Letters From a Dying Mom: Instructions for Daddy on Raising Babies

Gemma Hogg of the UK may have died, but her daughter will always have her hair brushed and she will wear a good pair of shoes.

The 31-year-old mother of three young children ages 2 to 6 died last week, but the manual she left her husband for raising their children will live on with instructions like:

1. Give them healthy school lunchboxes.

2. Don't buy them cheap shoes.

3. Do Isabelle's hair in ponytail for school.

4. Don't shout at them.

It made me wonder what my own 10 tips would be should I ever know that I would have to leave my family. It's morbid, but it's also something almost every parents has considered late at night when they can't sleep. What are the most important things for children? Here are mine:

  1. Kiss them and tell them you love them every time they leave the house or you leave them.
  2. Make sure they have nice clothing, but let them pick their own outfits.
  3. Don't force them to do activities they hate.
  4. Try not to have to wake them up if at all possible. Schedule things around their sleep schedules.
  5. Never judge the things they tell you too harshly or they won't talk anymore.
  6. Be honest with them about as much as you can. If they ask questions, give them the answers they are ready to hear, but don't lie.
  7. Continue being affectionate with your daughter throughout her life.
  8. Chaperone their activities whenever you can.
  9. Play with them. Whatever games they want.
  10. Know their friends and know them well. Know their friends' parents.

I could go on and on. It may seem morbid, but I did lose my mother young, so I know better than anyone not to take the now for granted. If anything ever happened to me, not seeing my children grow up would be my biggest regret.

It's so easy in the crazy moments to forget what really matters. We're done in by the fits and the whining and the loss of freedom at times and we forget -- like when our single friends have Facebook status updates like: "I rolled out of bed at 11, got some brunch. Movies all day and then party!" -- just how much family time matters.

Living in the moment can be difficult, but stories like this remind me that even with all the little annoyances, my life is so much happier and richer than I ever could have hoped.

What would you tell your spouse?


Image via Facebook.com


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