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Monday, November 5, 2018

I Knew I Would Be The Perfect Mom. I Was Wrong.

Before I had children, I knew everything there was to know about parenting (ha!). But, just to be sure I hadn't missed anything, I read every parenting book/magazine/website I could find. By the time my oldest was born, I knew with full confidence I would be able to gracefully handle anything he could throw at me. I felt certain I would be the mom who had it all together:  house immaculately clean and guest ready, children well-dressed at all times and always on their best behavior. I had done my homework. I could never have imagined parenting could be anything less than a breeze because I was prepared.

I can hear you laughing at me as I'm typing this. Truthfully, I still laugh at my naivety and overconfidence. The simple truth about parenting is that no one really knows exactly what they are getting into when they have their first kid... or even their second. Because no two kids are the same and no two mothers are the same, those parenting books can do nothing more than help give you guidance when you start to feel out of your league in certain situations. YOU are the best mom for your kids. You are the best person for the job of raising your kids.

Fast forward fourteen years from the time I thought I knew everything and ask me what I have learned about motherhood, and I will tell you it's a beautiful mess and I love it almost all the time. Things are not picture perfect. Not even close. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I leave the dishes in the sink overnight. Sometimes we eat pop tarts for dinner. The other day,  my oldest son left the house wearing sweatpants and sandals to go to school. You read that right. Sweatpants and sandals. Do I want him wearing sweatpants and sandals to school? No, not particularly. He has so many nice things that look so much better than sweats... but I am learning to be fine with it allowing him to make choices because it is okay to let go. Some battles are not worth the fight.

 I am learning to embrace this beautiful mess. It is important to allow them to have choices and some battles, like their outfits (for the most part) are not worth the power struggle. Those battles are best left for things that actually matter.  This is what life looks like. It's a dance between allowing them to learn and grow and teaching them boundaries. It's a fine line to tow because the balance is constantly shifting.  We do the best we can to teach our children. We love them through their difficult stages, support them through their trials, and allow them the freedom to become the someone they can be proud of. Knowing full well, someday we will have to let go and allow them to fly.

No, things have not quite turned out as planned.

Things at our house are never what I would call boring. In fact, there is almost never a dull moment. 
My children are sometimes messy and loud and occasionally get into mischief. We are a little disorganized a lot of the time. But, no matter how very different my children are compared to the ones I dreamed up in my imagination all those many years ago, I wouldn't have it any other way. They are the ones who make life fun and worthwhile. Because of them, my life is full of sunshine and laughter. Even when we occasionally find ourselves face to face with a storm cloud, we know it will pass; Storm clouds always do. I wake each morning grateful for another day but also wondering what unexpected adventure my children will bring. No, It's not perfect . . . but it is wonderful.

Nothing can quite prepare you for the journey motherhood will take you through. No book, magazine or website can give real insight into what parenting is really all about. I think the only way to do it is to close your eyes and jump in with both feet.

I feel so blessed to have the children I do. I love that they each have their own unique, colorful personalities. Oh, how predictable and boring would life be if everything was "just so" all the time. Things rarely turn out the way I plan . . . this time, they turned out better.

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