, especially when raising more than one child all with completely different personalities. What could work fine with one of them would be a catastrophe if applied to the other. There’s no psychology book able to provide with the right answers. Mothering is about been able to risk, reflect, take action, show compassion, be flexible, be able to admit our own mistakes, listen, be patient, and feel an unconditional but detached and tough love. These are the lessons my children taught me:
1. Been a mother does not mean that we know it all. Yes, we have been there, where they probably are now, but the fact that we are all different means that the outcomes might not be the same. Guide them, be there for them, but allow them to walk their own path—even if it hurts.
2. Honor their individuality. Do not pretend for them to be your clone. We all come to this world with a mission and it is their unique task to find it. Embrace them just the way they are.
3. Listen closely not just with your ears but with your heart. Mothers have a special instinct. Listen to their gestures. Their silence can tell you a lot more than their words.
4. Communicate with them honestly. Let them know that you are human with strengths and weaknesses. They will appreciate you as the person, to whom they can turn to when they need to release and relief their minds, knowing that you will be there to listen without judging.
5. Always (and I mean always) tell them how much you love them. Show them how special they are to you. Your children are a blessing; the sacred entities life brings to your life to help you and give a special purpose to each of your days.
6. Learn how to say “no” along with a valid explanation. “No” without reason causes confusion and in some cases resentment. If they can’t understand, they will not be able to learn.
7. Celebrate life with them. Encourage them to be their best, to dream and make those dreams real. True happiness comes with the simple things in life.
8. Teach them to feel, to give in silence, and to be proud of whom they are validating the qualities and feelings of those around them.
My road along my children is not finished. We still have many memories to write together and many more lessons to learn from each other. My initial criticism turned into praise; my guilt into innocence. They became the engine moving me towards all my dreams and goals. Today, we enjoy a loving family where respect and acceptance are cherished and love is the powerful bond that keeps us together.