Here's some parenting wisdom I received from my friend Erin before I even had kids.
Erin was convinced that kids are fully formed by the time they turn five. When her daughter was very young, Erin was diagnosed with breast cancer. She wanted desperately to reach her daughter's fifth birthday so she could feel she had a hand in forming her daughter's core character. As I watched the little girl's early years unfold, I decided Erin was onto something. Her little girl really did have a full fledged personality and world view by year five. Erin lived until her girl was almost six, and was an amazing mother. I'm convinced that her daughter will always know deep down inside how loved she is because her Mom loved her so well in those early formative years.
Erin's wisdom has given me a little nudge in the direction of valuing my job as a mom. My kids might not have hard and fast memories of all the fun times we are having now, but I know our experiences are etching blueprints on their emotional centers. I'm choosing to believe in Erin's approach because I would love more than anything for my girls to be hardwired to feel loved, to love, and take on the world with gusto, to learn, to laugh and feel grounded in who they are.
On another note, I love this parenting advice I got recently from a friend -- 'Your job is to love them and keep them alive.' When I heard that I just cracked up. So unforgetable and so simple. It helps on the days when parenting feels hard.