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  • Elizabeth Foster

Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became a Mom!

Let me take you back to the early days of my journey as a young mom. At 22, I held my newborn daughter in my arms, feeling a mix of excitement and trepidation. Like many new parents, I was convinced that I had everything under control and that I knew exactly how to navigate the challenges of parenthood. Little did I know, I was about to embark on the most humbling and transformative journey of my life.


As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I quickly realized that parenthood was far more complex and demanding than I had ever imagined. Despite my best intentions, I found myself grappling with feelings of fear and uncertainty. What did I really know about raising a child? I was still in the process of figuring out how to take care of myself, let alone another human being who depended on me for everything.


Adding to the complexity of the situation was the instability of my relationship with her father. Our dynamic was fraught with ups and downs, leaving me feeling emotionally drained and unsure of how to provide a stable environment for my daughter. And then there were the financial struggles—barely scraping by from paycheck to paycheck, I often found myself worrying about how to make ends meet and provide for my growing family.

Elizabeth Foster with Her Nation Magzine
Elizabeth Foster | Transformative Life Coach

In hindsight, I've come to understand that parenthood is a unique journey—one that doesn't come with a manual or a set of instructions. It's a role that we step into with little preparation, yet it's undoubtedly one of the most important and impactful roles we'll ever have.


As my children grew alongside me, they learned valuable lessons not just from the words I spoke, but from observing my actions and the way I navigated life's challenges. Looking back, I can't help but wonder what I would do differently if given the chance to start over.


If I could turn back the clock, here's what I would tell my younger self:

 

 1.   Be Human First: It's Okay to Show Your Human Side

 

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned is the importance of embracing vulnerability and imperfection as a parent. We're not superheroes; we're human beings with our own set of strengths and limitations. Recognizing and accepting our humanity allows us to connect more deeply with our children and serve as authentic role models of resilience.

 

Looking back, I wish I could have expressed to my children, "I'm sorry I didn’t show up for you at that moment. I was struggling with my own emotions and could have handled things better." If I had been more vulnerable and honest with my children as they were growing up, I believe it would have fostered a deeper connection between us and taught them the value of authenticity.

 

It's important for children to understand that it's okay not to always be at our best—that we're all bound to have moments of imperfection. However, what truly matters is how we handle those moments. By being honest, taking responsibility, and offering genuine apologies, we demonstrate the power of self-awareness and accountability.

 

When we model moments of imperfection and vulnerability with our children, we show them that love means being honest, owning our mistakes, and sharing our feelings openly. In my opinion, there's no greater gift we can give them than the lesson that it's okay to be human and to show our human side.

 

2.    Love is the Best Gift You Can Give


In the whirlwind of parenthood, it's easy to overlook a fundamental truth: the most priceless gift we can offer our children is love. Love forms the bedrock of a strong parent-child bond, nurturing their emotional well-being and instilling in them a sense of security and belonging.


One powerful way we can demonstrate love is through presence. Amidst the chaos of daily life—cleaning the house, running errands, and juggling countless responsibilities—it's essential to prioritize being present with our children. This means truly listening when they share their thoughts and feelings, carving out dedicated time to spend with them, and showing them that they matter deeply to us.


When we allocate our time solely to chores and obligations, leaving our children with whatever scraps of attention are left over, we inadvertently send them a message that they're not a priority. However, when we deliberately set aside moments to engage with them—whether it's playing a game, taking a leisurely walk, or simply enjoying a quiet moment together—we communicate that they hold a special place in our hearts.


By nurturing these moments of connection, we not only express our love but also teach our children the importance of making time for meaningful relationships. As they grow older and their schedules fill up, they'll remember the moments of quality time spent together and hopefully prioritize similar moments in their own lives.


Looking back, I realize how fleeting these moments truly are. I often find myself longing for just a few more minutes of cuddles or shared lunches now that my children have grown busy with their own lives. Reflecting on this, I'm reminded of the importance of making time for our children while we still can, so that they, in turn, learn to prioritize relationships and make time for us in the future.

  

3.  Avoiding Overindulgence: Teaching Life's True Values

 

It's easy to succumb to the temptation of showering our children with material possessions and privileges. However, I've come to realize that overindulging them can have detrimental effects. By setting boundaries and instilling the values of hard work and gratitude, we equip them with essential life lessons and foster their healthy development.

 

Reflecting on my own experience, I recognize how my husband and I overcompensated with our children. Both raised by single mothers working multiple jobs to make ends meet, we were determined to provide our children with the best of everything—name brands, top-notch education, and enriching experiences. My husband was adamant that our kids wear only designer clothes, believing it was a reflection of our parenting prowess.

 

In our quest to prove ourselves as good parents, however, we failed to teach our children the importance of adversity and discerning true value from superficial appearances. By constantly prioritizing brands over meaning, we inadvertently communicated to them that material possessions were paramount and that fitting in was essential for acceptance.

 

Our children missed out on valuable lessons about standing up for themselves, making difficult decisions, and understanding the true meaning of gratitude. By shielding them from adversity, we inadvertently hindered their ability to navigate life's challenges independently as adults.

 

In hindsight, I realize the importance of letting our children experience struggle and make decisions that require them to weigh their priorities. By allowing them to face these challenges early on, they learn humility, gratitude, and the value of making choices based on genuine meaning rather than societal expectations.

 

Ultimately, it's crucial for us as parents to teach our children the values that truly matter and to refrain from projecting our own insecurities onto them. By doing so, we empower them to lead fulfilling lives based on authenticity, gratitude, and resilience.


 

4.  Empowering Growth Through Experience

 

As parents, our natural inclination is to shield our children from failure and adversity. However, I've learned that allowing them to experience setbacks and challenges is essential for their personal growth and resilience. By stepping back and giving them space to navigate difficulties on their own, we empower them to develop problem-solving skills and cultivate confidence.

 

Failure is an inevitable part of life—it's how we learn and grow. Encouraging our children to embrace failure as a natural part of the learning process is crucial. They will undoubtedly make mistakes, but it's through these experiences that they gain valuable insights and develop resilience.

 

Reflecting on my own journey as a parent, I realize that I may have inadvertently contributed to my children's fear of failure by not allowing them to experience it enough. While I wasn't a helicopter parent, I did have my own insecurities that influenced my parenting approach. I placed too much emphasis on perfection and success, inadvertently discouraging them from taking risks and learning from their mistakes.

 

If given the chance, I would encourage my children to embrace failure as an opportunity for growth and redirection. I would emphasize that it's okay to be imperfect and that mistakes are simply stepping stones on the path to success.

 

It's important for parents to recognize that every child is unique and has their own strengths, interests, and challenges. Instead of trying to mold them into a predetermined ideal, we should accept and celebrate them for who they are. By doing so, we teach them the invaluable lesson that they are enough just as they are and empower them to pursue their own paths to fulfillment.



“When you know better, do better!” - Maya Angelou

 

5. Prioritize Your Well-Being: Embrace Your Identity Beyond Motherhood


It's crucial to remember the importance of self-care and maintaining a life outside of being a mom. Many of us, myself included, tend to pour all our energy into motherhood, often neglecting our own identities and well-being in the process. However, when children eventually leave the nest, moms may find themselves lost without the title of "mom" defining their identity.


By pursuing our passions and interests alongside our role as a mom, we teach our children the value of balance and self-fulfillment. This not only helps them develop a healthy sense of independence but also alleviates any guilt or burden they may feel about pursuing their own paths in life.


It's essential to recognize that being a mom doesn't mean sacrificing our own identities or dreams. We can be both a devoted parent and pursue our passions—whether it's art, friendship, travel, or any other interest. Involving our children in our interests can also be enriching, but it's equally important to give ourselves permission to live our lives

authentically and purposefully.


By demonstrating self-care and pursuing activities that bring us joy, we set a positive example for our children. They learn that it's not only okay but essential to prioritize their own well-being and pursue their passions. Let's embrace the multifaceted nature of our identities and show our children that there's room for more than one title in life. By doing so, we empower them to live fulfilling lives and explore all that they can be.


Being a mom has been such a significant part of my life—a role that I proudly embrace. My children mean the world to me, and through them, I've learned invaluable lessons about myself, life, and what it means to be both a mom and a compassionate human being.


I often find myself reflecting on the legacy I want to leave behind. When I ask myself, "How do I want to be remembered?" The answer is clear: I want to be known for embodying love in all its forms—I want to give love, receive love, and live a life filled with love.


Let's all radiate our inner light, embracing the beauty of our messy, imperfect lives as mothers and individuals. Together, let's stand tall and shine brightly, spreading love and kindness wherever we go.

“Wherever life takes you, trust your journey!”

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Elizabeth Foster with Her Nation Magzine
Elizabeth Foster | Self-Love Coach

Meet the expert:

Introducing Elizabeth Foster , a passionate Transformative Self-Love Coach dedicated to guiding women on their journeys of healing, self-discovery, and self-love. As the founder of "For the Love of Self Coaching" and the host of "The Self-Love Lounge" podcast, as well as a published author, Elizabeth is on a mission to empower every woman to stand in her intrinsic self-worth and embrace self-love unconditionally. With the book she coauthored, "Rattled Awake, Volume 7" Elizabeth shares profound wisdom and practical tools to help readers cultivate a deep sense of self-compassion and acceptance. Join her transformative journey and discover the power of embracing your true essence.



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