Our children don't stay little forever.
Now that mine are adults I often find myself wishing for the days filled with rambunctious play, chocolate chip cookies and milk, bedtime stories, Disneyland....
There was never enough time.
What would I say to a young mother if she asked for my advice?
Savor every moment even when you are exhausted from a long day of work, give up that extra hug, read their favorite book just one more time before you turn out the lights, go to the park instead of doing an extra load of laundry, laugh at the silly things they do. Know that you children will make endless mistakes and don't get angry instead reassure them that you will always be there to catch them when they fall.
Don't let anyone make your child feel bad about themselves. It is your responsibility to protect them as much as you can but not to shelter them from all of life's happenings. Rest assured that there will be many people in their lives who will hurt them and not always be kind. Support them as best you can so they do not become jaded. As difficult as it is to watch, these will be the things that will define them.
Teach them life skills; cooking, cleaning and laundry, grocery shopping, they will need to know how to do these things when they leave home.
Make family time important; visiting grandparents, Sunday lunches, birthdays, dinner time, breakfast before school. They need to belong and honor traditions.
Teach them to have faith in something bigger than themselves, to respect others and the natural world.
Teach them generosity and gratitude. They are not entitled to everything and they need to know that most things must be earned in life.
Teach them humility and humanity.
Above all else give them the gifts of your time, unconditional love and respect.
And know that undoubtedly you will make many mistakes and that's okay.