Ten (+ one) Commandments of Motherhood
I. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s life.
Remember that old adage, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? Well it is true. Their life might look easier, they may have nicer stuff in their garage, their children may seem better behaved, their career more fulfilling or exciting… but never forget they are looking back over the fence and thinking the same thing about your grass.
II.Thou shall not believe every self-proclaimed expert on parenting.
Trust your own instincts. If someone’s advice doesn’t resonate with you, ignore it. You are the best expert on your own children.
III. Thou shall force thy children to do chores and other things which make them momentarily unhappy.
Always remember being a parent isn’t about being your child’s friend, it is about raising happy, healthy, successful human beings. And happy, healthy, successful human beings need to know how to do laundry, load the dishwasher, and brush their teeth.
IV. Thou shall not shake thy children, even the teenage ones.
Contrary to popular belief you can not shake some sense into them. Oh, you will want to. Restrain yourself. Count to 100. And then pour yourself a stiff drink.
V. Thou shall make thy words sweet, because you will have to eat them many, many times.
The best way to make sure that your child will do some horrible thing or exhibit some awful behavior is to utter the words, “My child will never…”
VI. Thou shall forgive.
Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how we all learn to be better people. So offer forgiveness freely and without strings to your children, your spouse, your friends, but most of all forgive yourself for your shortcomings. If motherhood has done nothing else for me, it has taught me about all my own character flaws and made me much more tolerant of them in other people.
VII. Thou shall put no false gods before your family.
Don’t believe that material objects will make you happier, they won’t. Don’t fall into the trap of saying we will be happy when we have x, y, or z. The happiest families are those that spend time together and enjoy each other.
VIII. Thou shall not judge other mothers, neither shall you use other mothers as a yardstick by which you judge yourself.
We all struggle with different areas of motherhood. There is no such thing as a perfect mother. Remember when you were a teenager and your mother told you not to compare your inside to someone elses outside? Well, that still holds true. We all have different strengths. We all have our weaknesses. We will all lose our tempers in the grocery store check-out line at least once.
IX. Thou shall say No and not feel guilty.
Say no to commitments that don’t enrich your life. Say no to people who drag you down. Say no to your children, even when they whine and cry. Especially when they whine and cry.
X. Thou shall take care of thyself.
So many mothers get lost the first few years of parenthood. They stop taking care of themselves. They put the desires and needs of everyone else before their own. Taking care of yourself is being selfish. Just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a family unit is only as happy as the unhappiest member.
XI. Thou shall maintain a sense of humor.
Especially when it comes to yourself. Laugh. Laugh often and with enthusiasm. There will be days when it is a fine line between laughter and tears, choose laughter.
Photo credit: ThinkstockPublished January 5, 2012. Last updated June 27, 2018.