When originally starting The Un-Traditional Mother, my goal was not only to let everyone struggling know they are not alone but was also to shed some ugly truths. So many people and celebrities glamorize parenting that it can lead your brain to believe that you are not enough. After all, when the facts come out and the cameras are off, sometimes parenting is not exactly… well, it’s messy.
The parenting books will never fully prepare you for some of the things that occur when raising a tiny human. In today’s world, it almost seems as if we are truly on our own anyway. We are the pioneers of raising children in a pandemic where sometimes the virus is the least of your worries.
Finding YOUR Truth
If you are trying to raise your children “by the books” or following in the steps of the semi-transparent masses who advertise the concept of parenting as a subject to be admired for, you are likely to lose your marbles fairly quickly.
The truth is, somedays you will concur with the world, and everything will work out as planned. Some days before you even have a chance to open your eyes, you will awaken to the sound of your toddler peeing freely on the floor because he didn’t want to wet his pull-up. Of course, there are days between the wild world of parenting and the glamorous days of rocking the socks off parenting, but those days are not the days people write about.
Your truth will fall in those days, we all have bad days, and we all have good days. Somedays, you have to wrap your kids in protective foam, put on your seat belt, and hold on. Those days don’t define your parenting. We have all carried a tired child out of a store screaming. We have all maneuvered strategically through a restaurant with spit up on our shirt, and we have all closed our eyes and took a deep breath in hopes it might calm the world for just a moment.
My truth falls in between hysteria and quiet. It’s the moment of having to lay down and stop the world because my littlest guy doesn’t feel good and doesn’t want to fall asleep alone. It’s walking through a park and watching them wade in the water and free play in nature without a screen or instructions.
My moment of peace is on the weekends when we all lay down and cuddle in one bed to watch a movie. It’s not glamorous, and undoubtedly if we were on a TV show, we would be deemed crazy or boring depending on the moment, but it is mine.
My truth in parenting is my oldest’s quick look in a frightening situation and the calm smile I give to let him know it’s okay. It’s the moment at bedtime that dad gets all the cuddles, but the baby slides over to me to close his eyes.
The Messy Truth
The real truth of parenting is not how dirty your child gets from a quick walk, it’s not the days you have a migraine, and they have imaginary earplugs that avoid only the sound of your instruction.
It’s all messy. There are scraped knees, teary eyes, and toys everywhere. But remember, you are the parent that was chosen for your child. Something in the universe picked YOU, against all odds, to be the safe harbor and grow this little soul. That beautiful little person you worry about feels the love you have for them. The fact you worry means your doing your best.
Embrace the days that seem to go your way, and don’t dwell on the moments of tears or messes. One day your house will be clean and quiet, and you will be worrying about the fact your daughter is spending the first few nights in her own apartment. You will be wondering what they are doing and praying they are safe because they are not making a mess at your feet.
The Future of Your Messy Truth
My stepchildren showed me the love of children, how to be a mother, how to enjoy the mess, and embrace the cuddles. They are almost grown, and now that we are entering the age with our little ones that my stepchildren were when I married my husband, I see a lot more clearly what is important.
They will argue, make messes, make mistakes, and drive you crazy, but you will wish they were there to make that mess one day. You will wish they were just in the same room with you, arguing or not. You will see that they are okay, and no matter what mistakes you thought you made, it wasn’t as big of a deal as you thought. You will see your daughter cry because she is overwhelmed with college and wish more than anything; your biggest problem was that her brother took her toy.
Breathe, take in the laughter, kiss away the tears, and do your best. It’s hard, and somedays you feel like it’s never-ending. The times of no sleep, screams, fits, with some books telling you to punish them, some books telling you to communicate better, but at the end of the day, it’s just you. You are everything they need, don’t stress about the toy you can’t afford or even the stain on the carpet.
That is all temporary. You won’t even think of that when you’re watching him walk across the stage to get his diploma or you helping her move into her college dorm.
Find your center, take of yourself so you can take care of them, and remember the mess will be there tomorrow, but the chance for a memory that will last won’t always be right in front of you.
-The Un-Traditional Mother