Today we have our 1st official post from one of our new writers! So exciting! I know you will love Angela! Go, girl…
Parenting can be immensely overwhelming at times.
The decisions, oh all the decisions. It starts before we even become parents—which car seats are the safest, which formula is the best, wait formula? aren’t you breastfeeding? That brings me to the judgment. Judgment from other parents and even from ourselves. It seems everything has to be the biggest, the best, cutest, etc.
On and on it goes…
I am a mother of four. My oldest child turns 11 this month. That makes me somewhat of a mother of small children expert, right? Absolutely not. In fact, my friends laugh at me because I forget stages and phases from one kid to the next. Especially the middle two kids, I cannot tell you how old they were when they took their first steps or when they got their first teeth. It’s all kind of a blur.
What I do know, is that the older woman at the grocery store line was right. You know the one. While your toddler was throwing a fit and your baby was sucking on the filthy grocery cart and you thought you were going to lose your mind, she looked at you with this dreamy kind of gaze and said “Oh honey, what precious babies you have. Enjoy these days, they go fast.”
Everybody knows that lady right?
Your first thought goes something like this “Well lady you are crazy, because my days are so long and my kids are going crazy and I’m losing my mind.” But then your second thought is “thank you, thank you for saying my babies are precious and reminding me to be grateful for this moment, even if it’s a little crazy.”
So cliché, but oh so true.
As I watch my gawky, sweet, awkward, smart son enter the tween years I think about how fast it’s all gone. I remind myself of that when my 3-year-old, the baby of the family, is throwing fits and making my days seem long.
I also know that all the pressure we put on ourselves as parents is crap. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, best, cutest anything to be special. Even knowing what I know, I get lost sometimes in the biggest, best, cutest competition.
A couple weeks ago, it wasn’t an old lady at the grocery store with a life lesson, it was my own children. “It’s Fall, are we going to put up the leaves?,” my daughter Lucy asked.
Every year since the oldest kids were very little, we’ve cut out construction paper leaves and written down what we were thankful for that day. Then we tape them on the wall until Thanksgiving.
“Oh, I can’t believe I almost forgot, but let’s do it and I’ve got some great ideas,” I shared excitedly going on and on about how I was going to draw a giant tree and cut it out and put it on the wall. I was going to assign a leaf color to each child and so on and so on. My Gratitude Tree was going to be the biggest, best, cutest damn Gratitude Tree there ever was.
But then between homework, practices and other life stuff there wasn’t enough time. Day after day I kept saying I would get to it, but I didn’t. Until finally I scrapped the biggest, best, cutest idea. We cut out some leaves from a free printable pattern courtesy of a Google search and reached for the Sharpies. And we had a blast.
My kids wrote down what they were grateful for which included: “today’s technologies” written in cursive by my oldest; “animals/puppys and my mom (she told me to write that)” from my witty little girl; “holedaes” (holidays) from my son in first grade; and scribble from my baby Wade. As I watched them, I could hear the old lady from the grocery store in my head like a movie voiceover saying “Oh honey, what precious babies you have. Enjoy these days, they go fast.”
Told ya you would love her! It is so easy, especially with social media today, to feel the pressure to have the best, cleanest, cutest everything… especially I would say as a blogger, because so many show you their magnificent homes, gourmet dinners, and well-dressed (clean) children… but honestly, they don’t show you the whole picture. They choose to show you those sniplets out of all the dirty laundry and muddy dogs just like you have at your house… Let go of “the perfect mom” and just choose to be a GOOD one! Can I get an amen?!?
Tell me, do you suffer from this “cutest, biggest, best” syndrome too?