MOMTOURAGE: Straight From This Momma’s Heart, What I Learned Throughout the First Decade of Parenting

By Stephanie Chawla

My dear friend Lauren asked me if I would write an article for Momtourage. I was honored, of course, but then got to thinking, what will I write? Lauren said it could be about anything, and it just has to come from the heart. So here it is, everyone, coming straight out of this momma’s heart!

Photo Credit: Sasha Illingworth Photography

Have you ever wondered if you are doing right by your kids? Am I spending enough time with them? Is the work/family-life balance all right? Am I disciplining my kids appropriately? Am I teaching them enough about life’s lessons? Am I allowing them to figure out problems independently, or am I too much of a helicopter mom? Am I keeping them away from social media? Am I allowing them enough independence without sheltering them? Am I enough? Am I doing it right or wrong? Someone, please give me the manual and tell me exactly what I am supposed to do!

My mom passed away before I met the love of my life. Yes, it is sad, but it’s my reality, and I’ve learned to do the best I can without her guidance. I’m now a mom of 3; my oldest daughter is ten-years-old, my son is eight-years-old, and my youngest daughter six-years-old. I can’t say that I’m a superhero by any means. But I can say that I feel my husband and I are enough for our kids. Below is what I’ve learned from being a mom for the past ten years, and I hope it might resonate with you.

I’ve learned that you must cherish the small moments. When your little one smiles for the first time or says their first word that relishing at that moment is the best feeling you could have.

I’ve learned that being there to pick them up when they fall or get that boo-boo you have to put one hundred bandaids on teaches them compassion.

I’ve learned, ok still learning, that it’s ok if your house is a mess! That spending time with your little ones is paramount. As my oldest says, I’m not an octopus, so I shouldn’t expect to be able to do it all! Don’t you love it when your child says such profound things?

Through their young childhood years, I’ve learned that it’s alright to allow your kids to dress themselves. Who needs to have a matching shirt and pants outfit on anyway? Shorts in the wintertime, no problem! Mismatched socks and ten hair bows in at the same time, no worries!

I’ve learned that kids REPEAT EVERYTHING!! Better watch out for what comes out of my mouth. Or what I say on the phone too!

Through the school years, I’ve learned that I better be on top of technology.

That I have to set homework rules and bedtime routines, otherwise, it can be mayhem.

I’ve learned that I shouldn’t correct their grammar or how they should spell a word, less I discourage their trying. I’ve learned that asking my children questions about something I may want to correct works out better.

I’ve learned to listen to them, and if I give it enough time, they will come to talk to me or their father! I’ve learned that children have their own problems, and I can’t dismiss what they feel. It may not be what I would worry about or have an issue with, but they are not me, and I have to make them feel heard.

I’ve learned that if I serve them a vegetable twenty times, they might finally take a bite and realize they like it!

Through Covid, I’ve learned that family time is the best time. Before Covid, it was go to work, pick kids up and rush them to their various sports or extracurricular activities. It was rush, rush, rush. Covid has taught me to stop, sit back and smell the roses.

It’s taught me how to zoom!

It’s taught me that I am so glad I am not a full-time teacher. Thank God for our teachers, and can they please get whatever they need and a huge pay raise!?!

I’ve learned about my children’s personalities in school and what they are learning.

I’ve learned that our health and safety come before anything else.

That all the hustle and bustle before isn’t what matters most. What matters most is how my husband and I interact with them, play with them, and teach them to be the best versions of themselves. It’s about teaching them boundaries and knowing when to push them to take that next step. It’s about loving them.

So, as I said before, I’m not a superhero. But maybe, just maybe, I’m a superhero to my kids. “If you had a chance to change a situation, would you take it?” For me, the answer, of course, is no.

I’m curious to find out what the next ten years of being a mom will bring? I hear the teenage years are quite challenging. To that, I welcome the challenge.

May I continue to learn from my kids, make mistakes, and move forward.

May they continue to bring me laughter, joy, tears, frustration, and most of all, love!

May they continue to teach me patience.

May they look back as an adult on their childhood and say they wouldn’t have had it any other way!

To all the mommas (or parents) out there wondering if you are doing the right thing, may the love from your child/children be your answer. You are enough!

From my heart,
Stephanie, from The Momtourage

Stephanie is a mom of three, a Medical Professional, and a guest writer/contributor to the Momtourage. We thank her for sharing her maternal wisdom with us! – Jessie and Lauren