By Deonna Marshall
Director of Prevention & QM Initiatives
There all types of curriculums, tutorials, and books that helps prepare you for many things, but I have never found the step-by-step manual for being a mother. There are no specified qualifications or skillset that is required for motherhood. Anyone, at any time, can decide to become a mother. My generation is filled with so many young mothers who work every day to raise their children and it is not easy. In fact it is quite challenging, especially if you are doing it alone. So, in honor of Mother’s Day, I want to share a few simple lessons I have learned thus far that I hope will help my fellow new mommies.
- Drive & Text Later: This resonates so much now that I am a mother. I am sure you have seen so many campaigns echoing this message. Sending or responding to a text message can wait when you are driving with your child(ren) in the car with you. I’m sure many of us have mastered the knee-driving technique, but are the risk really worth it? Of course not. Pull over to send/respond or wait until you get to your next destination. You have too much to live for.
- No Distance Is Too Short: My baby would cry because he hated to be confined to his car seat. So, I would pull over every second to comfort him. A 10-minute trip would easily turn into an hour-long trip. Many times I contemplated taking him out the seat and driving with him in my lap convincing myself that it was okay because it was a “short distance”, until I was in a bad car accident with my son. He was in his car seat which kept him safe. Yet, I always think about what if that day I decided to put him in my lap. Safety first!
- Consider Your Surroundings: Children are very smart, even as babies. They understand a lot although they may not be able to talk or articulate anything yet. If I raise my voice in our home, it affects him. Therefore, be mindful of them when they are in your presence. Of course we all get mad, but separate yourself from them in those moments. Find a technique (i.e. walk, exercise, shower, a friend) that helps to calm you so you can prevent the outbursts. You never know the long-term effects those episodes of anger may have on them in the future.
- Filter, Filter, Filter: When I was young, we couldn’t be in the same room while adults were talking. That really isn’t the case now-a-days. Kids now join in on adult conversations and actually have opinions about subject matters they should pertain to them. Although my son is 7 months now, I try to be mindful of what I say around him, what I do in front of him, and even what music I listen to when he is around. Children are sponges from the very start. Therefore, filter everything you say and do. As the old adage goes, “What makes you laugh now, will make you cry later”.
As a new, first-time mom, I’ve learned to take my journey one day at a time. I’ve learned to accept that some days I will nail it and other days I will have to forgive myself when I don’t get it right.
I found an inspirational quote one day that said “the joy in motherhood comes in moment. There will hard time and frustrating time, but amid the challenges that are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.” As mothers, there will be so much we will learn and have to overcome but I’m also assured our rewards of motherhood are far greater.