Before I had children, I was a perfect parent.
We’ve all been there, right? Before children, we were all so well-versed on parenting and how kids should be raised. But then real life kicks in, we have a kid or two of our own, and all bets are off.
You may have seen this rant circulating online, and I love it! Okay, I don’t love slightly judgemental tone, but I do love this woman’s standards. We should all aim so high!
And honestly, isn’t this a reflection of exactly how each one of us thought this motherhood thing would go? Everyone would always be well-fed, bathed, clean and happy, healthy meals would be made on time, children would be well-behaved and certainly never do anything unacceptable, and the house would be well-kept.
But I’ve learned to let go of certain things as a Mom. Things like:
Forcing my kids to eat veggies. They’re picky. They only eat certain things, and very specific fruits and veggies. I’ve made peace with that. And guess what? They’re three of the most healthy kids I know!
Making my kids clean their rooms. I have three messies for kids. And I do have cleanliness standards in place (no clothes on the floor, food rotting under the bed, that sort of thing). But if you were to walk into my kid’s room right now, the last thing you would say is that they’re clean.
Eating unprocessed foods. Because life happens, and chicken strip wraps are yummy.
Clothed babies. When you’re volunteering at the school and counting money and can’t leave until you’re done … and your baby has a diaper explosion in her stroller and you’re a 30 minute walk from home …? After a baby wipe bath, a clean diaper and Mom’s sweater will suffice.
Those times when I wasn’t watching my kids closely enough. Like when one of them ate kitty litter (it was still in the bottle, thank goodness!). Or when two of them managed to mattress-surf down the stairs before I noticed what they were doing.
Doing my daughter’s hair every morning. She hates having her hair pulled back. It took me years, but I’m okay with that now.
Making sure my kids’ clothes match. Clashing outfits drive me nuts, and kids seem to specialize in them. So I just do my best to make sure that all of their bottoms (pants, shorts and skirts) are neutral colours. Problem solved!
Folded laundry. I don’t have piles of laundry laying around for one reason: most of my kids do their own. But, with that comes a need to let go of how they do it. It gets clean, and they never re-wear dirty laundry. That’s all that matters anyway, right?
Organized Toys. Try as I might, the toys will never stay in their carefully labeled plastic drawers. It doesn’t matter how many Pinterest-worthy efforts I make, the system always fails when the kids get involved.
Clean carpets. Sure, I can vacuum non-stop, but the truth is, kids very rarely make it to the bathroom before throwing up. And sometimes they run outside in their socks or bare feet, and then track dirt inside. Or sometimes they find a piece of styrofoam and play with it until it’s in little tiny balls all over the floor. Or sometimes some crazy person (me) gives them a dollar store feather boa, and the feathers find their way into every nook and cranny in the house. Or sometimes, kids, with that crazy autonomy of theirs, take their toast into the living room and get crumbs and peanut butter everywhere. It happens.
Perfect table manners. Anyone else remember that episode of Home Improvement when the mom goes a little crazy over the kids’ behaviour at the table, so the dad gets the kids to behave for one meal? I keep wishing that would happen in our house, but it hasn’t yet. But you know, in between all that talking with mouths open and using fingers to eat and wiggling around on their chairs, we have some pretty great conversations around the dinner table, and a lot of laughs! Like when one kid introduced us to Chicken Man.
That mom who has been a parent for 2 weeks will soon be initiated into the real world of parenting, and she’ll laugh at her own words. Just like you and I did.