They say hindsight is 20/20.
I am always asking people what they would do differently, and I find their answers so revealing.
So many times we focus on things we believe to be so very important only to learn those things mattered very little in the grand scheme of things.
When it comes to being a mom, there are things I wish I knew before our kids were born. Things I would have done differently, had I known.
But if I could choose only one, it would probably be to slow down and laugh more.
I work on this daily and as a mom of older kids, I can finally say, I love the mom I am now.
Yes, I still go to bed struggling with doubt and wishing I had made a bit more memories with the kids.
But if I am giving myself credit, I laugh way more than I used to and I enjoy being in the moment more, too.
It took over a decade to learn this. But what if I could have learned it earlier? What if I knew then what I know now?
I’m not sure if things would be different. I’m not sure if I would be a better mom earlier in life. But I definitely think I would have appreciated the advice.
So I asked a group of moms to share their one piece of advice they would tell their pre-kid self if they could go back in time.
Here are their answers, exactly as they wrote them.
Some are heart-warming and encouraging, especially knowing that one mom lost her sweet toddler to heart failure.
Some are more practical and relatable. And some are humorous, as moms must be to survive the day.
Enjoy, but make sure you really listen to their words and apply what you will.
Don’t wait a decade to learn what you can learn now.
Every mom was a first-time mom! You won’t get it right all the time. Don’t be too hard on yourself; do it with love, and God will use it.
Love yourself more than you love other people’s opinions of you!
Don’t cry over spilled milk. (Overreacting) Take a deep breath and see what’s really important.
Always hug a little longer- you never know when your hug goodbye will be the last goodbye.
Enjoy every moment. It passes way too quickly to be overwhelmed with the what-ifs of the day.
Don’t stress over what doesn’t really matter in the long run.
Navy recruiters are big fat liars.
You don’t have to be perfect. You’ll make mistakes. Mistakes are OK, learn from them.
After you have kids, let the dishes, laundry, etc. wait and enjoy being in the moment. (My husband taught me this.)
Those things will still be there long after the sticky fingerprints and children are gone. Enjoy them now! Make memories now!!
Learn to be flexible. You will definitely do better as a mom if you can be calmly flexible.
I would want to tell myself to write more down! I have a horrible memory, so I wish I had written more down from when they were tiny or had my husband write down stuff that happened during my induction and our hospital stay.
I still need to heed that advice! I want to remember all the cute phrases they say or the funny ways they mispronounce words. (Like my son calls Grasshoppers Granpoppers! 😂)
Morgan, North Carolina
You don’t have to be productive all the time. Just be still and enjoy them!
Don’t have kids!!!!
Not everything has to be done the same as someone else. What works for you or your kids may be different from someone else, and that’s ok.
Don’t believe the lie that you shouldn’t “hold them too much”. There’s no such thing. One day you’ll put them down and never pick them up again… just hold them as much as you want.
Self-care is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself and your kids. Better you = better mom!
Love deeply, apologize frequently, listen attentively always.
Keep your imagination alive. It is a door that will unlock the most stubborn of things.
There will ALWAYS be time to get out of debt, remodel the house, buy the new car….you fill in the blank….but there will not ALWAYS be more time with your children.
People are more important than things….and your kids are “people.” Spend your money (& time) on “the people” and NOT the things!
He wasn’t worth your tears. Finish college. Speak up for yourself. Keep up with your horses, they were such a big part of my life.
Laugh, laugh a lot. We all do things that are mess-ups. Instead of getting offended, angry, or embarrassed just laugh at yourself! It’s ok not to be the most put-together person in the room.
After all, “the Joy of the Lord is my strength”.
Don’t always have to be right. They are learning from you also.
Don’t be afraid to trust the Lord completely with/for their lives. He created them, knows what is best, and His love surpasses our love for them… and us. <3
God gave you your child(ren) because He knew you were the best mother for them.
I lost many moments of joy when my kids were babies because I was so worried about what others were thinking, especially other friends who parent differently than we do.
We all can parent differently (and we should since our children are different!), but we can also still be supportive of one another.
Most of my “mom guilt” came from undue pressure I put on myself.
Motherhood will be a thankless job whether or not you are a step-mom.
Backstory: I was everyone’s favorite babysitter, teacher, and Sunday School teacher.
Fast forward: I married a man who had 10 kids at home. I felt like they were unthankful just because I was their stepmom (I hate that word). I prefer Bonus Mom!
Anyway, the truth is for most of what we do as moms, children are unthankful. They may never become thankful.
We do all to the glory of God. We work for Him! Psalm 62:5
For stepmoms: take what your children give and let that be enough. Your heart will long for more communication and connection, but let Jesus satisfy that.
We can’t pressure or force a real relationship!
Pick your battles.
The world will not end if your kid never learns to like broccoli. If their room is messy, you can always close the door.
Pick the battles that are worth fighting.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, perfection is overrated.
Love your family, try your best and don’t sweat the rest.
Realize that time is short with your children, even on the days that you think are soo long.
That you are not perfect and it’s ok.
I would tell myself to be strong and always believe in yourself because with enough ambition and self-confidence there’s nothing you can’t do.
But always remember to treat others the way you want to be treated. Kindly and with respect. It goes a long way in life.
I know we have to train and teach our children, and if I would’ve done it with more love and less stress, I think things would’ve been better.
Just like now, I am a grandma and I know it’s stressful for the kids to be teaching school, cleaning the house, and doing all the other things they are doing.
While the kids are home during this virus, I say relax with the children, talk with them, have fun with them. ❤️
Let them get to know you as a person, not just a bossy mother.
When are we ever going to have four weeks in a row with our children at home with nothing else going on?
Talk teach, love, enjoy every minute.
About the author
Kimberly McGraw is the founder of Life Worth the Living, a blog focused on helping mothers live their best life. Her desire is to help moms find purpose in who they are as a person, not just as a mom. Life Worth the Living has been featured in Making Sense of Cents, Outwit Trade and Believe and Create.