I have said it before and I will say it again, there is nothing harder or more rewarding than parenting.
Here you are, this independent creature and then BAM! You have these little tiny versions of you, who are dependent upon you. There are no instructions, no manuals, no cheat code for this. It’s raw, emotion filled, topsy-turvy, wonderful, and absolutely maddening.
When I was pregnant 11 years ago, I knew I was clueless. I was young and naïve and really didn’t have the slightest idea what being a parent would entail. I don’t think I could even comprehend past diapers and breastfeeding. I read every book that I could, studies and research, and all the information I could to be prepared for one of the biggest journeys of my life. None of that helped. Nothing can prepare for what life as a mom is like. I remember the day the nurse put this little guy in my arms and that was it. My heart filled up. I looked into those eyes and knew my world was no longer just my own.
My purpose found me.
Skip ahead a couple of years of fumbling through developmental stresses, firsts of all kinds, and more love than I knew my heart could give, and my second son was born. If I thought I was clueless about parenting one kid, I was oblivious to two. My world got flipped turned upside down. But, I went into it head-on and thought, I will figure this shit out as I go. I put my big girl panties on.
Now, my boys are eight and eleven and I am still struggling. With each new age brings new challenges, new stresses, but still the same me, fumbling through it all, doing my best. I know I do things to my detriment. I compare myself to other parents. I refer back to parenting when I was a kid, which has changed.
I realize time changes things — stuff my parents did back then is unheard of now. But, I still find myself reading studies and research and developmental books just trying to see how bad I’m messing up my kids. I wonder, will they spend years as an adult on a psychiatrist chair, talking about how their mother is the source of all their problems? Will they use me as an excuse when they are in a relationship and their partner has discovered deep-seated issues? I hope not.
I hope they will look back with joy at the adventures we had and the lessons I taught them. I hope.
All I know is I am doing my best. I love them more than they will know, I protect them with a fierceness that’s as animalistic as it gets, and I do everything with their best interests at heart. I hope that’s enough. I hope they will know that as they grow up. I hope they will look back and smile at the times we spent weekends discovering new cities and trying new things. I hope they will look back with joy at the adventures we had and the lessons I taught them. I hope.
The thing is, I won’t know for years to come. But, what I do know now is that I’m doing my best. God knows I make mistakes, I punish when I shouldn’t or don’t do quite enough when I should. I pick my battles and maybe put my foot down when it’s not needed or not enough. I get overly sensitive about my kids, I’m quick to defend, and will always have their backs — and I don’t always get along with their father. I’m trying. I’m far from perfect.
I do know that there are moms out there like me. I know they struggle and feel their way blindly through this part of our journey as moms. I know they have the same worries and fears and fierceness that we all have. I know they are doing their best, too. They are a part of the mom tribe. The bad-ass, running on caffeine, always chaotic, barely have their shit together, MOM TRIBE.
I do know that there are moms out there like me. I know they struggle and feel their way blindly through this part of our journey as moms.
We spend days obsessing over developmental stages, growing phases, and stories from other moms. We are always there, thriving in the tornado that is our lives. We are making appointments, attending PTA meetings, and planning sleepovers. We are holding our shit together and reaching out to other moms who are maybe having a day that calls for a little wine or self-care.
We are the finder of things, the cleaner of junk, the chef of meals, the kisser of boo-boos, and everything in between. We are doing it all for everyone and still show up every day to do it again. We have our own shit going on but still are amazing enough to deal with everyone else’s, too. It does not get more bad-ass than that.
So, Mom Tribe, I salute you. Every.Single.Fucking.Day. I salute you and I want you to know…
You are never alone.
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