Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meet Me In The Mess (of Motherhood)

This sponsored post is brought to you from the trenches of Motherhood by Minute Maid and Socialstars. #doingood #minutemaid.

I will never forget the moment I got it. The moment when I suddenly realized what it felt like to literally have a piece of my heart exist outside of my body, eventually learn to crawl, lick the sanitary napkin box in the Target restroom and tell his preschool teacher that sometimes his Daddy pinches his Mommy’s hiney when she’s walking upstairs.

Parenting is, hands down, the most challenging yet gratifying role I will ever assume. Becoming and being a mother day in and day out has done so much for me, including give me cause me to look to other mothers (and fathers) with nothing but a heart full of awe-inspiring pride, admiration, and camaraderie. In fact, when I’m out and about with my brood and I pass another mother out with her family circus, I want nothing more than to stop dead in our tracks and high five her. Actually I’m more of a hugger and the truth of the matter is that I would totally do it if I didn’t have to worry about my 3-year-old running off should we be become stationary for too long.

I feel like it’s easy to get a big head about being the best kind of parent out there, especially if you pride yourself on having fed them nothing but organic foods, taught them to speak several languages by the age of 3 and have successfully kept their eyes averted from all digital screens for the last five years. But you know what kids are really good at? Stripping you down to your core, regardless, right there in the middle of the public library with just one single outburst.

There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashion tantrum to leave you feeling naked as a jaybird right there in the young adult fiction section of the library. Not that I would know ANYTHING about that. (I apologize to all library-going patrons for the “incidence” that occurred around 10:30am last Wednesday morning).

And it’s right there in that moment where it doesn’t matter a lick if they ate Lucky Charms or GMO-free Honey O’s for breakfast. Whether you breastfed them or bottle fed them. Whether they started sleeping in their crib at 3 weeks old or woke you up at 5:30am with their foot in your eye. 

Parenting is crazy complicated. There is no single right way to do everything as a parent and speaking from personal experience what may have worked for one child may not work the second, third or fifth time around and what works for you may not work for your sister, neighbor or cousin three times removed. That being said, we all have something valuable to bring to the parenting conversation.

The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s better to listen with an open mind than immediately shut a fellow parent out for thinking or doing differently than you. None of us is perfect.

It’s been my experience that there is something rather therapeutic about seeing another mother’s struggle. Watching another mother have to carry her toddler out of Target while he’s limp noodling and going on and on about how he wants a “new mommy,” one who is “nicer and buys all the toys.” To know that I’m not the only one with a 3-year-old prone to throwing himself on the floor when he doesn’t get his way. To rest assured that one day in the very distant future my 18-month-old will stop being such a shitty sleeper.

But how do you know that you're really doing good, after all?

That day in the library that I had to calmly collect my children, wrangling the flippant three-year-old over a shoulder while simultaneously pushing a baby-filled stroller and holding the hand of my five-year-old, a woman rushed to hold open the door for me and on the way out she simply smiled, nodded her head and whispered “My middle baby just left for college. Let’s just say he did a great job at keeping me humble during those early years. You’re doing good, Mom.”

And I held it together until I got to the car. As I buckled my three-year-old into his seat with tears streaming down my face he clutched my face in both of his chubby toddler hands and asked “what’s wrong my mama? I’m sorry I yelled in the book house.”

And I told him that I was crying “because I just loved him so much” and that sometimes I just “worry too much and care too hard,” because isn’t that what it all comes down to? That no matter what we do for our children we do it with all of the love in our hearts?

To all the moms and dads out there who worry too much and care too hard and have had to scrape their children from the floor, throw them over a shoulder and make a run for it, keep on keeping on. You’re #doingood. Keep up the tireless, selfless, thankless work. I see you and I’ve got your back. If all else fails, I’ll run to hold the door for you.

Now go out there and share the love- if you happen to see a fellow parent stumble, take a minute and tell them despite how it may feel, they’re #doingood too.

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  1. Love this and you and your brood! I would be estatic to see you in Target with your circus! As long as you did stop to hug me and the children ran INTO the store and not out into traffic! Cheers to you, mom, you are doing GREAT!

  2. I don't know what I love more...that first picture or the #doinggood.

  3. Such a sweet post. I love it when strangers say the kindest words that really ring true. You are an amazing mama!!

  4. You're a great mom! I can see that in every post you post everything you write :)

  5. THIS. This all day long. This is encouraging and wonderful. I feel like I vary from being a wonderful mom to being the hottest of all messes. HOT. MESS. I will hug myself now :). I am sharing your post. People need to hear this. You are doing wonderfully. Lynne at The Sweet Midlife http://sweetmidlife.com


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