8. Be an example of a beautiful woman with brains, determination, and integrity.
You already are all of those things. If you ever fear that you are somehow incapable of doing anything – remember this: If you have done any of the following:
a) grew life
b) impossibly and inconceivably got it out of your body
c) taken care of a newborn
d) made a pain go away with a kiss
e) taught someone to read
f) taught a toddler to eat with a utensil
g) cleaned up diarrhea without gagging
h) loved a child enough to be willing to give your life for them (regardless if they are your own) or
i) found a way to be strong when that child is suffering…
You are a superhero. Do not doubt yourself for one second. Seriously.
9. Teach him to have manners
..because its nice. and it will make the world a little better of a place.
10. Give him something to believe in
..because someday he will be afraid, or nervous, or heartbroken, or lost, or just need you, and you won’t be able to be there.
Give him something to turn to when it feels like he is alone, so that he knows that he will never be alone; never, never, never.
11. Teach him that there are times when you need to be gentle
..like with babies, and flowers, and animals, and other people’s feelings.
12. Let him ruin his clothes
Resolve to be cool about dirty and ruined clothes. You’ll be fighting a losing battle if you get upset every time he ruins another piece of clothing.
Don’t waste your energy being angry about something inevitable. Boys tend to learn by destroying, jumping, spilling, falling, and making impossible messes. Dirty, ruined clothes are just par for the course.
13. Learn how to throw a football
..or how to use a hockey stick, or read music, or draw panda bears (or in my case: BigFoot), or the names of different train engines, or learn to speak Elvish, or recognize the difference between Gryffindor and Slytherin, or the lyrics to his favorite song. Be in his life, not as an observer but as an active participant.
14. Go outside with him
Turn off the television, unplug the video games, put your cellphone on the charger, even put your camera away.
Just go outside and follow him around. Watch his face, explore his world, and let him ask questions. It’s like magic.
15. Let him lose
Losing sucks. Everybody isn’t always a winner. Even if you want to say, “You’re a winner because you tried,” don’t.
He doesn’t feel like a winner, he feels sad and crappy and disappointed. And that’s a good thing, because sometimes life also sucks, no matter how hard (as moms) we try to make it not suck for our kids.
This practice will do him good later when he loses again (and again, and again, and again, and again…..) Instead make sure he understands that – sometimes you win – sometimes you lose. But that doesn’t mean you ever give up.
16. Give him opportunities to help others
There is a big difference in giving someone the opportunity to help and forcing someone to help. Giving the opportunity lights a flame in the heart and once the help is done the flame shines brighter and asks for more opportunities.
Be an example of helping others in your own actions and the way your family helps each other and helps others together.
17. Remind him that practice makes perfect.
This doesn’t just apply to performance-based activities (like sports and music) but also applies to everything in life. You become a better writer by writing. You become a better listener by listening. You become better speaker by speaking.
Show your son this when he is just young enough to understand (that means from birth, folks – they are making sense of the world as soon as they arrive), practice trick-or-treating at your own front door before the real thing. Practice how you will walk through airport security before a trip.
Practice how you order your own food from the fast food cashier. Practice, practice, practice.
18. Answer him when he asks, “Why?”
Answer him, or search for the answer together. Show him the places to look for the answers (like his dad, or grandparents, or his aunts/uncles, or his books, or valid internet searches). Pose the question to him so he can begin thinking about answers himself.
Someday, when he needs to ask questions he’s too embarrassed to ask you – he’ll know where to go to find the right answers.