At three years old, my little girl became the big sister, and a bouncing baby boy was delivered into the family. I was 21 years old.
At age 2 and before I fully potty trained my bouncing baby boy , he became the "Big Brother" in the house as I arrive with a tiny bundle of joy. A joyful baby girl. I was 24 years old.
There wasn't any room between graduation and children. I worked a full time job plus picked up extra shifts when I could, and more times then not I worked a second job as well; just to make ends meet.
My grandmother watched the children while I worked. Sometimes it felt like I dropped them off before sunrise, and picked them up after sunset. There was a lot of stress. It is by far easy, raising three children alone. Thank goodness for my grandmother, I could have never done it without her. I didn't have down time with friends at a local club. There wasn't movie night, or hanging at home with friends. I worked, came home and took care of my family. Where I went, my children went. Except for work of course.
If there is any advice I could offer to young mothers of today, it would be... "Don't sweat the small stuff." Parent, yes. Discipline, yes. Direct, yes. Teach, yes. Just don't let the small stuff drive you insane. Stop what you are doing and just watch them. Listen to them interact with their toys, with other children, with family and friends. Forget about the toys on the living room floor. Leave the dishes in the sink until morning. Keep work at work, don't bring it home with you.
Instead ... Pick up that book they've asked you to read while tucking them in, and read it to them. Sit at the dining room table while they eat, and get to know your children. Pick your feet up and enjoy the newest Disney movie with them. Ask for the assistance of older children while cooking dinner,and make it a family affair. Leave one day off just for your children, making the whole day about them.
Leave the small stuff behind you. In this great race called life, it doesn't matter anyway. So why sweat it now?
I wish I had learned this while my children were small. I would have taken more time out to make life just about them. Had I the chance to start over, I would leave the small stuff behind, and just enjoy the youth of my children. Trust me, they wont stay small very long.
I learned as a grand parent. With them, I don't worry about washing the dishes right after a meal. I over look the toys that line the carpet from one end of the apartment to the other. I take the time to sit and enjoy the newest Disney movie. Make Nana Dates with them. Plan ice cream socials with them. Sit at a local fast food joint, just so they can play and unwind during bad weather, or after a hard day at school.
My first grand child. 10 years old.
My second grand child. 4 years old
My third grand child. 2 years old
My fourth grand child. 1 year old.
I am sure you've heard the song "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chessney, and if you haven't heard this song ~ I suggest you take time to listen to it, really hear the words. Because before you know it you've blinked, and the children are grown and gone.