Some of these are going to sound trite, because they're things everybody says. But everybody says them because they're true.
1. "Relish every moment." It's shocking how quickly they grow up. The needs you take for granted when they're wee disappear in greater numbers as they mature, and if you have been at home with them that entire time, you'll flounder as you struggle to find yourself again.
2. "Don't forget to take care of yourself, too." So much of this goes hand in hand with number one. Because I threw myself into my children and my family, my needs took the back burner. It didn't help that I was already bad at taking care of myself. With others so reliant on me, it got even worse, and now it feels like I'm having to make up for all that lost time.
3. "Teaching them to be independent will mean they can pull away even sooner. As hard as it might be to experience, this isn't a bad thing, so keep on doing it." I always joke that I'm paying the price now for instilling independence in my children early on, that if I really wanted them to need me, I would've ignored those lessons. But the truth is, I'm proud of them. I'm proud that they're not frightened to take chances. I'm proud that when push comes to shove, they can take care of themselves. They know they always have a haven with me and Craig, but I like the fact that everybody who meets them comments on how mature and capable they are.
4. "Never turn down a hug, even if you're in the middle of something." I have affectionate children. I raised them not to be afraid of showing it. They're both huggers, which throws off my family because I was raised among people who do not show physical affection. Those hugs have slowed down as they've got older, and I regret ever uttering the phrase, "Not right now," just because I was in the middle of working on something. Yes, sometimes it's a stalling tactic, but there's going to come a day when they're not around at all, and I'm going to miss those moments even more than I already do.
5. "Not everything is going to hurt them." I was (am) one of those moms that can't watch their kids do something remotely dangerous. It makes me sick to my stomach. I'm better than I used to be because the kids are older, but when I was younger, I couldn't even go with them to the playground. That was Craig's job. I was too nervous about them getting hurt, which then transferred to the kids, and then nobody had fun. I regret not getting to see them there. I'm not sure how easy it would be for me to break out of that if I had the chance to do it over, but I'd try, that's for sure.