I entered motherhood when I was 43 years old.
Becoming a mother after I’d “been there, done that” allowed me to dive into motherhood with some life experience and acquired wisdom.
My son has just turned six, and I can start seeing the fruits of my parenting choices. I’d love to share some inspiring insights.
Motherhood Can Be Fun, Fun, Fun
We had a rough start.
After more than 20 hours in a natural birthing center, I had to be moved to the hospital and ended up with a vacuum extraction delivery.
My son had jaundice and we were hospitalized for a week. We were separated most of the time, and I was exhausted from pumping milk around the clock.
Then my son would not nurse and was crying nonstop for long stretches of time.
When my husband got back to work, I was lonely and lost. There were moments when I could not believe that this was what I really wanted.
I was lucky to live by expansive wheat fields and olive groves. When my son started crying, I would take him on the sling for a walk in the fields. Walking and breathing the fresh air calmed me down and allowed me to calm him down.
On my walks I reflected on the conversations I had with my friends. These were all about difficulty and hardship. During one memorable walk, surrounded by the stunning nature of early spring, I realized that I was still stuck in the hardship of the disappointing delivery and hospitalization. But these were already over.
I decided to change my approach.
Every morning I woke up and told my son, “Today we are going to have fun, fun, fun.”
It was magic.
From that moment on, motherhood became the best experience of my life.
I am Here to Love and Nourish
I grew up in an environment that believed in raising children for independence. The earliest they went to daycare, played on their own, and put themselves to sleep, the better.
Then I read about a lot of research that showed that the more a child felt nourished and loved, the more independent he felt to go and explore the world. On the other hand, children who did not receive love and nourishment were more clingy and needy.
Around the time my son turned two, I started to get frustrated with the long time it took me to put him to sleep every night. I was the only one to do this because he was still nursing. I was exhausted and started to lose patience with him.
A sleeping consultant warned me that if I didn’t get my son used to falling asleep on his own soon, it would become harder, even impossible, to do so as he ages.
Even though her tips worked, and my son fell asleep a few times on his own, he started having nightmares. I stopped the process immediately and got back to putting him to sleep. I also made my husband more involved so that I could have some time off.
At age five, I felt my son was ready to fall asleep on his own. We talked about it, made a plan that was acceptable to him, and it happened naturally.
Even though I am not here to push my son toward independence, I am also not here to hold him back from evolving.
That’s why I try to avoid doing for him things that he can already do on his own.
My son is one of the most confident, friendliest, and engaged children I have ever met. I see him walking through life with a feeling that the world has his back. This is something I never had and the best gift I could have ever given to him.
There is no Such Thing as Too Much Love
Loving my child came naturally for me. Since he was born, all I wanted was to kiss him, hug him, and cuddle him.
People told me that by age three he would not want me to kiss him anymore. I kissed him for all the years that he would not let me kiss him. Now he is six, and he loves it when I kiss him. He also loves kissing me.
There were moments when I was worried that I was loving him too much. There were people who warned me that there was such a thing as too much love.
I am attentive to my son. I listen to him carefully, not just to his words, but also to his vibe, his facial expression, his body language. I am careful not to impose anything on him, even not a hug or a kiss. I make sure that when I show him affection, he enjoys it.
My son is so loving and respectful, not only to me, but everywhere he goes. I know I am doing the right thing.
I am Here to be a Role Model
I have some friends who stay in bad relationships for the sake of their children. When I ask them, “Would you want your child to be in such a relationship?” the answer is always no.
I know I am my son’s role model.
It’s one thing to tell him to love himself. It’s another thing to show him what self-love looks like.
It’s one thing to tell him that it’s okay to get it wrong. It’s another thing to show him that I am okay with making mistakes and that I know to apologize, especially to him.
If I want him to pursue his dreams, I need to pursue my dreams.
If I want him to express his emotions freely, I need to express my emotions freely.
If I want him to have a good, loving relationship, I need to show him what it means to have a good, loving relationship.
If I want him to love me and respect me, I need to love him and respect him. If I restrict my love to him, he will restrict his love to me. There is no such thing as too much love.