If I could go back and whisper words of wisdom to my 28 year-old mom self this is what I’d say:

1. Every age is only a stage that will last a short time. Take lots of videos and pictures. Put the laundry basket and vacuum down, it’s more important to be present with your kids.

2. Don’t stress about money. A picnic in the park, or searching for shells at the beach costs little but still brings just as many smiles as an amusement park. Sometimes more.

3. Slow Down! If you over schedule your lives you’ll become exhausted and won’t enjoy each day as much as you should.

4. More important than straight A’s is teaching a love of learning. It’s good to tell your children they’re intelligent but just as important to teach them about effort.

5. Hold your children and carry them for as long as you can because there will come a day when it’s no longer possible.

6. Volunteer in your community. Give back. Your children are watching. When they’re old enough bring them with you.

7. It’s OK to take time for yourself. You need it in order to be the best mom you can be.

8. Teach gratitude by living with gratitude.

9. Give them wings. Teach them to dream. Teach them that people are good.

10. Your children are two completely different people. Don’t compare them. Let them be their true selves.

11. A messy bedroom is not a reflection of your mothering skills. It’s simply a messy room.

12. Eric’s relationship with your kids is vital. Always support it even when he teaches them to burp the alphabet and hangs them upside down from the ceiling. They need his love too.

13. You’ll never regret your family vacations. Time together is more important than any toy or gadget.

14. Don’t forget about yourself. Keep growing, learning, and working because part of being a mom is being a teacher for life.

15. Keep up those piano lessons. One day you’ll listen to a concert in your living room.

16. When your kids are teens remember that they’re not adults. Don’t expect them to plan or organize like a forty year-old. Help them ease into adulthood.

17. See the beauty of your children and the beauty in the world. Let the light shine through you to them so that they may take it on their journey and share it with others.

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