At my first work conference back from maternity leave, one of the speakers asked the audience to turn to someone next to them and share one of their real-life superpowers. Not something from a movie or comic book, but an actual skill that made them unique.
I turned to the gentleman sitting next to me and shared a work-related skill that I was proud of. When it was his turn, he told me his superpower was making his kids smile.
How sweet is that?
As we continued to talk, I learned that his kids were in their teens and it was abundantly clear how much he loved them.
When he found out I had a young son, he gave me one piece of advice. He told me to always smile and be happy to see my kids when I/they walked into a room. No matter what kind of day either of us was having, just smile and be excited to see them.
At the time it seemed like good advice, but I didn’t fully appreciate or understand the impact it would have on me as a mom. A couple of years went by and I didn’t knowingly reflect on his advice, but I think it has always stayed with me, influencing my actions.
In the mornings, even the ones that start way too early, I greet my son and daughter with a smile and a hug as I get them out of bed.
When the mornings don’t go quite as planned, I rally and start fresh after naptime. When they go on an outing with daddy, or when I get home from the store, we always greet each other with smiles, hugs, and excitement.
Some days are easier than others. Some days I pause for a moment outside their door, take a deep breath, and give myself a little pep talk. Kids feed off of our energy more than we know, and smiling is contagious. When we greet them in a positive way it can turn around a bad mood or brighten a day that just isn’t going right. And you know what? There is nothing better to lift my spirits than seeing their huge grins and hearing their laughter when they see me.
I know someday when my kids are older I may not get the same reaction from them when I walk into a room. However, I hope that I will still always be able to make them smile.
I wish I could thank the gentleman who shared this advice with me and tell him how it has influenced my approach as a mother. By sharing this with others, I hope I can pay it forward.