How Have You Grown Since Your First Mother’s Day?
Posted on May 11, 2018
“I can’t believe how big my kids are all of a sudden.”
“I’m sad they’re not babies anymore.”
“My son’s first word was spoken on Mother’s Day—and it was “papa.” I’ll never let him live that down!”
“I remember the day that I became a mother like yesterday. My son was the sweetest gift I ever received.”
“This is my 14th Mother’s Day! Yikes, my kids are growing up way too fast.”
“By next Mother’s Day, my daughter will be off to college. How much she’s grown.”
Somehow every year, around Mother’s Day, our flashbacks and reflections circle around our kids. For me, this was a big year. My daughter turned another decade, and even though I’m not very big on numbers, I did sneak a peek at her baby album and almost immediately felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. She was such a beautiful baby—peaceful, serene, and disciplined. She was sleeping six hours a night at five weeks. Every new mom’s dream!
I couldn’t help but feel that time had flown by at lightning speed. Then I noticed another album picture of me with a semi-frown on my face. There were wrinkles between my eyebrows. In an instant, I remembered that I had been really angry at my mother-in-law. She had been telling my sister not to take so many pictures, to let baby and mom rest, and that too many flashbulbs were not good for the baby anyway. I remember being very ticked off about her comments. I also remembered my mom sharing an old wives’ tale about not taking pictures when a baby was sleeping.
I had two moms involved in my life, and they constantly kept me on a roller-coaster of emotions. I was always anticipating the next “advice” I was going to get. Now I can giggle about how I would let them get under my skin and how my emotions would be triggered by their “guidance.”
Thirty years later, I still have my two moms. One lives in our house and the other is not far away. They haven’t changed a bit. But I have. Looking at those pictures reminded me how much I have grown up and made me think about some differences. I grabbed a pen and my diary and jotted down my thoughts. Here’s what I came up with:
Patience – up 100 percent
Tolerance – up 200 percent
Judgment – down 99.8 percent
Expectations – down 100 percent
Noise in my head – down 50 percent
Enjoying the moment – up 200 percent
Complaining (internal) – down 100 percent
Self-awareness – up 500 percent
Emotional Intelligence and Management – up 2000 percent
Respect for the gift of life – up 2000 percent
And what were the biggest reasons for such growth?
I thought deeply about that for a little while. Here they are:
- My kids are my biggest teachers. This is the most important life lesson, which is of the utmost necessity for every parent’s growth.
- I’ve had years of life experience. When you’ve been a parent for 30 years and have seen three decades of life and death and everything in between, clarity is a by-product. We come to understand what’s really important, and we let go of the small stuff—not just with our kids but with the rest of our family, friends, and peers as well.
- But most importantly, there’s Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Management and my conscious connection with life. As I became more emotionally intelligent, I was able to manage myself, my kids, and all my relationships more effectively. Not paying attention to my emotions was my biggest hurdle and challenge. I was good at not showing my emotions to others, and so you would never know when or by what I was hurt. But, oh, did that create havoc for me on the inside. Identifying my feelings, validating them, and then allowing them to pass through both non-judgmentally and non-reactively was a skill I had to learn, and it has served me well.
- Next, I started to become aware that I am surrounded by and synchronized with the energy of life in everything I do, touch, and feel. That was life-changing. The trees in my yard breathe life just like I do, and we have a perfect contract of exchange—I breathe out CO2 for them, and they breathe out oxygen for me. It’s perfect! Clouds move through the sky, just as I have clouds of emotions that move through me. Water has a flow just as I do—after all, I am 70 percent water. I share the air that I breathe with every plant and animal around me, including my kids, relatives, family, friends, peers, and every other human being on the planet, whether I know them or not. And as I became more aware of being part of the larger puzzle called life, I tapped deeper into my human potential. This has propelled my growth many times over! For me, this single revelation—of becoming conscious of the life that not only surrounds me but also supports me—has been the driver of my growth in compassion, kindness, empathy, respect, and love. This is what has shone brightly in my relationships and my work. Best of all, it has deepened my friendship and connection with my kids. Now, who doesn’t want that!
And so what started out with a few family photos has led to self-reflection and revelation that has left me not just joyous but over joyous. It has brought immense clarity on what I need to do more of.
For Mother’s Day, we would love to hear your top-of-the-list propellers of growth. Let’s share our revelations and be inspired by each other. What do you feel has helped you grow the most—both in this last year and since you became a mom?
Happy Mother’s Day to all you lovely mamas out there!