I was that mom this week. You know them. I’m talking about the mom who’s kid runs away from her in the middle of the grocery store or into the middle of the road. The mom who is desperately begging her child just make it through another five minutes and I will buy you a dang treat. The mom who is giving the stink eye to their daughter while she is tapping her feet for the hundredth time in church. The mom who denied her teenager a chance to go out on a date because she wants to do family time.
I was at mom just this morning when I was sitting there begging my two-year-old to make it through Walmart so I could get the tortillas that I need to make dinner tonight. I may have actually at one point told him that if he was really good, he could have two treats. TWO.
The mom that I promised myself I would never be. I didn’t want to be the mom who got in the way of my teenagers social life, I wanted to be the mom who was so cool they WANTED to spend time with me. Shockingly, my 13-year-old doesn’t want to spend any time with us. I mean at all. That’s a teen thing right? Not just us?
I didn’t want to be the mom who had to beg her children to eat their vegetables. I wanted my kids to come out loving their green beans and enjoying their broccoli. I swore I would never ever ever make them finish something they said they didn’t like.
Oops. No idea where ideal mom went.
I used to be the person who would glare at the women in the supermarket with their screaming toddlers because I knew exactly how to handle it. Now I’m the mom getting glared at.
I’ll never be that mom, I scoffed.
Lo and behold. I am that mom.
And I’m learning to be okay with being that mom. I may not know everything, I may not do everything right the first time(or second or tenth), but I’m learning to love who I am and how I parent. I want to share five things I force myself to remember when I begin to feel guilty for not being the picture perfect Pinterest mom I intended to be. Mom guilt is real, but these facts help me get through the fleeting moments of it. Also, coffee, ice cream, and Netflix help.
Humbling experiences are good because they give us the ability to feel more empathetic. I remember vividly grabbing a child who tried to run into the road back when I worked as a one on one. I handed this little one back to there mother who was red in the face, babbling on about how thankful she was and I thought, “Lady get some control.” Wow LJ. Talk about judge-y. Now I’m an expert at children trying to run away, from ages 8 months(when Bug started to walk) to 6(aka when Monkey ran into the road this week.) I’ve been humbled more times than I can count as a mother and because of that, I believe I am capable of being more empathetic to other parents struggles than I ever was before.
We knew nothing before our child was here. I became a parent by taking 30+ hours of training. My house was inspected multiple times. I thought I knew what was about to come…and I had no idea. I would argue this is even true for each new child. I was just in the midst of saying Bear is so different from Bug, I have no idea what to do anymore. We don’t know how we would parent these kids because each child we have the privilege of loving is a new, challenging, special human. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to parenting because every child is their own person.
Life is better when we’re growing and changing. Growth and change are sometimes difficult to swallow. We want to fit in the box we always imagined ourselves in. That doesn’t always happen, with parenting, with jobs, with marriage, we are forever fluid people. This is hard to learn, but it’s also such a blessing. I’ve grown and changed since we said yes to our first placement and while in some ways, I am not the perfect parent I hoped to be, other ways I have become a better parent than I ever imagined I could be which leads me to…
Give yourself credit for the awesomeness you are as a mom. I hear all the time “I wish I could be a better mom”…and it comes from people who I see as amazing moms! Give yourself a pat on the back. Tell yourself you are amazing. Recently I sat down with a few friends of mine and we wrote out all the accomplishments another friend had with her child. Afterwards, I decided to do it for myself as well. A few things from my list included:
I made it through PPD and most my kids had no idea how much I was struggling.
I am effectively parenting children with mental illnesses.
I am an advocate who may seem pushy but is the biggest one my kids have.
The list goes on and on! It was worth it to do and I challenge you to sit down and write a hard copy list of all the things you accomplish as a parent. If you can’t think of anything, bring over a few friends, pour a few drinks and have them help you think of ways you excel in parenting. I promise, if you’re sitting there saying you don’t in any way, someone out there believes you do somehow.
Gods got this better than me. I remind myself daily that He is in control and my kids are His. I always wanted kids who could come to me with any issue, be open and upfront with me, but Doodle and I just don’t mush like that. She always has been closer to Joshua and my over the top feeling things exhausts her. God had it though, as He put in her life church family she trusts and goes to. Do I sometimes wish I was more a Lorelei Gilmore with her? Yep. But He knows what He’s doing and I have faith in His plan. (And when I don’t, I call up some Christian friends and have fellowship with them and their faith in Him!)
Those days you feel like THAT mom, remember these things. Sit down and write all the reasons you rock. Think about all the ways your children are awesome. Remember growing and changing and learning are all good things. Remember God is in control.
And give yourself grace. You got this mama. I promise.