I’ll never forget the day I found out I had a little baby growing inside me. I was excited, nervous, and terrified all at the same time. The anticipation of being a mother created a new sense of responsibility in my life and put me in a space where I was more aware of my actions. The thought that this little soul would rely on me for everything was overwhelming. At the time, I was 18 and felt like a child myself. Yet, I knew it was up to me to set a good example and teach her all that she needed to know to live in this big, scary, amazing world. Looking back 21 years later, I have to say I now realize I am the student and not the teacher that I thought I would be.
Brittany has taught me so much about life, love, and forgiveness. My life was forever changed the day this sweet little girl was born. The last 21 years have gone so fast and now she’s an amazing beautiful woman. When I look at her, I feel comfort in knowing that I must have done something right. She is utterly amazing and I’m blessed and honored to be her mother.
In honor of Brittany’s 21st birthday, here are 21 snippets of motherly advice:
1. You are LOVED! The people who matter are those who love you for exactly who you are.
2. Love yourself. You are unique and there’s nobody just like you. Nourish the things that make you different and love yourself TODAY.
3. Be your own friend. Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to someone else who was having a hard day. Being critical never works, so give yourself some slack.
4. Be grateful. Look around you and realize you have more than most. Think about how lucky you are to have what you have, the unique talents you’ve been blessed with, and the people in your life who care about you.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead of looking at your weaknesses, ask yourself what your strengths are and be proud of them. Don’t brag, but feel good about your talents and work on using them to your best advantage.
6. Be okay with imperfection. You don’t have to perfect or anywhere near it. You can screw up and still be just fine! [I’m proof of that!]
7. Don’t knock others down. Sometimes we try to criticize others just to make ourselves look or feel better. This is a destructive habit that, in the end, hurts you as well. Instead, try to be happy for them and learn from their successes.
8. Apologize. Accept responsibility for your part in a situation. Say you’re sorry. Accept the healing spirit it brings. Then move on.
9. You are in charge. You can choose to feel any way you want to. Sometimes life is hard and bad things happen. It’s how you choose to react that defines your life and how happy it will be.
10. Pretend. Don’t feel great about yourself? Pretend that you do. Don’t feel very confident? Pretend that you do. Soon you’ll realize you’re no longer pretending.
11. Choose healthy. If you have a choice between healthy and unhealthy today, choose healthy. It’s a positive habit that has a huge impact.
12. Appreciate beauty. It’s all around you — in nature, music, words, and especially in people. Look for it. When you see it on the outside, you start to feel it on the inside.
13. Live for the moment. Don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. Concentrate on this very moment. Soon all the little moments add up to an amazing life.
14. Things happen for a reason. Remember this and don’t worry because it will all work out. Ask yourself, “Will this matter a year from now?”
15. Plan your day. Pick only 2 or 3 things to accomplish and follow through. Get the hard things over with first.
16. Solve problems right away. Don’t let negative feelings fester. Face the problem directly and take care of it so it doesn’t steal one more moment of happiness.
17. Don’t set goals that you should achieve. Set goals that you want to achieve. It’s your life — nobody else’s. You are in charge.
18. Don’t feel guilty. The only person’s happiness and emotions you control are your own. [You might not need this yet, but just wait until you’re a mom. I’ll remind you of it then.]
19. Smile. Smiling tells your brain that you feel happy. Try it. It works.
20. Put family first. In the end, what else really matters? Every single day connect with someone by giving them your time, love, and attention.
21. Call your mother. I love you like nobody else ever could and will always have your back.
Happy birthday my beautiful Brittany. I love you more than words could ever say!