When You’re Making it Up as You Go Along

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In the early stages of my motherhood journey, I was overcome with anxiety, paranoia, and insecurities. I’m not going to lie — it was an emotional time in my life and I struggled with handling it without feeling inadequate. Becoming a mom, no matter what age or stage in life is an intimidating thing. I don’t know who raises the bar to perfection, but there it is always staring you in the face, reminding you how you never quite make it.

When you give into that lie it distorts your capabilities of being a good mother. Whatever level you personally deem good parenting or mothering you should aim for it every day. Don’t compete with other parents but compete with yourself. What I mean is if you were patient with your child yesterday, just aim to be a little more patient with them the next day. Competition with others to make yourself feel on top isn’t really winning and your child loses in the end. Don’t feel the need to meet a status quo invented by others based on their personal experience with their children. That’s not what being a loving parent is all about.

Yes, you should always be inspired by the stories of the woman before us who have done the impossible for their sons and daughters. Embrace the testimonies of the woman who have cried, sobbed and fought for theirs just like you are now. You should invite strength, wisdom, and experience in your soul but don’t disregard your own strength, wisdom, and experience. It’s what you’ve gone through and overcome that’s made you the parent you are today. The most important lesson for me about motherhood is to never second-guess myself when it comes to how I treat my family. Walking in confidence isn’t easy but it helps to understand that even though you have those days when you are just making it up as you go along, each and every day will come together in the end and works out so long as you have faith that your parenting, all your hard work, and efforts will pay off.

 

LifeLesson: Live in the Moment

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As a mother, I’m always faced with the challenge to get things done off my to-do list and I always bypass the chance to just live in the moment. I’m so accustomed to wanting each and every day to be productive and successful that I don’t stop and appreciate the little things. I hate to say it but I’ve developed a bad adult behavior that emphasizes more on tasks, chores, and checklists as a priority rather than the person I do it all for; my kid.

Before I wake up in the morning, usually our daughter has made her way back into our bedroom. She climbs over me strategically making space in the middle of us. It’s gotten to the point where on cue, whether I’m half sleep or not I scooch over and tap my husband to move so she doesn’t get squished. All three of us would lay in bed snuggled uncomfortably for another hour before the rush of commands hit us for the day.  Sadly that’s one of the briefest moments my family connection before the day begins and technically it doesn’t count since some of us are still counting sheep.

It’s crazy how quickly we fall into a sort of a routine without even realizing it. My husband and I will fuss over who does what. I nag him to make all the beds and depending on who has to go to work first cook and clean. Come to think of it, with all the hustle and bustle we are pretty tired by 11 and I do mean am! I could accredit to how things were much simpler when she was a baby but no matter how old our children get it shouldn’t diminish our willingness to just take the time and have quality moments together.

Looking back on just the last couple months, it’s been filled with us walking around like mindless drones instead of real human beings. But sadly once you start the rhythm it’s hard to get out of the flow. The same pattern follows and the more I allow it, the harder it is to break away.

Case in point:

Every night I get my daughter ready for bed and like any tired parent you want them all cleaned up, in their jammies, teeth brushed and story read before 11 and I do mean pm! I must admit that by the time I kiss her goodnight for the twentieth time and take the big sigh of relief that everything’s done I never know what to do with myself. Should I stay up late watching tv? Eat more dinner or dessert? Write? Read? When I start to finally enjoy the moment of stillness I instantly start to ache for more family time with my daughter and husband. Part of me wants her to go to bed as early as I can and the other part wants to stay up to watch old 90’s TV sitcom shows.

The fact of the matter, I’ve been struggling with balance and setting my priorities in place so they no longer clash for a while. There is so much to do, so much to get done, so much to accomplish, but allowing it to overrule you diminishes the quality of life we are all blessed to have. It’s difficult to put down the clipboard and run away from routine freely. How can you have quality life moments without the quantity of life’s responsibility over-piling?

It starts with taking a death breath. Release the pent up energy, take a sip of water and realize just exactly where you are. Ask yourself do you really need to be fussing in the supermarket like this over Cheerios and chips? Should you be wasting a joyous car ride fussing over what hasn’t been done yet? What about at dinner, why act surprised at the food all over the floor? Parenting is a never-ending roller-coaster ride. But why should your emotions be?

Take a moment before you start and really list the absolutes that you are going to focus on. Don’t give any time or attention to details that take you away from that list. Close your eyes and imagine what you want to get done today and then start making a plan for getting those done. Permit yourself moments that recharge your love, kindness, and strength. For me, it’s reading my Bible, listening to music, and actually going to the bathroom alone. Whatever you need to keep your energy high for the day, do it.

And if you have a busy toddler like myself, then don’t stress do those things together. Incorporate your kids to clean when you clean. Get your child to find all the mismatch shoes while you fold the towels. Have them sing for you while you clean the bathroom. Every task, every chore, involve them in it. Invite them into your routine and it will definitely bring the family connection you’ve been missing.

I learned that saying, “sit” over and over again will exhaust me and leave me unsatisfied. Plus, it will never get her to sit. So, throw the rule book out the window every now and then. If you are paying bills, then have them sitting right next to you and maybe they will pay a bill or two. If you are praying, don’t lock them out but bring them in and take your time. Every moment of the day should not only be spent succeeding but also loving the ones you do it all for.