I’m sitting here just feeling a little emotional about the fact that Sunday is Mother’s Day and my little baby is already 18 months old. It’s hard to believe how fast the last year and a half has gone and even harder to remember what life was like before Squish was around. Becoming a mom has a steep learning curve and comes with a roller coaster of emotions and constant questioning about whether you’re being the best mom you can be.
I read a lot more parenting articles now that I’m a mom myself and while I tend to just gloss over some of them, there have been a few that have really stuck with me and made me stop, shift my mindset and think about my actions.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share 5 articles with you guys that I’ve read since Squish was born that have had the biggest impact on my role as a mom. Side note- photo credit for the amazing pics in this post goes to Alisha Skeel Photography.
It’s Hard For Them, Too – This one is a doozy. I literally haven’t stopped thinking about it since I read it. I’ve shared it with pretty much every mom I know. I think it struck such a chord because it was a perspective I had never thought about. At all. There have been plenty of times in the past 18 months when I’ve thought about how hard it is to be a mom. I’ve complained about my baby being crabby, tired, not sleeping, screaming for hours. I’ve complained about not having enough time to work, not getting enough sleep, not getting any sick days.
But on those hard days, I’ve never once thought about how hard it is for him. About how many things he probably wishes he could tell me but he doesn’t have the words. About how tired he is of me telling him to stop doing things when he doesn’t understand why. After reading this article, I shifted my mindset. When I get impatient or angry, I try to put myself in his shoes…and then do what I can to help him fix the situation. If nothing else, it’s taught me to be a little more sympathetic when things don’t go as planned for either of us.
The article ends: “They greet their days with smiles, enthusiasm, and excitement. They forgive our mistakes, our flashes of fiery, unfair anger. They meet our impatience with patience (at least sometimes), they laugh and live and love with reckless abandon. So when they push us to the edge of our limits, let’s try to remember that we’re doing the same thing to them.”
This Stage of Life, It’s Hard – This is another article that eloquently puts into words what so many moms my age are going through. “You don’t know the answers to ANYTHING, but you feel constant pressure to figure out EVERYTHING.” So much yes. “It’s a stage where you are on a constant quest for balance, and can never find it.” –> So accurate.
This article beautifully describes the daily struggles that I deal with…but it’s the part where it goes on and tackles what you need to do to survive it all that really hit home. Because I think every mom needs to read that list. And give themselves a little bit of a break. You can’t do it all….and that’s ok. There are things that you THINK you need to do…like clean the house, squeeze in an extra hour of work, etc and then there are things that you ACTUALLY need to do…like accept help when it’s offered, simplify, take time for you. Because raising a kid is hard…but you’re not doing it alone!
To Be A Mother – One of the most accurate descriptions of what it means to be a mom that I’ve ever read. I remember sharing this on Facebook a couple months ago and getting overwhelming agreement from many of my mom friends. “To be a mother is to always feel like you’re never giving enough and like you couldn’t possibly give anything more.” –> How I feel every single day.
“And to be a mother is to finally understand that love that people talk about, that soul-crushing, all-encompassing love for your child that nothing could prepare you for and nothing compares to.” –> The exact truth. It’s an article I’ll send to all of my friends as they start to have babies of their own and it’s one I’ll continue to re-read because it’s a great reminder that even though motherhood is different for everyone, there are people out there who understand. It’s a reminder that when you’re a mom, you develop a whole new level of empathy for other moms. And it’s a reminder that all those thoughts you’re struggling with, decisions you’re trying to make and fears you have are ok, acceptable and totally normal.
The Last Time – I read this when Squish was probably 3 or 4 months old. I remember sitting in the dark reading it over and over and just sobbing. “The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time. Until there are no more times.”
I know that no matter what I do, this is still going to happen. There will be plenty of those “last times” that I don’t realize until later. And I’ll probably cry about them down the road. But I saved this post and every so often I go back and read it…and it reminds me just how important the little things are. It helps me be just a little more present. Reminds me to put my phone down and soak up these precious moments before they’re gone.
“So when you are living these times, remember there are only so many of them and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.”
Let Them Climb Trees (and Fall) – This was something I was working hard at before I read this article and it simply confirmed that I needed to continue. I want to raise a brave, independent child. I want him to feel free to explore what he finds interesting. I want him to take risks. And I do my best to make sure he gets those opportunities, even when it’s not the most convenient for me. “She had stopped herself from racing in to save and help (when he hadn’t even asked). Her boy had done something he didn’t think he could do. What was on the other side? A big load of confidence.”
I let him play in the sprinklers even though I know he’ll get wet and then cry because he doesn’t like how his wet shirt feels. I let him climb up and down things that are maybe just a little “too high” by conventional standards, even though he might fall. I let him run full speed down the driveway even though I know it’s likely that he’ll trip and bang his head. And I do it because I know it’s helping him learn. He’s developing his independence and learning that not every action has a desirable result. Sometimes he’ll fall. Sometimes he’ll get hurt. And sometimes he’ll fail. “But what could be better than watching your child try something he or she never thought possible? Sure, falls and scraped knees are inevitable. But they get up. They climb again.”
But my hope is that he’s learning to get right back up and either rethink things and make a smarter choice next time….or push through with determination and try again. “And fueled by new-found confidence, they start searching for the next mountain that has morphed from obstacle to opportunity. You can try to help, but if you’ve done your job right, they’ll be brushing your hands away.”
(This is another great article on this topic- Why It’s Ok To Let Kids Fail).
So Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Wishing you a day filled with love and happiness.