1. Your house is not a reflection of your parenting skills. You know what I'm talking about. It's 2:28 in the afternoon and there's a knock on your door and your house isn't perfect. Open the door. Welcome your friend in. Don't apologize for whatever it looks like in your home. Show them you're real. And remember your house isn't a reflection of your parenting skills. It's just a house -- big, small, neat, cluttered, tidy, organized, whatever -- that doesn't matter. What matters is you -- mothering, teaching and loving your kids.
2. Sometimes you just need to read the same book over and over again. Or teach the same truth over and over again. Or deal with the same discipline issue. Or wash the dishes (ha) again. Parenting involves a great deal of repetition. And sometimes the repetition is needed. For instance? The book reading? Kids need to hear the same one again -- they recognize the nuances in the story and it's how they learn. And you? You can add that book to your books known by memory. And discipline stuff? Well, it takes work. Don't give up. Just keep going.
3. Meltdowns in the store happen. Just the other day while I was at Target I observed the pinnacle of child meltdowns happen. Screaming, tantrum-throwing and the whole shebang wrapped up in what appeared to be a spitfire of a 4-year-old. And the mom? Gritting her teeth, moving calmly, putting the massive cart away and buckling the child in. All I could think was you go mom -- keep your head high. You all know they happen, guys. When they do, don't judge. Encourage.
4. You will be tired. Want me to explain this one? Probably not. Grab your coffee or chai tea or energy drink or green drink or whatever you need and rock on, mom. You can do this.
5. Some days will be tedious. Other days normal. Other days challenging. Other days amazing. Motherhood is like a roller-coaster ride of days. And often those feelings can happen in the midst of the normal day. You may start out feeling like you're the queen of motherhood, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath you at 8:34 a.m. and be ready to call in back-up. Just like your house doesn't define you, your days don't define. It's the constant movement that matters. And loving your kids.
6. Kids get sick. This. Especially for you new moms out there. Our kids get sick. It just happens, and when it does, we just deal with it. I'm still telling you, though -- it's an art to deal with a vomiting no-aim 2-year-old. Or to stay up all night with one who has an earache. Or to sit in a doctor's office and fight for diagnosis. Kids get sick. Not the fun part of parenting.
7. Fewer things equal less stress. The more you have, the more you have to manage. The busier you are, the more you will feel like you are racing around running on empty. Clearing out the clutter is one of the best things to do -- constantly get rid of stuff. And it teaches our kids to not get sucked into the "more is better" conundrum of life.
8. You'll make mistakes. Like me. I published this post originally without a number eight (that's what I get for not checking the order). But you know what? Mistakes happen. They don't define us. We can learn from them, move on and work to do better next time. Perfection doesn't happen. Real does. :)
9. Laundry will never be done. Yeah. It will be on the list, but as we all know, the 18 seconds of not having a piece of dirty clothing in the laundry basket is short-lived. Put laundry on the breathing list -- the things to do that are just a normal, needed part of life. And celebrate those 18 seconds when the laundry is done. That's good too.
10. Get down on their level. Look them in the eye when they talk to you. Learn to love what they love. It's easy in this fast-paced tweet-it-Instagram-it-Facebook-it racing world to lose the art of looking at and communicating with those we love directly. Intentionally cultivate moments in your life where the social noise is quiet so that you and your kids can have space within the busy.
11. Sippy cups leak. Toys break. Those things don't matter. Those things in life aren't what you're going to remember at the end of your days. I think I remember a couple of my toys from childhood -- my Mr. Owl Math Fact Calculator, a Barbie that had on a glitzy gold outfit, a LEGO set, and a keyboard. You know what I do remember? Going to the lake and fishing with my parents. Seeing the Ice Palace on a cold Minnesota winter morning. Playing Skip-Bo with my family. Riding bikes. Racing in the backyard. Simple little things.
12. Don't worry about savoring every single moment. Give yourself grace, really. Going back to the "kids being sick" point -- there are simply times in life when the little moments aren't really the best. Don't stress about that. Instead, be grateful for the moments tucked within the normal. So often we don't really expect them -- they're the you're the best mom moments after you cut the PB&J into triangles and get them a glass of milk. Moments matter, but not all moments need to be savored. Make it a habit to record the good so that you can remember.
13. There is no supermom. There is only the real mom. And the real mom is brave, tenacious, funny, crazy, excited, tired, giving, crying, hoping, loving, challenging, working, worn out, loving life, loving those kids, and amazing. Real moms are amazing. Normal moms are amazing. You, the mom who loves and gives and cares for her kids, are fabulous simply because you are mom. Remember, just like I'm writing about in my book -- being a mom is enough.
What would you add?