Meet Karen Jenks – aka Mimi – the best mom and grandmother. Full stop. I asked her to reflect on what she has learned over the past 30 (or so) years as our first “pro mom.” She brings such wisdom and love to parenting. She has definitely been my role model as a mother – I hope I can measure up!
Read her top 10 learnings below….
|Mimi with Caroline|
1. Parenting continues over the course of a lifetime. Forever. And no matter the age of ones children, a parent’s happiness is inextricably linked forever with the well being and happiness of their children. (This is an experiential lesson that our children will understand only after their own children grow up.)
2. Watching your children evolve, grow and blossom into their own unique person and individual is the most amazing process, filling you mostly with indescribable love and an overwhelming sense of pride.
3. You love your children more than life. But your relationship changes of necessity as they grow into adulthood. We as parents move from a leading role to more of a supportive, secondary role as children marry, become parents, and develop social lives. The process definitely involves some letting go. And quite frankly, some adjustment and getting used to.
4. A word about advice. When your children want it, they will ask for it. Otherwise, keep it to yourself. For the most part, kids have to learn their own lessons the hard way. So hold your “pearls of wisdom.” Bite your tongue and try not to take it personally.
5. Relationships with our adult children are now mutual and voluntary since we’re not in charge anymore. And our children mostly hold the reins. Our children can determine how much time they want to spend with us – when and for how long. So keep that in mind when your children are small. One day, chickens come home to roost. Or don’t, whichever the case may be.
|Mimi with Henr|
6. Your adult children will bring one of life’s greatest gifts into your life, and at a time when you probably need it most – Grandchildren. We’re talking overwhelming love and indescribable joy! So a big heartfelt, thank you, thank you, thank you!
7. While your adult children are about their own lives, don’t neglect your own. Someone once described it this way, “remember to tend your own garden.” Stay active, involved, and interesting. You’ll be more fun to be around.
8. On rare occasions, your children may take you for granted. Maybe even have moments when they forget how much they love you. Try not to worry or fret and be secure in the knowledge that they always love you.You may just have to practice a little faith for a while!
9. Get to know and enjoy your sons-in-laws/daughters-in-laws! They can greatly enrich your family. You may even come to love them like your own. (I speak from experience – Moni and Mark are the best!
10. Your kids can be some of your best teachers. My husband Pat and I have learned and continue to learn from our children. They have taught us about computers, Smartphones, blogs – giving us a leg up on all the new techie things that intimidate us just a little. Right now Stephanie is teaching us about preparing nutritious, healthy meals while Susanna shares with us thoughts on spirituality and community. And it is my belief that our children continue to watch and absorb more lessons in living from us as they observe us navigating our life’s challenges, transitions and passages. Bottom line: they still need us. So remember that your kids are watching and try to be a good role model.
P.S. One other thing, I have the smartest, most beautiful, most talented and loving daughters a mother could ever ask for. Really. I thank God for them and what they mean to my life everyday. And one day, if you’re very, very lucky indeed, your daughters become your best friends.0