1. It may seem fast in a couple of years, but today is still made up of hours and minutes to appreciate and enjoy. Like Walt Whitman, suck the marrow out of parenthood and take the good with the frustrating one step at a time. If you can take it in day by day, in 10 years when you look at your tween daughter and wonder where the time has gone, you can confidently say and feel that it was a well spent childhood filled with love and play.
2. These little people following you around have never been here, on Earth, before. They aren't trying to driving you nuts on purpose. They are just testing the waters just as you are trying to figure out how to be a parent. You are in this grand experiment together. Give yourself and them a little slack.
3. There is no perfect sock, or dinner or life. Relax. Do your best with the best of intentions. Sometimes you have to give up cleaning all the toys up for 20 minutes of playing on your cell phone at the end of the night. Things will always need to get done. The laundry basket in my entry way has been there for at least 2 days. I will not get a fine or lose my mom card because of it.
4. As a woman in the year 2015, you can work, be a good mom, have a strong marriage, have girls' nights out, make a soufflé and write the next best seller, but it's likely something is going to get slightly less attention. It's okay. The women's equality movement wasn't meant to be about doing it all, it was meant to be about choices. Too much work or too much kid time can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated. Balance seems to be the great key. Excess always leads down the wrong path.
5. Don't compare yourself or your children to other moms or other children. If there is one thing we can do for each other is hear the wise words of Tina Fey in Mean Girls, "We need to stop girl on girl violence." Put in your best effort and feel good about that. Kids grow differently, mature and learn at various rates, comparison fosters envy which will cloud our opportunities for feeling at peace and fulfilled.
6. One thing I figured out early on is that you can't always predict what your kids are going to do or say. This becomes more true with every passing day. The older Lydia gets, the more I know I can't dictate everything that comes out of her mouth. Though I wonder why we insist on socializing our kids because I assume the snotty remark that came out of their mouth was from another child in her class, because she would never get that from us at home (right?) I am reminded of the beauty and richness of relationships. It is the fabric of community, the village, that help us grow.
7. No one in the history of parenthood has ever said this was an easy gig, but many agree it was one of the most rewarding. Be thankful everyday. Appreciate the opportunity to be with these little people and to love them deeply. These little people will grow into bigger people that will be pretty incredible too.