With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I find myself not only reflecting on how much I adore my little boy (I’m a sappy mess this time of year), but also thinking about motherhood and the expectations I had going in. Here are…
10 Things I’ve Discovered Along the Way
1. No one else knows what they’re doing either. A parenting Bible doesn’t exist. Raising children is more of a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’. When Wyatt was born, I spent most of my waking hours on Google trying to learn how to be a parent. What did I ultimately learn? Ask those who’ve gone before you, then decide whose advice you want to keep.
2. Just because my Instagram feed is sparkly clean, that doesn’t mean my life is. Don’t be fooled by the perceived perfection of other peoples’ lives on social media. Most times, to get that one amazing photo, there are 450+ in my gallery that are a total disaster. Usually, I have to crop out a messy table or sink full of dishes.
3. Schedule your ‘me’ time. Decide what it is that makes you sane, and mark it in your calendar like you would a soccer practice or business meeting. It’s an equally-important, if not more important, commitment. I’ve said ‘no’ to many social invites because I’d rather sip wine in my bubble bath. Don’t budge on this. Do what’s right for you.
4. We all have moments when we lose our cool with our kids (and feel guilty about it). It’s tough, but you need to give yourself a break and know that this is normal. If I raise my voice at Wyatt because he dumped his cereal all over the floor I just cleaned, I grab a mop, clean it up, and make sure to apologize to him. I can’t help but notice how he observes how I handle different situations.
5. Realize that most things with young kids represent a temporary phase. I have to remind myself of this all the time. Whether it’s a sleep regression, teething, or toddler tantrums (which we’re just starting to experience), eventually the storm will pass and you’ll emerge on the other side.
6. Time away is everything. If you can swing it, you need to have a moment once a day or once every couple of days where you walk away from being a parent. Whether it’s taking that painting class you’ve been following, or going to the grocery store alone (I’ve wandered the aisles for way too long), it’s so good for everyone to have time away. I find, even if I pop out for an hour, I come back refreshed and ready for another round of parenting.
7. They’ll live. You miss a nap, push bedtime, give them too much ice cream, or let them have screen time before they’re one year old (gasp!) — they’ll be ok. Of course we aim to do the best for our kids, but sometimes we have to say, ‘Ah, what the heck!’.
8. Wanting to tear a strip off the construction crew, the UPS guy, or the kid screaming in his backyard next door because they interrupted your babe’s nap? This is totally normal. I once considered talking with the guys doing work on our street about scheduling their lunch around when Wyatt was napping so it would be quiet. Ultimately, my husband Ryan was happy we invested in a white noise machine instead. 😉
9. Life’s short. Play with your kid. Who cares if you didn’t get to cleaning the bathroom, or if the dishes are piling up, or if you’ve worn the same shirt three days in a row because you haven’t had time to get to the laundry. Get on the floor, and build a tower with your kid. Go to the park and colour! I have to remind myself of this all the time. Like you, I’m always trying to multi-task, and of course we have responsibilities we can’t ignore. BUT, this part of our kids’ lives goes by so fast. Do everything you can to avoid missing it because you’re worried about the cleaning the house!
10. Finally – you’re amazing. You know that…right? Whether you’re a stay-at-home mama or a working mama…you’re killin’ it. You’re raising your babes to be the best little humans, all while making time to still do you: tending to your responsibilities, continuing to invest in friendships, spending time with family, etc., etc., etc. It’s a lot, but you’re owning it. When it comes down to it, all that matters is love. Do you love your kid? Do they know that? That, and some sort of food, is all they really need. So, the next time you see a perfectly-polished mama, know that underneath her pretty outfit is (most likely) a hot mess. We’re all in the same boat, just trying to do our best.
What have you learned along the way that may help other mamas? Please post in the comments below.
Happy Mother’s Day!