I can remember distinctly the first few minutes of my oldest daughter’s life. She arrived at 7:04 p.m. after 18 hours of labor and every hour since then has been changed by her arrival. My very first recollection was that I had never felt anything as soft as her skin.
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”Â ~ Rajneesh
I remember also something that I believe has shaped not only her childhood but that of her sisters… I somehow innately grasped and internalized that she was an autonomous Being. …That her choices would be hers and that, although I could shape them by the upbringing and environment that I provided, she would be capable of making her own decisions.
This comprehension of her independence from me has made all the difference in the way I’ve interacted with the three people who have come into my life as my children. Rather than think of them as three extensions of me and proxies of my life experiences, they have given me lessons and made me a better person, and here are just a few:
1. Take ownership of your choices. This can also be framed as “If everyone else ___________ (jumped off the bridge, stayed out past curfew, set fire to their underwear) would you?”Â
2. Mean what you say. There are fewer mirrors as unflinching as a three year old who takes you at your word. They expect you to walk your talk.
3. Decide what’s really important. Whether a budget item like band camp over a Coach bag or time (like a recital instead of one more meeting squeezed into the end of your day), priorities take on new dimensions when you become a parent.
4. Build efficiencies. When the girls were very little, my closet had three “Emergency Ensembles”Â hanging on hangers within. Each held a complete outfit, including jewelry in the pocket and shoes to match. When the occasional oversleeping morning hit our household, I could still make sure that we left the house on time.
5. Admit when you are wrong. I am so grateful that my daughters have the perspective and courage to even now point out when I am missing a greater Truth. Ceding ground when faced with a nuance or understanding that I fail to see creates children who trust their gut and who are not afraid to voice opinions.
6. Always be learning. I think I finally understand the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.”Â The only way I’ve learned how to be a parent is to teach myself the lessons through my children. The neat part is that I’ve actually turned out to be the student (and that I’m still learning)! I’ve had three very loving, patient teachers who have helped me through the iterations.
What are some of the lessons your children have taught you? What are your thoughts on being a mother? A parent?
Happy Mother’s Day to you all!
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founderÃ¢ÂÂs personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation).