As I get older, I’m finding that more people are asking me for advice. I think this is a natural part of aging, people coming up behind you wanting to know how you got there, and if you have any suggestions on how to avoid pitfalls along the way.
I remember doing this very same thing—asking people questions about their careers, and of course, parenting.
I’ve never had any issue talking to young journalists about the paths I’ve taken to get to where I am today and what I might do differently if I had the chance. I enjoy the opportunity to mentor the next generation. But I’m just now starting to get questions about parenting, and for some reason that has thrown me for a little bit of a loop.
While I consider myself somewhat of an expert in my field after more than three decades on the job, I don’t think you ever feel like an expert in parenting. Yet, somehow, we muddle through, figuring it out along the way, and creating these amazing human beings who will go out into the world, and hopefully, make it a better place.
Recently, I’ve talked to several people with girls about what advice I might have for raising them and keeping them on the right path. Honestly, a lot of it is luck and some of it is DNA. I believe that people are born the way they are, and there’s not much we can do as parents to change someone’s core personality. What we can do is to nurture their potential, give them as many opportunities as possible, and support them along the way through failures and success. Obviously, the most important thing is love, and when you have that all of the other things fall into place.
The truth is that I don’t have any stellar advice other than to love your children and let them be who they are, to watch them unfold like beautiful flowers, one petal at a time. Launch them from the nest, and then wait patiently for them to return home.
Looking at the young women we have raised, I am so proud of them with every bone in my body. While I gave them life, I know I didn’t give them their individuality, their uniqueness, the things that make them special. I just got the opportunity to watch them blossom. I am so lucky to be their mother.
So, for all you young parents out there trying to find your way, know that everything you do with love is enough, children are not porcelain, they will not break when we make mistakes. They will grow stronger and so will we, and someday someone will ask you: “How did you do it?”
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.