My mother and I clashed a great deal when I was a teenager.
Later still a bit when I was an adult and being more bull headed than smart. But she was still the first person I would call when I had no idea what to do with my baby.
I’d call when my baby hit his head, somehow managed to step on a piece of glass, was throwing up, was throwing a tantrum…the list of reasons to call my mother those first few months was endless.
It completely changed our relationship from weekly movies and shopping to one where we became friends.
That doesn’t mean that it is always easy to take her advice.
She Will Calm You Down
For about the first six months of my baby’s life, looking back it seems like I was in a constant state of panic.
I was worried if he was sleeping enough if he was eating enough, how do I breastfeed without screaming in pain and frustration. Is he sick, is he hurt, I had no idea about any of it. And that is why I would call my mom and listen to her advice on every subject.
It calmed me down and let me know what was going on and what to expect.
That still didn’t mean I always listened (take a nap when he does? Please I have the stuff to do!) but it would just calm my panic and give me the confidence to know I could do this.
Been There, Done That
I listened to everything my mom told me and I still do.
The main reason being that she raised me, and I feel like I turned out pretty good. Not perfect but pretty darn close.
I also knew that she had years of experience on me, and she knew what I was headed for.
There were times I was sure she was thinking in the back of her head, what the hell was I doing with a kid if I was so clueless, but she was always patient.
Our conversations could last hours; I would respond to all of her words of wisdom with caveats about why my situation was different. She would come up with more answers, and I would fight them, or go along with them.
Now, years later with yet another baby in my arms, I call less, but I listen more.
Advice Not Taken
As I said before, there were plenty of times that I didn’t take my mom’s advice.
I just didn’t think it was right for my family or me. Sometimes I was right about that and sometimes I was wrong, but being a mom is all about learning and trying things out for yourself.
My mom has different views on spoiling the kids and spending money, which I usually don’t agree with.
She also thinks different things about discipline and whether my young kids should be expected to do chores or behave a certain way.
I have two responses for when I know I am not going to take her advice. The first is the nod and smile. It’s pretty useless because my mom knows me well enough to see this is just to appease her. The second, and the one I use the most is just to let her know my opinion and what I plan to do instead.
Overall talking and listening to my mom has led to a wealth of good advice and a great relationship.
But hopefully, many of you had the same experience.