How I learned to be a mom

When I brought my first child, my daughter Fallon, home it was two days before 9/11. I had read all the books on pregnancy, eating right and raising babies, but nothing prepared me for the real deal. I had always been good on following text books and directions as needed, but I didn’t know there would moments that books don’t cover.

Everyone at the pediatrician’s office knew my voice within two weeks.

“Well hello Mrs. Adams, what can I assist you with today?”

I never thought twice about it. I just wanted the absolute best for my girl. I didn’t care if I called the doctor’s office 20 times in one day. If I was unsure about something then I had to check in with the nurse to make sure I had their input.

I was dead set on nursing her but she refused to latch on. I had the pumping machine but I had not planned on using it until I was ready to return to work. After two weeks of unsuccessful attempts and forcing her to nurse, I had decided to focus on pumping full time. It was the hardest and best decision I had made since becoming a mom.

It was also when I learned that books don’t really do shit for helping you raise kids.

My son was a different story. He did not like the bottle at all. Luckily since I was fortunate enough to stay home for the next 18 months, I was able to nurse him exclusively. Nurses would encourage me to get him trained on the bottle so when it came time to graduate him to a sippy cup it would make the transition easier.

I never listened.

When my son was in his final year at preschool, at four years of age, his teacher requested an evaluation to discuss his plans for school the following year. He was always the youngest in his class being an August baby. I remember her telling me that socially and educationally, he would struggle greatly if I went on to send him to Kindergarten in the fall.

Again, I didn’t listen.

I don’t knock the child rearing books and I still have them in my library, but they have been untouched since my daughter was first born.

The truth is, the best advice you could give a new mother, or any mother for that matter, is: trust your own instincts. You are the only one who knows what’s best for your children.

I tell this to every new mom I meet who asks me for advice on parenthood. I never pretend to know everything cause I don’t. I especially don’t know what I am doing half the time now that I am a mom to two teens. But I know within my heart that whatever feels right, when it comes to my own, I go with it.

I feel like my mom taught me that in her own way. She was strict but she so cleverly chose her battles. Later on after my teenage years, she recalled the story of my punked out curly mohawk hair style I wore religiously in Sophmore Year. She swore she wanted to chop it off in my sleep. But my dear second cousin would assure her it was a phase that I would outgrow. And I did. I remind myself of this story whenever I experience the current teen years I have with my own. I also remember to trust my instincts.

My mom did right by me. She taught me how to love unconditionally, even if it was in her own way, she always managed to let me know she loved me greatly, even when I wasn’t paying attention. She let me know she wanted only the best for me, even if what I thought was best wasn’t but whatever my heart desired, and she let me have my own experiences.

Mom, thank you for being the best mom for me. I hope you know how deeply sorry I am for being the hardest of your three kids. I hope I made it up to you by being the one who gave you your first two, and only, grandkids. I am so proud they have you as their grandmother. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world cause they have gotten to grow up around you. Happy Mother’s Day to you mom. I love you with all of me.

She taught me how to be a mom
2004: my first Mother’s Day to both of my kids