You know all about the first moments that you “shouldn’t miss” in your child’s life. You are perfectly aware of that bit of guilt over missing your child’s first step because you are working, or the first time your child says “mama” you might not be around and present. And most likely, you have taken as many steps as possible to keep as many of those moments as possible to yourself and miss them. You’ve adjusted your schedule, you’ve taken on less work, you’ve said no to as many things as you can, you’ve let the dishes go, you do the laundry when the kids are sleeping, you KNOW that you want to appreciate those moments as much as you can.
I’m so very, very glad.
But, this post isn’t about those moments. It’s not about young children and the traditional firsts. It’s about AFTER those traditional firsts are gone and it seems the next first’s are sometimes years apart. First boyfriend, first car, first broken bone, you know… the bigger ones.
Oh but, assuming those are the next moments you “shouldn’t miss” is a giant, colossal mistake I don’t want you to make.
I was. I have. I did.
I did the traditional firsts with each of my kids while they were young. I didn’t miss a one. And then I sat back and let them grow up. Sure, I was and am a present”kind of parent and made sure to be involved every step of the way. But I completely underestimated how many firsts I could personally experience and create with/for my kids. Firsts that weren’t the monumental ones that we have come to expect. But firsts that bundled up together have created even more depth and caring in my relationship with my children. These moments have far surpassed the “shouldn’t miss” first’s on my list, bar none. Watching and experiencing these firsts with my children has allowed me peeks and insights into their personalities and whom they may become as children. It has allowed me ways to learn how to connect with them in special, unique ways. Ways that will remain as they become adults.
No, I am not around my kids at all times. I am not hyper involved. But, I am very purposeful and aware of where and what they are doing. Not to manage them but to smile and understand that moment. That first that they experienced. And to put the opportunities for those firsts in front of them as often as I possibly can manage. See, I’m selfish. I want to be around to hear them gushing and talking about those moments. I want them to happen while they are children and I can remember it. I want them to be able to connect me, their Mom, to those moments in their life. I want them to remember that they learned about being encouraged to try, to test, to experience, to be brave and courageous, to try new things, and to find joy … from me.
And I wish the same for you. That you can be a Mom of Firsts, relishing and recognizing the role you play in the small daily firsts that make up your older children’s lives. Maybe not as wild and crazy as their first step or first word. But, for them… just as monumental. And I wish for you to have a relationship with your children that encourages wonder and curiosity.
You probably have experienced these smaller firsts as well. The firsts that will make up your child’s personality. But did you recognize them as such? Did you pause and relish in the moment? Or did you just quickly skip along to the next thing thankful to get through the day without a teenage temper or hurt leg?
Don’t. Don’t miss the firsts because you are too busy wanting to just get through the day. Don’t miss the firsts because you haven’t learned enough about your child to recognize the moment as important to the growth of their personality. Don’t miss the firsts because you, yourself, are scared to try new things.
Here are some of the firsts from the recent months with my kids that have been captured on Instagram. They got a new puppy, experienced a live play, went to some new museums and exhibits, tried making pasta, played a computer game from my childhood, and even White Castle.
If you are struggling to find the time and energy to be that Mom of First’s you want to be I challenge you to make steps to create a more sensible lifestyle for yourself. What that looks like is different for everyone. This is mine. Whatever your sensible lifestyle looks like, get yourself on the way there and join the Mom of First’s club. I’ll be waiting to pin the first patch on to your sash! You can make the changes you want and need!