Lately, my mind is tangled... deep in curious and profound thought. Yet, in another breath, it is floating away with the clouds... absolutely taken with the amazement of all of life's many wonders and miracles.
Over and over, I keep coming back to the small things...
The moments that make us tick. The smiles we tuck away for safekeeping, the inside jokes and the memories we will all recall in years to come. Laughing through tears, in times good and bad. As a parent, these moments are the life in our blood, the beating in our hearts, the chaos in our house and the junk in our backseat. It's the reason our many journeys around the sun don't matter much when translated into actual years of age, a number written on our driver's license or candles on a cake.
I am making an effort to stop the constant mom/parent-shaming that happens so often. I'm desperate to see this negative trend disappear. I want to share another aspect of our lives. Reunite us with one another in our humanity, in motherhood and in parenting. Not excluding those without a child, as some people truly understand the gravity of raising a life, regardless of parenting status. Yet, for others, life as a parent is one you truly have to live and be invested in in order to experience empathy.
All too often, I notice that we idolize others for the lives they live and encourage those same people to feel as if we need their inspiration or validation -- thereby putting ourselves down for the life we live, deeming it inadequate and without inspiration. Simply because we don't have a shiny new bathroom in our house to admire and fawn over or a perfect homestead garden nestled in a quiet corner of the country. We romanticize this life of perfection; our social media feeds full of aspirational images.
I constantly wonder when the other shoe will drop and when we will snap out it.
As a parent, the weight of the world rests in our hands every day, sometimes twice over. The amount of stress and worry we face is absolutely maniacal and without respite. Even when given time away, we still worry, usually without necessity. Quite simply, it is what we do... and we do it well.
We feel badly because we aren't growing organic food or we aren't buying and consuming only NON-GMO products. It suddenly has become important to dress our children in only kiddie couture and present only perfect meals to our families each night (as evidenced by our posts on social media). So, the cycle carries on. Our expectations are set high, based on what we perceive and assume about the lives we admire of others through a screen.
To all parents, please hear me with your heart, mind, eyes and ears... what I want to share is important.
Let's always remember that we are human, no matter the fight to convince ourselves of anything otherwise. We make mistakes. We fail. This will happen far more than once. We sometimes act or speak out of frustration or fear. We laugh too loud, hug you in public, forget to sign permission slips, irritate our spouse and children and throw an imperfect birthday party. We make a fool of ourselves. We lose our patience. We sing off-key, dance with no rhythm and from time to time, we find success in all of life's elaborate obstacles.
Do we teach our children to become a victim of their circumstance and situation? Or to rise and conquer, finding joy and light even in the darkest of times?
Though leading by example seems like an impossible task, let's teach our children (so that they may teach their children!) to live and love with humility. To not feel expected or entitled, to act with righteousness and not hide behind the curtain of religion or social expectations and the pressures of others. Let's teach our children that in our journeys around the sun, we all make mistakes. Let's teach them about the character they will build and the integrity they will display.
Yes, you read that correctly; you have not mastered perfection. Your legs will give in, the rug will be pulled from beneath you. It does not suggest that you are weak or imperfect; nor does it lessen the respect your family will have for you. If anything, these fallible moments allow us to see just what our children and families are made of, making us proud to be the mothers raising them and the spouses on the other side of this partnership called parenting.
These mistakes will make you whole. Filling the gaps in the lessons you so desperately have been trying to teach. Your children will witness them firsthand and learn by example; the world that you have tried so hard to ease them into, ever so gently, is not always patient and kind, nor does it hold your hand as you walk through the hardest of days and most challenging of situations. It certainly does not always celebrate your victories with or for you. No matter how great.
The ways of raising our families are endless. What works for one family does not work for another and again, the vicious cycle of comparison seems to march right past our eyes and into our minds. Parenting is hard. Crazy hard. It is also messy, impatient, expensive, exhausting and have I mentioned scary? It is also the most fulfilling and amazing journey anyone can have. It is a love unconditional and understanding. Lending character, grace, tolerance and forgiveness when we least expect or deserve it.
I call these mistakes my #momstakes... they have made me patient and given me strength and humility that I could know by no other experience or expectation. They have humbled my children; reminding them that even when I disappoint, I am always in love with them. You can buy many things to impress your children. You can't however, impress upon them your love by way of a credit card and behavior filled only with pride and the judgment of others.
Please join me on Instagram and Facebook in sharing your moments and #momstakes... as well as all of the #dadstakes and any other parenting conundrums you may find yourself in. Let's all come together in our efforts of raising a generation of children through our love and parenting; rather than by way of gratification by app and screen.