Parenting is hard.
Good Parenting is even harder.
Perfect parenting is downright impossible.
Remind yourself of that every day.
I try to.
But just like every single other wannabe awesome and basically perfect for their kids parent out there, sometimes I forget.
And then when I’m sitting on the couch, rocking yesterday’s shower and screaming for them to find their uniforms/take the dog out/put the dishes away/stop fighting/put on their underwear/stop saying buttface while shirking my chores and actually planning to serve them cereal for dinner, I beat myself up relentlessly for my shortcomings.
Because there are many.
So, very many.
Which is totally fine when I really thing about it.
Because this imperfect life is also quite awesome.
Just like me. As a mom.
You just witnessed the vicious yet forgiving cycle I live daily in my head.
I start out high –believing that I am fully equipped to adult as a mom. I spend some time low –doubting my place in the world and hoping a circus I can join comes through town. And, in the end, when everyone has survived another day and is happily tucked into bed with kisses on their faces and dirt on their feet, I realize I won and so did they because we all got to close out another day together as a family.
No one told me the toughest part about mothering would be the emotions –the self doubt, the guilt, the joy, the pride, the pleasure, the pain, the fear, the anticipation.
I thought the exhaustion would get me. Or the whining. Or the fighting amongst themselves (actually, this one might still win in the end).
But, it’s the emotions.
Everyday is a rollercoaster –up and down, scary and fun, unexpected and predictable. And when it’s over you really just want to ride again even though your voice is hoarse from screaming and your your knees are all shaky and you’re laugh crying because it was awesome but you sorta felt like you might die. Plus you might actually barf in the trash can.
I love it and I hate it and I love it even more.
And, everyday I wake up grateful and positive and I promise myself that I will be a better mother today than I was the day before.
I have about a 32% success rate, but it’s not for lack of effort.
I get an A in that.
15 Things I Say to Myself Daily About Mothering My Kids
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I’m already sweating all of the big stuff anyway, so really, who has time.
2. But don’t underestimate how much it matters either.
I try to remind myself that of course my kids will remember the big trip to Disney, but what I want more is for them to also remember how much they loved cuddling under the covers during a huge thunderstorm, and that I always cooked them pancakes on the first and the last days of school. I want their small memories of our happy moments to take up just as big of a part of their hearts and minds as that huge trip to Disney I saved up six months for.
3. Give yourself a break.
4. And your kids too.
5. If you’re feeling exceptionally generous, throw your spouse on that list too.
Because really, when you give him a chance to be a good parent, you increase the chances that you will slay motherhood too. That’s how partnerships work –you get to take credit for the other person’s wins.
6. Everyone learns from your mistakes.
7. And no one holds them against you.
Once, I flooded our kitchen. I turned on the sink to fill up a jug and just walked out of the kitchen and left it running. I went downstairs to the basement and like 30 minutes later I heard a weird noise. It was the sound of my dog lapping up the water that was all over the kitchen floor. After I sloshed to the sink to turn it off and contemplated punching myself repeatedly in the face, I sat on the floor and cried because I had to waste my baby’s nap mopping that up with towels. Everyone got over it. In fact, the 2 year old thought it was pretty great and so did the dog.
8. Every mom has bad days.
Even the ones with the super bright, white, cheery Instagram feeds.
9. Every mom has good days.
Even the ones that you seriously have doubts about.
10. So don’t let what you see discourage you from what you’re doing.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Do you and don’t worry about the other moms. Not even when your kid is like, “Well, Tommy’s mom lets him…” Just shut it down, because no one cares about Tommy or his mom and we are not about that life.
10. I am doing my best.
Even on cereal-for-dinner night –I am doing my best.
11. I am not alone.
12. They are worth it.
13. Some things can wait.
Sometimes, the things that have to wait are my kids. And that’s an okay lesson for them to learn, even if it is a hard one that may result in some serious backlash from the still-learning-to-be-patient parties.
14. Tomorrow is a new day.
15. Be thankful for this one.
Check out our how to be a great mom according to the kid of a great mom video for more awesome tips!