Being a mom… It’s taught me more in this short span of my life than all years past. I could probably write a book on my thoughts and journey through this thing called “motherhood” thus far. One of the biggest topics focusing on encouragement towards other moms rather than judgement. I will never judge another mom again (okay, maybe possibly because I’m human, but you get my drift).
My sister-in-law, Laine, became a mom before me to my nephew Judah. I remember watching her parent him when he was just a little guy while mentally taking notes of what not to do so my future babies wouldn’t act that way (sorry Laine :)). Well, Jesus has a sense of humor, and blessed my husband and I with our first child Ella about a year later. She is our, let’s just say, spirited child 😉 Parenting her up to this point (almost four) has been no walk in the park. She has tested every fiber within me and has pushed me to my limits more times than I can count. You know those things I said I would never do as a parent? Yeah, they went out the window! Gone. Long gone! Because I’ve learned that every situation is unique, every child is different, and every story is different. No one will ever know the shoes you walk in every day unless you are that very person.
I realize I may be making motherhood out to be this awful, horrific thing that I got myself into. That’s not the point I’m trying to make at all. It’s wonderful, challenging, and life-changing. I think it can be hard for moms to talk about the difficult and often times exhausting parts of it all. We love posting (totally worthy) filtered pictures of our (obviously) adorable kiddos on social media, and refrain from talking about the real stuff- what’s going on behind the scenes. I’ve learned it’s good to share a balance of both worlds, the pretty and the ugly. Mainly it’s important to be real, because I can guarantee you that the moment you open up and start sharing about your current struggles as a mom, others will open up too, and it is so, so freeing to know you are not alone in this journey. There is a lot of sweat, tears, and emotions given throughout the years that go unseen because it’s the finished product or the pretty moments we tend to highlight through it all.
I’ve always said it’s the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me (obviously focusing on the best, but you get my point). I love both of my (once again adorable) kids with all that I am and would never want to go back to life without them. Ever. But I think anything that turns out “beautiful” comes at a great cost.
I’ve learned there is no right or wrong way to parenting (you know what I mean). What works for me and my kids may not work for you. You may be the discipliner, the over-anxious mom, the lenient mom, the i-cant-seem-to-get-it-together mom (THAT’S ME!)… the list goes on. But, what I do know is this- However you know to parent well, do it that way and stick to that. You will read a million books on how to parent “the right way” covering every topic under the sun. A lot of them will share great insight, but a lot of it might not be the right fit for you. For example, as I mentioned above, my daughter is extremely strong willed, so I read the book “The Strong willed child”… fitting right? This book is honestly very insightful and helpful for many strong willed children (so please don’t take this the wrong way), however, not all of them. Ella is extremely sensitive and extremely strong willed, a sometimes very hard combo to try to parent. After implementing a lot of what I read from this book, I ended up breaking her spirit and confidence. It broke me. The last thing I wanted to do was to hurt her. So instead of being hardcore and strict about every little thing, I’ve had to learn to let some things go (even though this book tells you to never do that). I’ve learned to go with my gut and stick to what’s right for me. And you know what? It’s been the right decision. I’ve seen tremendous growth in her spirit and confidence because my mommy intuition kicked in and led me to parent the right way for her.
Are you an encourager or a judger? Be open, be vulnerable, and always give another mom the benefit of the doubt. You just don’t know what they’ve faced that day or what their reality really looks like.We’re in this together mamas!