Some days are good, some days are hard. Some days I kick booty at this whole mom thing. I wake up before the sun rises, work out, get the girls fed, all the chores / shopping done, teach Harleigh something rad and have a stellar dinner on the table at a decent hour. Other days, I struggle to get everyone bathed before 2pm and we have takeout for dinner.
As a mom of a high energy, strong willed threenager and a newborn who is still learning what life is about, each day is totally different. The only constant is knowing that my vision for the day, is just that… a vision. Reality will set in, shake things up, and the output is a day that I would not have imagined in my wildest dreams. Never did I think I would end up cutting hot pink slime out of a dolls hair or using 5 thick towels to clean up the solid inch of water that spilled out of the bathtub because Harleigh magically grew an invisible mermaid tail and learned how to make tidal waves the size of Texas.
Nope. Totally didn’t foresee the massive blowouts that have made casualties out of so many onesies (only the cutest ones of course) or the tragic meltdowns that wake the neighbors three doors down because I asked my child to brush her teeth. I know.. I am a terrible mother for ensuring she has proper hygiene.
There was a time when these crazy moments, you know… the ones that make you go “What the whaaaaat?!” 20 times a day, really got to me. You see, I was an only child. I grew up in an environment where I could be alone and in peace whenever I wanted. No one relied on me, no one went through my things… I had the ability to be selfish and focus only on myself… and I loved it. However, because of this, I had an extremely difficult time transitioning to motherhood.
Overnight, I had a child, a colicky one at that, who craved my undivided attention. I had become so accustomed to planning out the day ahead and accomplishing everything on my list… on my own time clock. Needless to say, my world was rocked when I was no longer able to check off even one thing on my list, let alone shower in peace. My once productive days were now filled with a confusion, followed by determination to master this thing called motherhood.
That was my naive self. I have since come to terms with the fact it is impossible to master motherhood. Somewhere between the tantrums and attempted potty training, or maybe it was during the endless hours spent trying to get Harleigh to eat dinner, I realized that this mom life is way to unpredictable to always be one step ahead. I try my best to be proactive and avoid the chaos, but the truth is that I spend most my time living in the reactive state. I’ve learned that the best way to become frustrated is to try and stick to a schedule that was really never meant to be. Its nice to have a vision of how your day will go… but as a slight perfectionist, I drove myself crazy trying to uphold this vision. Instead of enjoying the mom life, I constantly felt like I was falling short of the things I was trying to accomplish.
Then, I had a revelation. Why was I making this mom thing so hard? Who cares if we didn’t make it to the grocery store that day? So what, if we may have had to change outfits twelve times (including myself) due to blowouts, mysterious goo or blue food coloring. By becoming irritated at the little details that weren’t apart of my “vision”, I was missing out on some pretty adorable times with my little girl. I’ve learned that there is usually a silver lining to most disasters. Sure, nobody wants a flooded bathroom floor, but man, those videos of her flopping around in the tub, as she is trying to swim like a mermaid, are epic… plus, the footage will be gold later on in life 🙂
I made a promise to myself that when my second child comes, I will be a different kind of mom. One who doesn’t get lost in her own expectations and instead soaks up every single moment – even the really trying ones. I don’t want to be the mom who missed out on life because there’s a possibility that things may not go exactly as I intended. I don’t want to be the mom who never takes her family out to dinner in fear that one of the girls may melt down. There’s a really good chance everything will go fine, but in the case it doesn’t, I’m pretty sure those parents who I used to think were judging me for not having perfect angels at the dinner table are more likely thinking, “Oh sister, I’ve been there… I feel you.”
I think the most important qualities to have as a mother are flexibility and the ability to improvise. Not only to keep your kids happy, but for your own sanity. I learned how to let go of my own unnecessary agenda, and seize opportunities as they arose… and I became a better mom for it. I’m now the mom who can let go of the “what ifs” and enjoy special moments with my girls that I otherwise would have missed. Of course, some days are a little more challenging than others, but you know what… these precious first years really don’t last forever. I know that soon enough, I will be craving the days my little girls needed my attention every waking moment.
If you are at all like I used to be, cut yourself some slack. The piles of laundry and dishes aren’t going anywhere, but your kiddos are growing up faster than you know. They won’t remember that your house was always spotless and you were always on time everywhere, but they will remember the time they spent with you – laughing, playing games, and dancing to every Disney song ever created – and that time is what really matters. So, even if the days might not go exactly as you had planned, they turn out exactly how they were intended to be.
– Mama of Roses –