Being a mom isn’t a glamorous job. While TV commercials and movies can make motherhood sappy, a fairytale and a dream, the reality it is far from it. While I can’t explain the love you have for your child, through the good and the really, really bad, the truth being a mom has got to be the hardest job in all the world. It is the prefect storm of greatest thing in the world, yet biggest challenge.
I write all of this as I sit in my daughter’s bed, who is refusing to go to sleep an hour passed her bedtime. I was reflecting on my day that was far from beautiful. And as I sit here, listening to her cough, restless in her bed, my blood is boiling because she isn’t listening and yet I am reminded at what a sweet gift she is. While she knows how to push every single one of my buttons and I talking buttons I didn’t know existed, is five going on fifteen she is teaching and molding me daily to be a better mom, wife, friend and person.
So here are my five lessons I’ve learned from being a parent to three girls.
1. There is no American Dream
Life is chaotic. Most days we live in a whirlwind of work, chores, and running kids from activity to activity all the while trying to keep up with social media and be more like the “Jones.” You know, live the American dream. The reality is while we are worried about that dream, the dream of having it all, the perfect life, the perfect family and all of the fun things, there isn’t ever perfection. Even if you achieve those things (I’m making assumptions here) life is never perfect. In fact, it is messy. While we can choose to hide the mess, to put on a good facade, to fake perfection, the reality there is no such thing. Things don’t buy happiness. More toys, more clothes, more activities don’t make a child happier. True happiness comes from time. Time spent together as a family, slowing down and living one day at a time. Stop dreaming up better things and start living better things. Live for today because that is how they see the world, one day at a time.
2. We all need to be held.
As I scurry around trying to finish the hundredth load of laundry for the week, do some dishes, cook dinner and scrape dog-food from our nearly two-year olds mouth. I constantly am being followed by a child. Not always the same one, it changes but they all want the same thing. Tugging on my leg, “hold me mommy, hold me.” A hundred times a day I hear the same words, “hold me.” While they haunt me at night, preventing my daily tasks from getting done I have realized that the chores are always there but my babies aren’t. While they don’t need a lot, they do need to be loved, and hugged and cuddled. They need to be held. A few seconds to minutes satisfies their inner desires as does it mine. We all need to be touched and loved and hugged. There is something so peaceful about it. The tasks will be there so take the hug before they plead.
3. Say no less.
I’m reminded of this often, not by other parents but my own children. It’s like a straight up slap in the face when you hear your child pronounce to another group of mothers that my mom’s favorite word is no. It sounds much more horrible when someone else states the fact than in the midst of the moment. I’m constantly rushing, hurrying and saying no in effort to not make a mess (I should say more of a mess), to actually get somewhere on time, to become what seems like a normal family and yet the other one that cares about the “look” what others think is me. It’s a commitment to say no less often, to let them be kids and not force them to grow up too fast. Lets be honest, the only thing they have is time. Time to smell every single dandelion when you’re running late for work. Time to think and look and ponder at every article of clothing. Time to do just one more thing. Time, they only have time. So stop rushing the flower smelling, the coloring, the clothes picking, let them try to experiment and watch as your eyes become open to a whole new world where everything seems new and amazing and miraculous. Even the same spider you’ve looked at for the 100th time.
4. Let them be creative.
I’m constantly being torn between the never-ending mess that seems to accumulate faster than I could work tirelessly to clean and just sitting back and enjoying the creative side of my kids. It’s the struggle for perfection that causes me to break out in hives when the entire stack of napkins gets ripped into a million pieces as they proceed to make snow angels on the floor pretending like the napkins are snow. I get slightly nauseated when they feel the need to unwrap every crayon from the paper leaving tiny pieces of crayon wrapping all over the rug. Or when they play chef in the kitchen, generally using 10 different pans and a hundred utensils while demolishing the $10 pint of blueberries into a horrible mix that they call perfection, sickening. But here’s the thing, this is what a kid is meant to be. And if I know one thing to be true, fostering and environment of creativity is how world changers are born. Let us choose to end stifling creativity by perfection and let our kids be kids. Even if that means creating a mess. You only get the opportunity once and don’t worry no one isjudging you but you.
5. The only thing that matters is time.
There’s no denying we live in a world that is moving faster than the speed of light. While it’s not a requirement it’s almost a norm now to have multiple activities every night of the week rarely having time just for nothing. Most of us are struggling to find more time or figure out the little time we do get in a day working to cram in everything that ‘needs’ to be done. But I want to propose a question, how much time do we miss by fighting it?
Like sweet moments and memories vanished because we’re worried about not having enough? As a working mom, this has been my biggest go-to since I birthed my first over five and a half years ago. But what I’ve learned is the only thing in this life we won’t get more of is time. We can get more money, more things, more relationships but never more time. And so what a waste it is spending your time doing things that don’t matter, that you don’t love and constantly fighting it.
Let us band together…
So this mothers day moms I’m giving you permission to take a breath. To free yourself from the lies that there is a perfect life, a perfect way of mothering, of spending life and instead immerse yourself into the truth that the only perfection is you living life in the moment. It’s not a race and wishing for the next best thing or the next phase will never end.
Yes, the days are long. I know first hand how long some of those days can be with sick and crying and never-ending whining but what I see is that time is slipping away. And before you know it, it will be over in a blink of an eye and to never regret it we have to let go of the things that are holding us back. There is no perfect life, there is no perfect mother or family and the only thing that is perfect is spending time, un-wavered by everything else but how you spend each moment in the present with a child-like view.
So give yourself a gift this year of just letting the dishes pile up, the laundry become heaping mounds, let the legos lay on the table, the play dough on the window (wait maybe that is only in our house) and the napkins as snow on the ground. Make the snow angel with your kids, go on the bike ride, make a mud pie, end the busy and just live for the moment and in the moment. Tomorrow will come, the important things will get done but you’ll never get back the here and now.
Mom, you are enough. You are strong. You are courageous. You are the picture of perseverance.
You are always enough and your kids love you beyond words they can express.
Happy Mother’s day!
Section exclusively for kids + dads
Okay dad’s and kid’s… Mother’s day is just over a week away, the pressure is on. No actually most mom’s are selfless enough that they would say they really don’t need anything but lets be honest, these are the hardest, strongest and most diligent people on the face of the earth, even if their children are grown and out of the house. So regardless of what they tell you, it is VITAL that you have a plan to pamper your mom.
It doesn’t have to be a physical gift but seriously just appreciation. So to help you out I’m giving you some ideas that any mom would love. Got it? So here it is c-l-e-a-r-l-y spelled out for you to take the guessing out (wink). Don’t worry I got your back!
- Sleeping in – Yes there is a gift of just giving time. Time alone, to wake up without chaos, to lay in bed as long as she likes and to do her thing whether that sleep, rest or just look at the ceiling. Quite time alone.
- Cooking a meal or two or three or all-day would be good – Why you could even take her out if that meant her not having to cook or clean.
- Taking her on an adventure – Yes we’re wild at heart too and adventurous. Don’t think your wife or mom wouldn’t love a little adventure. But you know her best so do something she loves. Antiquing, hiking, biking, going to the movie or just on a little road trip.
- Jewelry – It doesn’t have to be diamonds to be precious. Check out some great sources of fashionable jewelry:
- Bags – Because a good bag is essential in being a mom.
- Health – We all love the latest tool, gadget or gear.
- Gardening – Because flowers and color and life always bring smiles.
- Potted Plants
- Terrarium Kits
- Pampering – Relaxing is not something that comes easy to a mom but these gifts can make it easier.
- Butter & Sugar Body Collection
- Manicure or Pedicure
- Other: From clothes, to shoes, to kitchen gadgets or even a kombucha brewing kit, it all sings love.
Photo Credits go to the wonderful, talented and best photographer at catching the moment, Simple Bloom Photo Co.