A while back, I reached out and asked if there were any specific blog posts that you’d like to see. When someone suggested:
“Can you share some of the lessons you’ve learned as a mom?”
I grabbed it and ran with it. (Especially since you all love the “15 Things I’ve Learned as a Mom” post.)
As you know, I love to share any realness that I can with you all, in hopes that you see that life’s not always perfect online, no matter what is perceived on social media.
Lessons I’ve Learned as a Mom
When it comes to parenting, I knew there were some things I wanted to share, because for years I struggled with trying to be a perfect mom. So if I’m able to share things that I’ve learned with others, hopefully, it will help others relate and feel a bit better.
I’m not perfect, never will be. I don’t have all the answers, and maybe not even the right answers. But I just hope that opening up about things like this can help another momma in some way.
Careful With What I Say
One of the lessons I’ve learned is being careful with what I say to the little guys.
I tried a little experiment with my youngest and I love what I learned.
He tends to be my “momma’s boy” and loves his time with me and his nightly snuggles.
One night when he was headed to Grandma’s for a sleepover, I said:
“I’ll miss you so much and I’m not sure what I’ll do without my nightly snuggles!”
I meant it as a way to tell him how much I love him and how much I’ll miss him, of course.
But I learned that at nighttime that evening, he was crying for me and begging to come home to me. He then told me when he got home the next day
You were right mom. I shouldn’t have stayed at Grandma’s. I missed you too and I wanted to come home.
Dang it. I think that was totally my fault.
So, the next time he headed to Grandma’s I hugged him and said,
I’m SO excited for you and you’re going to have a great time!
Would you know that it worked like a charm? He came home the next day, bragging about how much fun he had and said,
You’re right mom! I had a great time! I didn’t miss you at all!
I’ll admit, my “mom heart” was a little broken when I heard that he didn’t miss me… but overall, I was so glad that it helped him make it through.
I’ve learned that what we say to our kids can discourage or encourage them and can really make an impact on their day. I’ve started paying attention and being careful with what I say to them any time I feel that they could have a tough day or time.
This ESPECIALLY worked this year on the first day of school. I’m so thankful because it also makes my job as a mom so much easier.
Guard the Emotions
Piggybacking off of being careful with what I say to them, I can’t help but mention how I try to be careful with what NOT to say to them.
When things get heated, emotionally in life… whether it’s having a tough conversation with my husband, family member, friend, or someone close to the family…no matter how hard it is, it’s best not to downplay this person to the kids.
Why? Because we as adults can possibly get over it, work it out or help fix the matter through counseling. But the little ones can absorb it, and may not have the same reconciliation opportunities as we do and can hang on to words that we say to them and let it affect lives moving forward.
As hard as it is to bite my tongue, it’s better in the long run.
I Mess Up
I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face when I apologized for how I reacted to something.
I had let the emotions from something else in life, feed into my mom-role. I simply apologized and said,
Son I’m so sorry. I overreacted. Forgive me.
He had a smile I’d never seen before. Now perhaps it was a “Whoa. I feel the power shifting in my house” kind of smile, haha, but I actually saw a relief in his eyes confirming that he really didn’t do anything wrong. I truly believe we became closer that day.
From now on, I always try to apologize and admit when I’m wrong. I believe it’s a lesson that’s good for me AND my kiddos.
Mom Guilt + Judgy Eyes
The mom guilt articles online and the judgy public “eyes” can tick me off.
A new article is floating around about how it’s important to “Snuggle with the kids every night” or some gal is giving me the stink-eye at the park, pretty much saying with her eyes “I can’t believe you’re on your phone while your kids are swinging. Why aren’t you pushing them instead?”, etc.
I mean, the reminders are nice in some of the posts online because it helps wrangle me back in when I need to be reminded of what’s important. (Like when I shared how I took Youtube away from my kids.)
Heck, I’ve actually even written encouraging posts about how parenting can be hard and it’s important to remember the precious times and traits of our kids.
But I also have learned, that some days, for the sake of my sanity and for my family’s sake… momma needs a 5-minute break on the couch while Daddy snuggles that night or that the kiddos need to try to go to sleep on their own instead.
Or maybe while at the park I’m on my phone because I’m checking to see what time Chuckie Cheese closes because I want to surprise them that evening because they were AMAZING for putting up with such a stressful week at home? Or I’m trying to frantically add money to an account so I can purchase groceries that evening to feed them dinner.
I have just learned that there can be a lot of “mom guilt” (especially when we as parents travel and leave the kids) in this world, and just because I’ve read something or that someone has said something to me about what I’m doing wrong, doesn’t mean that I’m a bad mom.
Which brings me to my next point.
Parenting styles can be different from one another and it doesn’t mean that mine is right or that mine is wrong.
If you have more than one child, you may know exactly what I’m saying when I say,
How in the world can one child be so different than the other?
With this, you may even find yourself having a different parenting style with each of your children. So if we can see ourselves doing that in our own home, doesn’t that mean that other’s may be doing it differently than we do too?
We also may parent differently during different stages of life. Different circumstances can initiate a change in our parenting styles.
It doesn’t mean that one way is the right way. For instance, you may or may not like how we used “Caught You Being Good” tickets in our home… but they worked for us!
It just may mean that there are many different parenting styles out there, and our parenting styles may even change from time to time.
Learning that this can be normal, helped make me feel a lot better. I don’t have to feel like the “perfect mom”, or guilt myself when I’m feeling “off my game” as a parent. I’ll just try to keep doing the best that I can and not define myself by someone else’s parenting style.
It’s a Hard Job… Or Is It?
Being a mom can be hard, and it’s easy to forget that it is. With my second baby, I remember rocking him in the middle of the night after a feeding and literally crying myself. I was so tired, exhausted and had the thought “I can’t do this anymore.”
I literally forced myself to say out loud
“DO NOT HAVE ANY MORE BABIES”
because I was afraid I’d forget one day and I’d let myself get back into this same position, and saying it out loud should help me own it.
Fast forward a few years and I’m starting to even forget that this happened. Or rather, starting to tell myself,
“Sheesh, maybe I overreacted. I survived, didn’t I?”
I truly think God gives us the gift to forget how hard being a mom can be at times, so we can keep pushing forward, whether that’s to have more babies or to keep being the best mom that we can be, even though it can be really hard sometimes.
Learning and remembering that we were never promised an easy life, or promised that motherhood would be easy is so nice to say out loud sometimes.
Don’t Forget About You
As you saw in the “Self Retreat” video, I took some time for myself recently. It was a short amount of time and left me feeling recharged and refreshed. Although this time could look different for you at times, and different from your friend’s idea of some “me time”, I truly do think having this time is an important lesson I learned in motherhood.
It’s easy to forget about what fuels us up, and that our health (physical and mental) is important. But when we take some time to remember that and instill that, what a difference it can make.
Hang in There
Hang in there, momma. I’m right there with you. A lesson learned today may be canceled out by a new lesson tomorrow.
Maybe it’s learning a lesson about how to help our child develop during toddlerhood or even when it becomes time to take the SAT for our high school kid, we’re always learning.
No matter what, we’re all imperfect and that’s ok. Let’s just embrace the fact that we’re all trying to do the best that we can. That’s the biggest lesson I taught myself.
Could I have shared more lessons? You bet. I’m learning a new one every day. But I’m hopping off to take my boys to a birthday party and do my best at this “mom thing” today.
The Fab Society
If you’re not part of our Fab Society group on Facebook, where we chat about all sorts of things like this, we’d love to have you! We encourage, share, inspire and chat about all the things that we want to, in hopes to find a little bit more happiness in life. Join HERE!