Tallulah leads her daughter by teaching her. She's taught "Bug" early on lessons in fun ways. A cool example of Tallulah making learning fun is her use of the "Cartie and America" book. She showed photos from this book to her daughter in an effort to introduce her to colors and shapes. It's an effective yet novel way to share time with her little one. As a new mom, she's maintaining her own identity and still spending time with her daughter. There are of course more traditional ways she teaches "Bug" lessons and spends time with her little one, for example kids programs and talking to her, but this was just one of the fun examples.
Tallulah also leads her friends and family by being a resource for curious loved ones. Her cousin's girlfriend, who is not a parent, asked how the labor went. And Tallulah spoke from her own experience and explained that it (the labor) was easier than expected. She shared that everyone prepared her with horror stories of child birth that by the time she had to deliver, she was more than ready. She's there for her peers who are interested in parenthood by answering their questions and letting them know what to expect.
There are no funny stories with "Bug" yet. But there have been challenges in motherhood. As a new mom, she came to the tough realization that she can't control everything. "A 12-pound person can come around and rearrange your plans." She explained that parenthood is a sure way to teach a parent that everything really doesn't revolve around oneself.
Tallulah is married and therefore shares her leadership role in a partnership. She explained that the leadership among partners is a give and take relationship. Partners have to decide early on to compromise on what's really important. These parents had to negotiate on the age "Bug" gets her ears pierced, and they had to negotiate on the christening (whether to have one or not). Camaraderie is very important. One of the secrets in Tallulah's partnership is that she and her husband laugh a lot, and this laughing enables the give and take instead of just one person dictating the relationship and raising of their child.
Becoming a mother has also given Tallulah more purpose in life. Prior to delivering her baby, her life was already full as a wife to her husband, daughter to her parents, sister to her brothers, and friend to her loved ones. But this additional purpose feels new and different. She has some thoughts about how mothers contribute to society. There's more of an influence from mothers, and parents in general, when the kids are young because the little ones are around their parents more and kids just need more guidance. However, when kids grow older (teens), it's a bit tricky. Teens are more exposed to peer pressure and spend less time away from parents. So, it's important for mothers to instill values in their children when they're young because eventually the kids grow up and have to make decisions on their own. Tallulah went on to share that maturity is important for mothers, but that's not necessarily qualified by age. For instance, she knows women in their 30s who are not mature enough for this role compared to some younger mothers. Maturity depends on the person.
In regard to preparing for parenthood, one book that sticks out to Tallulah is "What to Expect the First Year" by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. The book addresses concerns of a parent from newborn to 12 months for instance how to determine when a baby is really sick or when the doctor should be called.
When I asked her how important it is for mothers to spend time with their children, Tallullah replied, "quality over quantity." It's important for mothers to make the time with their children count. Be genuine and be engaged. She added that if a mother stays home with her children all day but doesn't spend any time with them, then there's no quality. Whereas parents who work all day, every day, and return home to do homework with their children and play with them on weekends. <--That's quality! Just make the time meaningful.
Tallulah said that, as a mother, it's important to remain open to learning. She, herself, has experience as a teacher dealing with children. Being a teacher, she practices routine in her daughter's life so the little one will feel safe with expectations at home. The use of routine will also make her baby feel safe. Yet, she remains open to listening to the other stories of other mothers. In fact, half of her friends are parents, and the other half are not parents. Nevertheless, she cautions that new mothers don't have to seek too much advice from experienced parents. "Too many spoons in a pot". She encourages new parents to follow their instincts. "You'd be surprised at how much you already know."
Side note: Tallulah has a fondness for the evil queens of Disney. She says, "It just looks like these gals have more fun."
By Ruby Fa'agau