On Mother's Day: A veteran's wisdom and a newbie's wish

Leslie Kahn and Megan Drozd are two “mommy bloggers” with ChicagoNow. Though they come from different generations, they share an intense love for their children, humor, and friendship. This post is one of two in collaboration between them on the theme of motherhood. Please visit the second post through the link provided at the conclusion of this piece.

Now that I have been a parent for almost 15 years, I’d like to think that I deserve the title of “Veteran Mom.” That is not to say that I can pat myself on the back and just “phone parenting in” for the rest of my child’s life. Especially, with an o-so-smart kid like mine who constantly keeps me on my toes with conversations like these:

Son: Can you plug in my fan?
Me: Why can’t you do it?
Son: Because I won’t be this tired if I move and I know you want me to go to sleep!

Me: Can we eat at the table like a family?
Son: I’ll change the litter boxes if you don’t make me eat as a family.

You gotta give him credit for coming up with this stuff!

1. I have learned a lot being his parent, but it has been a “very slow learning curve” and if only I had a crystal ball…wouldn’t every parent want one?… I would definitely have done things differently, knowing what I know now.

2. I wish that I would have realized years ago that my son was dealing with a lot of trauma, that he was very slow to mature and that he would eventually turn into a sweet, nurturing, funny, mischievous, reasonable, human being. I only had to hang in there.

3. I wish that I would have realized years ago that yelling at him was the worst thing I could do and that the best thing I could do was to walk away when he was overwhelmed and freaking out, leaving him to calm himself down.

4. I wish that I would have realized years ago that medication wasn’t the answer, but there was really no way to know this without trying it…and it didn’t help. I feel bad that he took so many meds and worry what long term effect this might have on him, but I was desperate and doing the best I could.

5. I wish there were other parents who had been through similar who could have told me that, yes, it will get better…just try and be patient.

6. I wish that I could have hugged him and told him I loved him much more than I was able to do because that’s what he really needed.

7. I wish that I had learned how to meditate so that I could keep myself calm when I needed to be…for him.

8. I learned that I had to stop “sweating the small stuff” since so much “big stuff” was going on all the time.

9. I stopped beating myself up about trying to do it all, keeping my house tidy and clean, because, after all, my well-being and that of my child were more important than the state of my house.

10. It is absolutely true what they say…they grow up SO quickly. Live in the moment, enjoy them where you all are at the time, because before you know it, they don’t need you THAT much anymore.

11. Try not to live vicariously through your children. Don’t make them do stuff that they don’t want to do…unless all they do is sit on the couch, playing shooter video games like Call of Duty ALL THE TIME. In that case, you have to make them do other stuff because it’s not good for them to do that for 14 hours, non-stop.

12. Small, furry, companion animals are wonderful for the entire family and give you something to talk about with your otherwise oblivious teenager. After 2 accidental guinea pig deaths, we went for a sturdier pet; cats. I wish we did that sooner. It has helped us all.

13. Remember that life is not black or white; there is an awful lot of gray in there. Learning how to compromise is the best way to keep everyone happy. When your kid is a control freak, if you give a little, you actually get a lot back.

Ready to hear a newbie mother’s wish? Please follow the link to friend and fellow ChicagoNow blogger, Megan Drozd’s newbie wish and enjoy her Facebook page as well at Stable Mable.

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