By Lura Roti

A perk to being a journalist is getting to ask people who I may not know questions about their life. And in most cases, they are more than willing to answer.

One of my favorite stories to work on each year is a profile story featuring farm and ranch moms. I love hearing how other moms do things and learning from the advice they share when I ask them, “what advice would you share with a new mom?”

Let me share a few of my favorite responses.

“You aren’t perfect, neither are your kids, and that’s OK.”

Gleaning advice from others is something I truly value. And this may be the reason I freely share advice…although the older I get, the more I realize, most folks don’t appreciate being on the receiving end.

The reason it took me so long to figure this out is because most people are genuinely kind, and I don’t tend to mingle with grumps too often. The exception would be our daughter, Parker. She is not a grump, but she has no problem letting me know that she does not need or want my advice. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t want my help – just not unsolicited advice.

Recently she said, “Mom can you please just be here in case I need you, but don’t say anything.” Because of the circumstances, it was a difficult request to respect, but I did my best.

“Play with your kids. The dishes and laundry will still be there when your children are grown and have left the house.”

Now that she is 12, I have to remind myself that what she needs most from me right now is my respect for her ability to take care of herself (within reason) and my willingness to drop what I’m doing to engage whenever she is ready to engage.

Because focus is among my strengths, pulling myself away from a task and engaging in a new task is a tall order for me.

But when I do take time away from whatever to engage, I am always happy I did.

“If there’s work to be done, do it together.”

Easter 2023 was unique for us because we did not get together with family or friends as we typically do. Some family members had been sick and just weren’t up to getting together. So, after church, Parker and I spent a few hours preparing her favorite meal – lasagna, caprese salad and a lemon dessert.

She let me be cheesy and turn on an “Italian Restaurant” music station while we worked. We had so much more fun than if I’d done the meal prep myself. And Shon said it was the best lasagna he’s eaten!

I’m going to try and incorporate this same logic and ask her to help me plant and care for our vegetable garden this summer.

“Treasure these moments because before you know it, your children will be grown.”

It may be a bit cliché, but it is true. There are so many times I want to hit “pause.” But every stage is unique and wonderful in its own way. And ultimately it is our job as moms to raise children who become adults who can function independent of us. Kind of weird when I think about it.

“My job as a mom is to do a good enough job that I no longer have a job?”

And then I am reminded of another bit of wise mom advice: “Once a mom, always a mom.”