This post is dedicated to my first-born son. Thanks for giving mama the courage to be vulnerable, the confidence to wear my crazy on my sleeve, and for every tiny hug and tiny kiss. I love you Bear!
Today’s post was going to share ideas and tips about why and how moms should take some time for themselves. I am a strong believer of filling up your own cup so you can pour into the little sippy cups of your little ones, however, I can’t get myself to write about that right now.
This week has been rough for me. Nothing out of the ordinary or unfortunate has happened, but I was reminded of the reality that being a mom is hard. Rather than give you tips that I’m sure you have heard before (get pampered, have a date night, and for all the new moms out there, take a shower). I want to spend our time together being real about my struggles and encouraging you in whatever you are struggling with. So where should I start?
I love my son. Just like any proud parent, I think he’s advanced, funny, beautiful and charming. But he is also a toddler. And he yells. He especially likes to yell really loud in public when everyone else is being quiet. He gets fussy when he is tired and I’ve had him out running errands all day. He likes to test boundaries, tell me no and screams like his life is on the line if I dare tell him no. And while I’m sure most kids do these things at some point (yours may have done all of them since they woke up this morning), it is so hard not to become overwhelmed and wonder if my child has the worst mother in the world or will grow up to be rebellious. To the average person these are extreme thoughts, but I know I can’t be the only mom who has doubted her parenting, especially when she is very intentional about parenting from the heart.
From birth we have to decide if we will let them cry it out or attend to their every cry. We have to decide if we will cloth diaper or use disposable diapers, breastfeed or use formula, how much TV they can watch, what foods they can eat….the list goes on. And since there are so many different ways to parent, and each child, parent and family is unique, it is hard not to wonder if you’ve made the best choice. So, by the time you get to the things you are sure about,
- playing with poop…GROSS
and your kid insist on doing those very things, it can be overwhelming to say the least. It doesn’t make it any better when you see them being more cooperative with their other parent, grandparents, teachers, or the kid at the park that is only three years older than them.
I’m laughing as I write this because my son is currently cuddled up on me taking a nap. I can tell he feels safe and relaxed. So I must be doing something right…right?
Our days may not play out perfectly, we may not have all the answers or make all the “right” choices, but that’s not what our little ones need from us. They need us to be patient with them and ourselves. They need us to laugh and not take things too seriously. They need us to live in the moment and not try to predict their futures. They need to be able to challenge us, test that waters and be told things a thousand times, because that’s how they learn. And the fact that they feel safe enough to do so means we have shown them that we love them, no matter what.
So, on that note, here are a few things I think I will keep in mind moving forward so I can navigate through parenthood knowing that I will love myself no matter what:
- Filter parental advice. I recently read a parenting book that made me feel incompetent at best. I’m sure there are a few good parenting books out there, and I certainly am not above parenting advice, but I need to be sure that the source shares common values with me, and is compassionate in regards to the struggle of parenting.
- Remember that these are temporary moments. Though moments build on one another, they are unique, and I don’t want to miss anything because I’m too busy stressing.
- My son is human. A toddler human at that. He is not aware of social expectations like using your indoor voice. He has a limited vocabulary and will continue to yell or cry if he is excited or upset until he has the words to express himself. I hate when I feel myself becoming concerned what the people around me must be thinking about my crying or excited baby. So I’m no longer going to stress over what people think about my kid expressing himself the best way a one year old knows how. Everyone has either a.) had children of their own or b.) was once a child themselves, so it’s not exactly breaking news that kids can be loud. If I ever find myself with a teenager that won’t communicate with me, I’ll be sure that it is not because I spent his younger years trying to silence him to please other people.
I hope, at the very least, this post lets you know that if you are struggling or drained in any areas of parenting that you are not alone. Be kind, be patient and be consistent and you’ll be okay! God will equip you along the way!
You’ve Got This!
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love this poem by Sharisse Scott!