In the four years since the loss of my then only child, Emma, I’ve grown, evolved, and overcome obstacles I wasn’t sure I would. I’ve learned things that have affected how I parent my children. I wish that everyone would live as if they’ve lost.
5 Things I’ve Learned From Child Loss
- Time is precious: This one seems like a given. We’ve all heard the saying “Tomorrow is not promised.” While that is most certainly true, I’d like to revise the age-old truth; “Quality time is precious.” Folding clothes, doing dishes, or aimlessly scrolling through social media isn’t considered spending time with your kids, regardless if they’re in the same room or not. Quality time means interacting with your children, getting your tired, worn-out body on the floor and playing. Enjoy your children, but mostly, let them enjoy you.
- It’s not a competition: Not with your spouse, your best friend, or that always put-together mom who brings baked goods for her kids’ teachers. As a competitive person, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little competition, UNLESS the game is parenting. With spouses, it’s easy to non-chalantly mention how many times you got up in the night, over-exaggerate the fact that your precious baby had a blowout…again, or to make each pot and pan clink and clank from the dishwasher to the cabinet. There are days where we just pick up each other’s slack. No complaining, no boasting, just appreciation because one day, I know the favor will be returned.
- Let it go:
- Dinner table more like a magnet for ALL.THE.THINGS? LET IT GO!
- Dryer cycling the same load for the 13th time? LET IT GO!
- Kid had a meltdown in the grocery store? Embarrassing, right? LET IT GO!
Just like the infamous song, the list could go on for days! The truth is, some days will be better than others. One day the table might actually serve its purpose, the clothes will get folded and put away immediately following that ear piercing siren, and your child will actually help out with the shopping. Until then, so long as you have food for that cluttered table, clothes to “fluff,” and food to buy, chalk that up to a mom win!
- Don’t be too proud: Emma was my first child and I was set on raising her, alongside my husband, they way society tells us to. I wanted the best of things, hand-me-downs just wouldn’t do, and I certainly wasn’t going to ask for help with my own child. Now, before people can even finish their offer to help, chances are, I’ve handed over a child. It takes a village. I’m grateful for the help I’m offered and will gladly accept.
- See the bigger picture: I’ll never forget one time my husband had taken our daughter out to lunch and sent me a selfie of the two of them. I about fell out when I saw it. Y’all…my daughter was wearing overalls and a pajama shirt…in public! My face went straight to her attire and completely bypassed her peanut butter grin. At the time, I failed to notice what was important. They were both happy and bonding, and it didn’t have a thing to do with her clothes.
Since my daughter’s death, I’ve been blessed to be called “mommy” three times over. While I still find myself over-thinking, worrying unnecessarily, and holding the reins a bit too tight, I rest assured knowing my children are happy and heathly. What mother doesn’t want that for her children?