It's hard. Sometimes being a mom is hard.
There I said it.
Is it worth it? A resounding YES! But make no mistake there will be days that test your sanity, exhaust your patience, and don't even get me started about your bank account.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Not by a long shot. The best thing I ever did was to raise my two daughters. It's my one single greatest accomplishment. And along the way, I learned some valuable lessons, at least for me.
I'd like to share them with you.
No Two Children Are The Same
If you have more than one child it doesn't take long to realize that even though they all may have your DNA, they do not present the same way.
And that's a good thing because you don't need clones running around. You want variety, a potpourri of personality if you will. The key is to discover that each child may need different things from you.
The sensitive child may need more understanding. The hard-headed one may need a more focused direction. The introvert may need quiet time. The extrovert may need more social time. The daredevil may need to live closer to the ER.
My point is, you must adjust your parenting style to meet the specific needs and emotional make up of each child. Discipline may not look the same, and expression of love may not either. Just as adults have love languages, so do children. Learn the love language of each child and speak it often and freely.
Time Is More Important Than Money
We all want to give our kids the world. What we often fail to understand is that to our children, WE are the world. Our time. Our attention.
Yes, they will want the 'latest', whatever that is depending on their age. Sometimes we can provide that for them, and sometimes we just can't. You are not failing as a mom if you can't keep up with all the brilliant marketing strategies out there designed to entice our children to want something new and different every day.
I've heard it over and over, even from my own, that NOTHING is a substitute for love, time, and attention. They will not remember the overpriced toy or outfit you bought, but they will remember the living room blanket tents, the burnt cookies, the help with the school project, chasing the monsters from under the bed, sitting by their bed all night when they were sick, the holiday traditions, the birthday parties.
The list is endless and you get my point. There will always be something to buy and of course, you want your children to have beautiful things, but beautiful memories are priceless.
It Is Ok To Be Selfish (Sometimes)
So there is one piece of cake left. What do you do? Share it so everyone gets a taste? NO. Take that piece of cake and enjoy every bite.
That might seem like a trivial example, but what I'm trying to say is that you don't have to completely disappear as a person just because you have children. There are things you still want to do, need to do. You still have a life.
Now, that life will look different now because you do need to make your children's needs a priority and that will involve sacrifice of both time, wants and money. But don't lose yourself in the process. You can pick the restaurant sometimes. The movie. The weekend plans. These are not only healthy for you but learning lessons for your kids that life does not always revolve around them.
And it is ok to take time to be alone and recharge. Now you have to be wise and responsible with the care of the kids, but YOU time is allowed. I'll write the permission slip myself if that will help. If you drain every bit of energy on the care of others, you will soon be of no good to anyone. Trust me on this.
You Never Stop Being A Mom
My daughters are grown now with children of their own. And while I respect and (try) to treat them as adults, I still see them as skinned knee little girls with chocolate milk mustaches and running in the house to show me something they found in the yard or telling me about an adventure with their granddaddy.
I still worry about them. Lose sleep over them. Give them advice (sometimes unwanted, lol). I am not trying to keep them children, but you can't just turn off the mom switch. And I would never want to.
What I love about having adult children is the ability to have adult conversations with them. I made mistakes, many of them, when they were young. I was a young, single mom, and boy did I have a lot to learn. We have talked it about. I have acknowledged my shortcomings. And for the most part, what I considered as failures on my part, did not even register on their life path. They instinctively forgave me before I even knew to ask.
Mother's Day Is Every Day
I know we pick one day a year to celebrate moms. And I'm all for that. My mom was an amazing woman and I love to use this day to take a moment and reflect and remember.
But once you become a mom, every day is mother's day.
I became a mom at the young age of just 20. I'm 55, so that's a lot of mother's days. And I cherish every one. I haven't always been a good example, and the three of us have been through some times, but the love, laughter, and memories are my driving force and I'm forever thankful and humbled by them.
Family doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect. Your children don't have to be perfect. Perfection doesn't exist in the human realm.
Just love fiercely.
Find joy in the little things.
Hope With Abandon