Recently I attended a baby shower where someone videoed little advice tidbits for the expecting couple. It was fun to hear all the advice that was passed around the room. At first, I wasn’t overly interested in chiming in, after all, I don’t consider myself a mom of the year material. Besides, my son is grown now and things have changed. But you know what? I thought about how my son has turned out and realized I did have something to say!

Let your child experience life. It’s that simple and yet it seems to be so hard! We always want to protect our kids. We don’t want them to get physically or emotionally hurt. While trying to protect our kids is certainly expected sometimes as parents we go a little too far and forget to let our kids still experience what life is about.

Like I said before I certainly am not the mom of the year material but I’m proud of what my son has become. It was ok that he got a few bruises jumping his bike. He likes to get dirty and his hands aren’t always perfectly clean when he eats but he never gets sick.

He knows how to fix things because he loved tearing them apart. He learned that small scrapes were nothing but cried when the dog died and when his girlfriend broke up with him. He experienced so many joys and sorrows of life! But I never forgot to put him to bed lovingly. That is, and will always be, one of the most important things to make your child feel welcome, secure. and loved.

My son will be 21 soon and as most moms would say the time certainly has gone by but I cherish all the experiences I allowed him. We rode the scariest roller coasters and climbed a rock wall together. We ate all the bad-for-you foods at the state fair until we couldn’t anymore. I taught him to drive, do the laundry, balance his checkbook and to sew. I took him to the emergency room a couple times when he broke a bone or needed stitches. I was there when he swore into the military and I was there to say “come back safe” when he went off to war.

It was (and still is) hard sometimes to let my son live his life. I don’t always agree with his decisions but it is his life, not mine. I’m just glad to be sharing his experiences. I’ve seen so many mothers that just complained about, well just about everything, like their work, their colleagues, the bank, the weather, you name it.

I’m a different kind of mom, and the adventures I’ve been through have changed me. I didn’t realize I wanted to be a mom so badly until I couldn’t get pregnant. Then, being a mom was all I could think about. For five years I cried myself to sleep, cursed my body, prayed, and longed to hold a baby in my arms. Do you know that feeling? It’s not something that can be truly understood by anyone who has not experienced it. So take a look at these how-to-get-to-sleep-tips for first-time moms.

I’ll admit I was bitter. I was angry and resentful of all the pregnant people around me. I couldn’t rejoice in the babies of friends and relatives. I wish I knew then what a blessing it all was and how special the experience would become.

You see, I am now able to look back and remember the pain in my heart when I talk to someone who is trying to get pregnant and can’t. I can relate on a different level to someone telling her heart-breaking story of infertility. I can rejoice with profound energy and enthusiasm with mothers who have overcome too many obstacles to become mothers. I cry for first-time parents finally experiencing their joy.

All of these feelings I have now and the outlook I am able to have is only possible from what I’ve been through. I am a firm believer that when things happen we must grow and find one thing each day to be joyful about. That’s my personal motto: Finding joy every day. If you know me, I’m a different kind of mom. All three of my girls have a very unique story of landing in my arms. Each took a very long time to get here, but that’s ok. I’m fine with being different.