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I am a school psychologist. I am trained in both Psychology and Education. I love my work and feel inspired and enthusiastic about it everyday. Yet, when it comes to my own children, I am just a parent before anything else and I know that mothering with perfect patience can be very hard. If I had to give one piece of advice to a crowd of parents, it would be this: Given all that can be overwhelming about parenting, take note of the minuscule moments. We parents spend a lot of time worrying over BIG things. What have they learned? What have they yet to learn? How do I support their growth? How do I protect them? How do I ensure their future successes? When they aren’t behaving the way we would like them to, we ask ourselves, “What can I do now? Am I doing something wrong?” The answers to these questions are important and can consume us. Yet everyday, there are mini-moments of unparalleled love and joy that we may miss by only focusing on the big things.
I have four children. I adore them, but parenting them to the best of my ability can require tremendous patience, love and support from other adults. It is okay to admit that, friends. It the toughest job that you cannot afford to screw up. How do we get through it with our sanity? How do we reassure ourselves that it will all be okay? It’s often in the minutiae. Look for the micro-moments, the minuscule bits of what matters most.
Early one morning, before a big Final Exam…my sweet, lovely, 15-year-old firestorm came storming, no…stomping into the bathroom and demanded, “MOM, where is your perfume?” Perplexed and annoyed, I was quiet…until she said, “I NEED to smell it during my test. I find it comforting.” In that second, she was once again an adorably scared-of-the-dark 3-year-old, with un-brushed curls and a fairy princess nightgown and I was spraying her closet with my magical monster spray so that she could sleep knowing that her room was safe.
I caught it! I did not let the love go unnoticed because of my impatience or her temporary teenage tornado. Like a wrinkle in time, I felt the blip of my younger-mother-self’s heart…full of love and understanding because my baby girl needed my reassurance and comfort. Of course, she is a teenager now—a lock-herself-in-her-room-with-her-headphones-on, roll-her-eyes-when-she-thinks-I’m-not-watching, adolescent girl defining herself and figuring life out, but she still needs me in much the same way. Even though I was rushing, busy and startled by her abrupt entrance, I made space before reacting and was able to take note of the minuscule moment and it made all the difference. With love and hope and happiness, I sent her off to school and thought, may my mystical sprays always have power for my beautiful baby and may I always make space to notice the marvelous micro-moments that make up a lifetime of love and parenting. And so may we all.
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