The month of May is known for commencement speeches that are given at high school and college/university ceremonies all across the world. The students hear those speeches and most times leave their schools with hope. But what happens the following days, weeks, and years following the ceremony? What happens when life starts getting hard? Are those students, now adults, still holding on to those encouraging words that they heard at the commencement ceremony, or are they just feeling lost in the world?

I recently watched a portion of a commencement speech that was given by Will Ferrell at the University of Southern California. Will Ferrell who is known for comedy, shared some encouraging words for those in the audience.  Here is one quote that stood out to me.

“Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result. Trust your gut, keep throwing darts at the dartboard. Don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out.”

Although these words were meant for the graduating class at USC, I believe these words hold true for moms as well. There are millions of moms in the world meaning there are millions of ways to raise children, there are millions of different household values and there is not one way of being a mother. It is very easy to compare our parenting styles with the next mom, but when that happens it is easy to lose our purpose. Our purpose to be the best mom for our children.

So here are the facts. Baby Boomers II raised their children differently than their parents (Baby Boomers I.) Generation X raised their children differently than Baby Boomers II and Millennials are raising their children differently than Generation X, and the cycle will continue. Every generation will continue to raise their children in ways that the previous generations will probably frown upon, but that is okay. Let them frown, and continue to raise your children the way you want to the best of your ability. “Enjoy the process of raising your child and do not succumb to ways of others.”

“Trust your gut.” These children are yours. If you do not feel comfortable with something concerning your child, speak up. It is your job to be the voice for your child, especially in situations controlled by adults.

I am a strong believer that children should not have to hug or speak to an adult or allow someone to give them a kiss on the cheek, even if we are in church or a family member’s home. If your child feels uneasy about a situation, don’t pressure them into something that could potentially cause them harm in the future. Do what you feel is best for your child. Trust your gut.

“Keep throwing Darts at the Dartboard.” We, moms, mess up constantly! We are not perfect, so stop pretending like we are. Our children look up to us and they appreciate when we acknowledge our mistakes. Our children are also very forgiving. We are a lot harder on ourselves than needed. When parenting gets tough,  remember to stop, breathe, forgive and start again. We will not always land on the bullseye, but we have to continue to try.

Don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out.” This right here should be in the forefront of our minds. There are so many critics. Everyone ALWAYS has something to say and a better way of doing what you are doing.

My philosophy is if they didn’t help conceive your child if they don’t live in your house, and if they don’t pay your bills, then their input is not relevant. Do not let these critics steal your joy by giving you unwanted advice and constant criticism. Learn how to separate those who give positive criticism and negative. Everyone you come in contact with is not always good for you.

My good friend Jocelyn Billheimer recently gave a commencement address at her High School graduation and here are some of her inspiring words that we can use for our daily lives, “There’s no reason to be ashamed of our struggles or compare them to one another’s… We shouldn’t let our excellence be limited by other people perceptions. We should not be afraid to make mistakes. There is no such thing as a success story without them.”

Although we may not be a part of the graduating class of 2017, we can all use this inspiration when raising our children daily. Remember life is not a sprint, it is a marathon, so take it in stride.