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Can you believe that I have been a Mother for EIGHT YEARS?! Don’t worry, I can’t either.
I can still remember my first Mother’s Day… crying because I just wanted someone to hold my baby so I could pee without him on my lap. We’ve come a long way since then. I have now mastered the skill of peeing with a baby on my lap, and now longer cry about it.
Motherhood, and parenthood is quite the journey, and I know mine is just beginning. I am so grateful that each morning when I wake up I get to love three little humans who view the world with fresh eyes, and excitement.
In honor of Mother’s Day, today I am sharing things I have learned since becoming a mom.
1: I Don’t Know What I am Doing, and That is OK.
There is a reason why our kids start out as babies and all they need at the beginning is to eat, sleep, and poop. That is all we can handle as parents at the beginning too! And let me tell you, it is A LOT. As my kids have grown, I have grown with them, learning along side them. We have experienced teething together, the first fever, the first overnight stay away from one another, making friends at the park, going off to school, learning to read, getting mistreated by others, and so much more. My point is, sometimes it is easy to view everything at once and become overwhelmed about not knowing it all, but that is ok. No one does, even if you do take every class, read every book, and ask every friend you have.
2: Be your Child’s Voice and Advocate!
This has become so important to me. Our children view adults as authority and all knowing (hello, we are idiots). Truth is, even grown ups make mistakes, say things without thinking, create uncomfortable situations, or sadly take advantage of a child just simply because they are a child. Show your baby that you are in tune with them, and can be their voice until they gain the strength to take over for you. Never ever be shy, or afraid, or worried about how another adult will view you for speaking up for your kids. This can be as simple as saying, no he doesn’t want to go do that, he doesn’t want to snuggle, boys like pink too – it is just a color. Or they can hold more depth like: “oh she is adopted, do you have any real kids?” “as a matter of fact all of my kids are real, can you not see then – forget your glasses stranger?” Point is, at the end of the day your child’s feelings, self worth, and confidence trumps any awkward adult interaction you will have to go through.
3: Don’t Judge Other Mothers.
This is so much easier said than done. We all are guilty of it, myself included. Truth be told, this parenting stuff is hard, and there is no time off, no sick leave, we don’t even get 15 mins to smoke (believe me if we did I would be lighting about rn). It is o’clock in time, ALL the time. There are going to be moments, days, even weeks when we are not at our best, and that is ok. When I was a new mom I distinctively recall being so mortified at other mothers “allowing” their small children to run around barefoot inside fast-food play places, and then grab bites of food in between playing without washing their germy gross sticky hands. As I choked down vomit I vowed that would never be my children. Since that moment, I have been humbled more times than I could EVER keep track of. And guess what, if you see us playing at a play place without shoes, and eating while playing, it is not because I am “allowing” it. I’m not huddling the kids being like: when we get in there take off your shoes, lick the slide on your way down, touch everything that looks dusty and then shove your fists in your mouth, and then you can eat. No, no, no. I am at this play place because I need some entertainment for my kids, and 30 seconds of them not climbing on me for my sanity. It is way more basic than me allowing or not allowing them to be germy. On those days, they play, and we hand sanitize. Perspective is everything, and with motherhood we are often too judgmental on others because we ourselves have unrealistic expectations on how things should be. There is no one perfect way, some days is just survive. Remember that the next time you see a 4 year old scream down the cereal aisle and kick open a bunch of boxes while screaming “I hate you, get away!” You simply cannot control littles all the times in every single situation.
4: Before you are a Hard Ass, and Send that Smart Ass to their Room for Being such a Mouthy Stinker, Bring it Back to the Basics.
Did they get a good night’s sleep? When was the last time they ate? Did they have a good day/could they be upset about something, or just need a good hug? This one is hard for me, because I often jump to no nonsense, stop whining, and go sit in your room. But in reality, I often wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I have bad days all the time. Sometimes a friend hurts my feelings and it throws my day off , makes me sour and lash out at the ones I love. I get hangry. If I don’t get a good night of sleep, I am not myself. As an adult I can’t expect others to pardon my cranky behavior, if I can’t excuse a child 1/4 my age of the same exact thing. 80% of the time my cranky kid will just need to be sat down in front of some food, or given some Tylenol because turns out they have a pounding headache and everything noisy was killing them. There even have been times that I have just scooped them up and hugged them until they’ve embraced back, began weeping and then opened up about something that has been weighing on them. If I would have jumped to discipline right away, not only is that being hypocritical, but I would miss out on making them feel safe, heard, and their basic needs met.
5: Everything is Just a Phase.
Those long endless sleepless nights of non-stop feeding? Before you know it those nights are over. Watching 16 hours back to back of Toy Story 2 (the worst one), gone. Being asked for just one more kiss before bed, fading. The hard, tiring seasons of geometry homework, and the floating on air babbling of mama are all just phases. Take the good with the bad, embrace it and learn to see that each moment is just a phase. And even though the theme song to Puppy Dog Pals haunts your dreams, 2 years from now you’ll look back and wonder when they stopped liking those silly pups.
6: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help.
Your worth as a parent is not tied to if you can or cannot do everything on your own. That is silly, and so not true. Of course one individual simply cannot be an expert in every single area of life. I am not well educated in every subject, not trained in every sport, am not a licensed child therapist, or doctor. Ask for a friend to come explain the hard math homework when you just can’t even. Seek out a trained professional when your gut tells you your baby is unhappy and needs help navigating his emotions. This doesn’t belittle your ability to parent, it strengthens it! It shows your kids that asking for help is ok, that not being perfect is normal, that relying on trusted family and friends can be wonderful. And there can never be too many good examples of people in your child’s life.
7: Blood Don’t Mean Shit.
We are your stereotypical modern day blended family. If you would like to get all DNA, my oldest only shares my blood, my second shares both mine and my husband’s, and my baby shares none. That is the new normal now. My boys classroom friends and teammates are filled with blended families. Blood doesn’t make or break parenthood. Blood doesn’t automatically flip the on-switch to your maternal instincts. If you are one of the (closed minded) people who think that, you are mistaking the word blood, with LOVE. Instant, crazy, unconditional, never ending all powerful love.
8: The Big Things You Do Don’t Matter.
Sure the trips to Europe are priceless, but what I have found to be the biggest trigger to making memories? Feelings. Sounds so sappy, but it is true. Finn is insistent that he has never in his whole life seen snow. He cries that we have never taken him, woe is he the boy whose parents withhold snow. In reality this kids was born during the biggest snow storm ever, he lived the first year of his life in the snow. We visit the snow every freaking year, go sledding, have snowball fights, the whole production. He even has snow gear, and I have loads of photos as proof, however he is still convinced it has never happened. What does he remember? Being so cold, and then dad scooping him up and bringing him inside, me splashing with him in a hot bath and laughing as he played in the bubbles to warm up, being so happy when we tried to see how high we could get the whip cream to go on his hot chocolate before it toppled over. ALL of those things were from a snow trip. None of those things cost us money, or the stress of travel planning. It is the little things. The little moments of magically being able to pause life and connect, to feel love and important.
I feel like Motherhood is this Weird Measure of Time.
I want it to speed up because I can’t wait for them to be old enough to do things, I miss when they were teeny swaddled babies, I just want to freeze this day.
All I really know is that no one is really ever prepared to feel the love they feel until they are a mother. The role of a mother is a vast one, and a tiring one, and a rewarding one. I am grateful that I am able to experience it in this life, and so blessed to have three babies that are mine!
Now it’s your turn! What biggest lessons have your learned since becoming a mom? Let me know in a comment below!