Mothers’ thoughtful expressions: What is the best parenting advice you would offer another mom?

The experience of being a mom can be  challenging, exhausting, rewarding, and inspirational. There are plenty of trained experts and professionals who lend their guidance on ways to navigate through the complex web of motherhood, but oftentimes, the most grounded support comes from those who have been down in the trenches — so to speak: everyday mothers.

Today, we bring you words of advice from mothers who shared with us the wisdom and insight they acquired along the way, on their motherhood path.

What is the best parenting advice you would offer another mom? 

Kassandra Brown: “My best parenting advice is to allow your perspective to broaden, your heart to soften, and your mind to notice how lucky you are to have exactly the children you have. What we believe, we perceive. By believing it, you will see evidence more and more often that proves how true it is that you are lucky to have your children.” 

Lisa Feiertag: “The advice that I would share with other moms is how important it is to remain flexible and to know that everything will change even when you think it is all static. Growth naturally causes things to shift, and it is a lot easier if you are moving in that flow instead of resisting it. Also, try to not take anything personally or to personalize your child’s actions and emotions. When you find yourself feeling upset look into why that is. What is being triggered internally? Parenting is an opportunity to heal all our unmet childhood wounds, which is one of the reasons why it is not an easy job.”

Megan Bell: “Let go of ‘should’ and truly connect with and listen to your children. They are our best teachers. Offer them what they need when they need it, and know they won’t need it forever.” 

Rochelle Kipnis: “Our children grow up so fast, so cherish every moment you get with them. Make memories and know that they grow up too quickly. Hold on to the moments and take it slow. Enjoy every day that you’re blessed to be here on earth with your children.”

Effie Morchi: “Above all, listen to your heart and trust your instincts; they are there for a key reason. When you are faced with a challenging moment, take a deep breath and think, ‘that too shall pass…’ and when you are faced with a blissful moment, take a deep breath, and let it wash over you — it will serve as nourishment for the road ahead.” 

Jillian Amodio: “Honestly, there’s a lot of advice floating around. Five different people will give you 5 different answers. The best advice I can give you is truly none at all. Just follow your heart, it will never lead you wrong. Mamas, you are wiser than you will ever know, more important than you will ever realize, and cherished beyond measure. Hug those little ones and love yourself, because even when you don’t feel like it, I’ll bet that you are doing an AMAZING job.”

Kelly Shealer: “My advice to other moms is to trust your instincts. Trust what feels right for you and your children. You know your child best, so you can give them a unique gife that make them really happy.”

Inga Bohnekamp: “It is a lot about connection and trust. Find ways to over and over again connect with your child — and yourself. Try to see her with fresh, curious eyes every day and try not to make too many preconceived assumptions. She will continue to surprise, to amaze, and to challenge you in her very own unique ways as she grows up and faces the challenges of the world she lives in. Connect with yourself, with your intuition, with your very own inner wisdom. Most of the answers you will ever need are already inside of you, somewhere — you might just need to uncover them and then listen to them, which can be scary. And while, of course, trusted sources of support are always important — repeat after me: We cannot do it all by ourselves! — always remember that every child, every parent, every situation, and every relationship is different and changes from moment to moment, which makes it highly unlikely for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to actually be a good fit.” 

Katelynne Eid: “Trust your gut. With each little one, I’ve learned to trust myself even more. There are endless information and opinions out there, but nothing beats a mother’s intuition. Even if you don’t think you have it, I promise you do!” 

Shoshana Hayman: “Although modern society has devalued the role of mothers, know that your role as a mother is of paramount value in the world. No one can be for your children what you are to them — their primary attachment figure, which gives the optimal context for healthy human development. Teach them lovingly, both your boys and your girls, that the most important roles they will fulfill one day will be to parent their own children. Mothers need to be confident in believing that nurturing their children, throughout the years that they are growing up, helps shape a healthy and peaceful society more than any daycare, school, or educational program ever can.”

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A Mother’s love is a gift that gives forever and her legacy is life

In gratitude, consider a tribute to a Mother in your life while helping a mother in need of support at the same time.

It’s a gift that that keeps on giving because you help mothers receive much needed information and support.

This is the heart of API.

We invite you to share a gift of love that gives on in her honor.

  Happy Mother’s Day from Attachment Parenting International

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Mothers’ thoughtful expressions: What do you cherish most about being a mom?

Being a mom is like being a gardener — it’s hard labor that gets accomplished regardless of the conditions. It is the kind of work that requires fortitude, dedication, and an abundance of patience. We tend to our children, nourish them, watch them grow, and reap what we sow. All the while, we are continuously mesmerized by their essence and beauty.

Today, as we celebrate the unique and precious role of a mother, we bring to you these thoughtful expressions from mothers around the world:

What do you cherish most about being a mom?

Megan Bell, Fox Valley API, Illinois USA: “I cherish the spontaneous proclamations of love my toddler gives me, and when she shows me empathy. I love watching her grow. Our children really do learn by example. It’s beautiful and stunning to witness.”  

Rochelle Kipnis, New Jersey USA: “As a homeschooling mom of 3, I cherish the moments spent with my children. Hugging and kissing them, watching them laugh, learn, smile, grow, and play brings me the most joy in life. No matter how big they get, they will always be my babies and I will always be here for them. They are life’s greatest joy and blessings.”

Lisa Feiertag, API Leader Applicant Liaison, Maryland USA: “The unconditional love that my children shower on me is what I cherish most about being a mom. I love the snuggles, laughs, giggles as well as the long conversations that we engage in. I love watching my kids grow into the young adults that they are becoming and seeing them share their love with others.”

Effie Morchi, API Assistant Editor, New York USA: “I cherish most the growth and transformation; mine as well as my children’s. I marvel at how parenting has taught me that the simple moments and things in life are truly the profound ones: a day spent together at the park, a gentle smile, a trivial goal achieved; they are the bits that make our life wholesome.” 

Jillian Amodio, Maryland USA: “What I cherish most largely depends on the day. On a good day, it’s the smiles and laughter emanating from my children. On a bad day…bedtime and wine? No, really though, all jokes aside, what I cherish most are the memories we make each day. Every night before my children go to bed, regardless of what kind of day we’ve had, we cuddle in their beds, read books, and sing songs. We talk about what happened that day and it helps us realize that even on the days that are ‘mundane’, ‘boring,’ or just plain not very good, we have a really great thing going — we have each other, and we certainly do have a whole lot of fun together.”

Kelly Shealer, API of Frederick, Maryland USA: “My favorite moments of being a mom are when my children and I are able to take a break and relax together — like lying down together at bedtime or reading a book to my daughter while she sits on my lap. I love these times when we’re able to pause from all the busyness of our day and just be together.”

Shoshana Hayman, Israel: “Being a mom has been and continues to be the most fulfilling aspect of my life. No other role gives me the power to develop loving, deep, and lasting relationships with those who are dearest to me while at the same time helping my children bring their human potential to fruition.” 

Katelynne Eid, Connecticut USA: “The thing I cherish most about being a mom is just getting to witness as these little lives develop. I’m so grateful for being able to be a consistent and supportive presence as they figure out who they are.”

Kassandra Brown, Boulder CO: “I cherish the moments when my perspective broadens from the day-to-day busyness of eating, sleeping, school, transitions, and stuff-to-do to notice the feeling of loving my children. How my heart softens, a smile comes to my face, and I realize how lucky I am that these thoughtful, loving humans love me. Once my perspective shifts, my parenting shifts and I find myself effortlessly working-with rather than doing-to or managing.”

Inga Bohnekamp, Ontario Canada: “I think what I cherish most is the experience of this unconditional, pure, and infinite love, which I have felt for my daughter ever since she came into my life (started growing inside my belly). I am so grateful for every moment we share, the challenging ones as well as the ones filled with pure happiness, laughter, and joy. She inspires me every day; she reminds me of what really, really counts in life, and I cherish this incredibly unique and intense opportunity to continue learning and growing alongside her as she grows up. But, if I have to boil it down to one thing, it would be the LOVE.”

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A Mother’s love is a gift that gives forever and her legacy is life

In gratitude, consider a tribute to a Mother in your life while helping a mother in need of support at the same time.

It’s a gift that that keeps on giving because you help mothers receive much needed information and support.

This is the heart of API.

We invite you to share a gift of love that gives on in her honor.

  Happy Mother’s Day from Attachment Parenting International

————

 

Transformed by their love

1386612_mom_and_kidEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey.

I am humbled by the love I see in my children’s eyes, by their desire to show me who they are again and again. “Look, Mom, look at me!” they say with their words and with their bright faces turned to catch my eyes.

I have been transformed by their love.

I have been softened by their unwavering sureness of our bond. I have learned to forgive myself so that I can be forgiving. I have learned to be patient with myself so that I can be patient with them. I have learned to value the process over the product because of them. I have learned to live in this moment right now — full of joy or tears or peals of laughter — because of them.

I have been transformed by their love.

I have worked to let go of old fears because of them. I have worked to resolve my anger because of them. I have learned to communicate my feelings because of them. I have delved into my creativity because of them. I have let myself be loved truly, deeply and without measure.

I have been transformed by their love.

Messy motherhood

1386612_mom_and_kidEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey.

Growing up, I was one of four kids. Three of us were triplets. My mom did home daycare, and at any given time, we could have up to eight other children in the house. We lived in a four-bedroom home — well, three bedrooms with a converted garage. Space was limited…

…Love was not.

With a house as full as ours, we generated a lot of clutter. I remember, when I was young, having a difficult time sleeping if my room was not in order. As long as I could see the floor, I felt like I had enough space and my room was clean enough that I could relax, thanks to my mom that always got help from  a Dubai’s Trusted Agency.

I was not the cleanest child, but I liked things to have their place. I never fully understood the trials my mom had to go through to keep our household simply functional — that is until grew up and had a home of my own. Now, my childhood home sure wouldn’t be winning a spot of the cover of Better Homes & Gardens, but you better believe my momma worked hard making sure we had clean clothes, comfy beds, good food and space to play.

When my husband and I bought our first home, we had been married for just over a year. I vowed to make that home shine. Every inch of my house was going to be perfectly planned, color-coordinated and sparkly clean.

I did OK, and by OK, I mean I vacuumed when company came over, I kept the bathrooms clean enough and I made sure our laundry basket never overflowed, or if it did, I just dumped it in the basement laundry room. One weekend a month, I would spend all-day Saturday scrubbing the floors and really giving the house a good, deep clean.

I expected to feel a sense of accomplishment or a blossoming sense of happiness. After all, wasn’t this what I always wanted — a clean house? What I really felt was fatigued and mildly irritated that even with all this hard work, the house was just going to be dirty again in a day or two. Dirt seems to follow me.

Life is messy! And so is motherhood.

When my husband and I had our first child, I felt overwhelmed with trying to keep the house clean and the baby content. My first baby was rather difficult. I was a nervous mom, and she was therefore a nervous baby. In time, I came to realize that a clean house wasn’t going to make me happy. It never really had. What did make me happy was caring for my family.

I had confused caring for my family with being their maid. It wasn’t doing any of us any favors.

I stopped caring if my house was showroom-ready and decided instead to be content with happily lived-in. I spent more time playing and less time worrying. Now, of course, I don’t want my family living in filth, so I keep up with the dishes and make sure laundry is regularly done even if it does sit waiting to be folded for half the week. I vacuum up the dog hair and am very well known for my far-reaching talent with a bottle of Febreeze and a can of Lysol.

Things have their place in our house, but if they sometimes have trouble finding their way back there, it’s not the end of the world.

I actually find it funny that often times when I suggest a play date with some friends of mine, they ask if we can have it at my house. “You don’t mind the mess,” they say. It’s true. I think nothing of giving the kids a bowl of dry ingredients like rice, beans and pasta and filling a pot with water so they can make soup. I don’t mind them baking cookies and decorating with sprinkles, even if the majority of them end up the floor. I don’t mind them painting the bathroom walls — tile, of course — with colored shaving cream. We love to make jewelry, paint pictures and play with play dough. We like to do all kinds of science experiments and pretty much do anything messy. Check out these argyle jewellers in Brisbane like this on this website.

My daughter and I went to a play date one time where each child could only have one toy out at a time. Snack had to be eaten quietly at the table and feet had to be thoroughly cleaned before walking on the carpet. We both left there feeling anxious and nervous. Kids are messy, not because they want to make life difficult, but because they are exploring all that life has to offer.

My home is lived in. My home is loved in. And my home is where memories are made.

So this year’s Mother’s Day, I thanked my momma for making life fun. Thank you for a happy childhood full of memories. And thank you for teaching me that a lived-in, and sometimes messy, home is a happy home.

Motherhood is a gift

1386612_mom_and_kidEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey.

The road to forming your family through adoption, and thus becoming a mother, can be long.

Various interviews, paperwork, letters of reference and physician referrals that are required before you are considered eligible can make the process of becoming a parent seem tedious. As you wait and yearn to care for a child, it can become difficult to see other couples and families receive referrals or become matched. At times, the wait may seem unbearable.

Yet, you still need to prepare physically and emotionally and be ready for your little one to arrive. So, like any parents anxious to build their family, you turn to blogs, books, anything that will give you a glimpse of what a family formed through adoption looks and feels like. You decide upon things like cosleeping or nursery, bottle-feeding or breastfeeding, open or closed adoption.

While waiting to grow our family, my husband and I researched it all. Yet, no matter how many books we read or blogs we followed, nothing could have prepared us for that moment: sitting across from this woman, seeing both the pain and joy in her eyes, watching her hold our son.

Up until this moment, preparing to meet our son, I had been focusing on how to care for a baby, not how to emotionally connect with my son and the woman who gave him life and love — his birth mother.

As I watched her and heard the palpable mix of loss and love in her voice, I learned more than a blog or book could ever teach me. My husband and I left this conversation with our son’s birth mother with a seemingly conflicting sense of sadness and loss but also joy. We renewed our determination to provide both of our sons with greater security, tangible love and a concrete sense of confidence in themselves, knowing they are loved beyond measure. I learned the love of a birth mother and how that love would transform our sons’ lives and ultimately encourage me to be a better mother myself.

The love of a birth mother is at times sacrificial and gives life and possibility, not only to the precious life brought into this world but also to the adopting mother and family. This love allowed me to experience motherhood, to see my children’s first smiles and hear their first laughs, to hold my boys close and dry away tears, and to receive unconditional love from two wonderful beings. It encourages me to seek everyday moments of connection through activities, such as light saber battles and family football games, strengthening the bonds that I have with my sons.

The knowledge of this first love sparks honest and empathetic conversation within our family. When my older son asks, “Where did my baby brother come from?” I am able to openly tell him a story of a woman who loved his baby brother and carried him in her belly, ultimately allowing us to grow our family, just like his own birth mother did before he was born. Responding sensitively with empathy and love as we talk about their birth mothers, or first families, allows me to build trust with my sons, sharing in their developing emotions.

On this year’s Mother’s Day, I celebrated more than being a mom myself and being blessed with a compassionate mother and caring grandmothers. I’m celebrating the courageous women — the other mothers — who granted me the amazing gift of becoming a mom.

Babies becoming big kids

1386612_mom_and_kidEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey.

Last week, my husband and I went out to dinner and a movie, while my mom put our toddler to bed.  To many families, this might not be a big deal, but no one other than me had ever put her to bed before. My mom let her stay up an hour past her usual bedtime, so my husband and I drove around until my mom texted us that our daughter was asleep and we could come in.

While we drove, I cried. Was my daughter upset? (She wasn’t.) Was she asking for me? (She did, and accepted my mom’s explanation that Mommy and Daddy would be there when she woke up.)  Did she still need me?

Of course she does, she’s 2 years old. But she certainly doesn’t need me as much as she used to.

That’s the paradox of mothering young children: When they need you relentlessly, you long for a break. But when they suddenly don’t need you for something, it leaves a void.

On our way home, my husband and I talked about our daughter starting preschool next fall. We’ll have a new baby by then, and I’m sure I will be thankful for the time to focus on just one kid. But I will miss her. And it bothers me that I won’t be there to see what she’s interested in that day or to kiss her better if she falls on the playground.

When I told my friends about my mom’s success getting our daughter to sleep, they all said how wonderful it is that I now have some extra freedom. They also empathized with my mixed feelings about it.

Truly, I love watching my daughter become more and more independent as she grows. If she wasn’t playing happily by herself right now, I couldn’t be writing this post. Now that she doesn’t need me to fall asleep, I can go out and not worry about being back by 7 p.m.

Freedom is wonderful, and I find it far preferable to being needed constantly. But as our children need us less, it’s hard not to imagine the day when they won’t need us at all. This, of course, is the goal of parenting, and our children’s separation from us is healthy. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. If I’m smart, like my parents, I will fill that stage of life with travel, hobbies and time with friends.

In the meantime, I will try to value the moments my children do need me, even when it leaves me exhausted and irritated — because mothering young children is relentless, but it is also temporary. One day in the future, I will sleep until noon and fill my day with activities of my own choosing. But for now I will read a book about Elmo making a pizza, for the 25th time, knowing that one day I won’t have to.

And while I probably won’t miss Elmo’s culinary adventures, I will miss cuddling on the couch while I read about them.

A mother’s love story

1386612_mom_and_kidEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey.

As this year’s Mother’s Day was approaching, I found that I was thrilled to spend time with my kids. I actively left the day free of scheduled activities so that we could be fully engaged together doing whatever came up that we enjoy. But with this excitement, there was also a touch of grief and sadness as I recognized that last year my mother passed away just a few days after Mother’s Day.

I didn’t always have the best relationship with my mother, as there were many challenges. My mother had a mental illness that kept her emotionally unavailable at times. Her symptoms often caused strain and hardships, and her ability to parent me was impacted.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first, I was terrified as I didn’t want to parent in the same way I had experienced from my childhood. A few months after giving birth to my oldest daughter, I found my way to API. I was tremendously relieved to find an organization that offered language around what I was doing instinctively. I knew I needed to know more about each of API’s Eight Principles of Parenting. I wanted to learn as much as possible, because I understood that I was stepping into unknown territory.

My parents did the best they could with the information they had at the time. My mother shared her love with me the only way she knew how and the only way her mind and body would allow her to.

Finding my way to API was a gift in that I was now given the opportunity to gather information that was not available to my parents. I could raise my children within an attached framework, while also sharing with my parents the knowledge I was absorbing. As I became more confident in my parenting skills, I was able to express to my mother the many reasons why I was doing what I was doing with my daughters. She began to understand and would often share how she wished she had this information when I was a baby.

She would comment to me on how lovely my daughters were and how they were growing up into beautiful, young ladies. She knew that I held a connection with my daughters that we did not share, and I could feel her sadness around this grief — her wishing things could have been different when she was a young mother.

lisa feiertag her motherMy mother’s death has allowed me insight into who she was as a person and why she did things the way she did. I have found that even the things I thought were unfair or done differently than I would have liked were also being held with as much love as she could offer in that moment. Her love was shown in many different ways.

As I sat with my mother in May of 2014, I asked her what she wanted her family to know after she passed. She began by telling me a brief story about each of her siblings, my father, my brothers, my sister and me, but she stopped herself before she could finish and she looked at me. She told me to forget all those stories and to forget everything she mentioned. She told me to tell everyone that the only thing that mattered was love and that, no matter what had happened in the past, she loved each and every one of us.

It was in that moment that I knew my mother loved me.

Finding balance through play

1386612_mom_and_kidEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey.

Earlier this year, I started taking time each evening to write down in a journal what my best moments of the day were. Sometimes it was time spent playing with or cuddling with my kids. And sometimes it was time without them, when I did my self-care or finally met up with a friend.

Never was it doing housework or time spent on Facebook.

I haven’t kept it up all year, but looking at it helps me to prioritize and make time for what is important and what really matters to me. Obviously the dishes have to be done and you can’t just ignore them, but making some extra time for lying down with my 3 year old each day has been manageable. So is — at times — saying “no” to cleaning and “yes” to play. My children enjoy playing more, and so do I.

Keeping this in mind helped me rediscover how much fun it could be to play outside in winter, something I hadn’t done willingly in nearly 20 years. Together, my boys and I climbed snow mountains, and they were excited to see me join in on the fun of rolling down snow hills.

Lately my best moments generally involve time spent outside watching my 5 year old run through the grass, full of pure joy, or having my 3 year old run into my arms and spinning him around until we fall down dizzy in the grass.

I recently attended a meeting on self-care where we were asked to write down three things that made us happy. The goal was to have more of that in your life. One thing I wrote was “my kids’ laughter.” I want to be a part of that every day at least once.

Of course, not every moment or every day is happy. Plenty are full of frustration or exhaustion, or both. But taking time to play, to enjoy my children and to just be happy helps me find balance and helps me to better enjoy being a mother.

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