Pinterest World is not reality. Yes, we have “pin worthy” moments, but that is not our life. Did you hear me yelling at my kids last night? Feeding them Cheez-Its for breakfast? Febreezing the uniform shirt for Mass day? Saying, “shake it off,” instead of applying a bandaid? Recycling that 100-day project from kid to kid? THAT is my life. It’s called survival.
Let other mothers be your inspiration, not your comparison. We spend our days trying to be better than every other mother we know. And, when we don’t live up to it, we throw our hands up in the air and give up. In the early days, I struggled to get a shower and breakfast and found myself in awe of other moms I knew who seemed to have it all together, all while their eight children followed behind in perfect form. I’ve learned to play up, to surround myself with holy moms who emulate traits I want to develop. In my darkest days as a mom, the best thing I can do is call a friend and get practical advice, not wallow in self-pity about my failures.
Be the ‘hell yeah’ mom. It is hard to turn down projects and playdates, nights out and class projects. For years, I worried that if I gave up the project or event that I had worked so hard to create it would cease to exist. How vain I was! It may or may not continue without you, but if you enjoyed your time doing it, there was no loss. As a wise mom recently shared over at 3 Things for Mom, if your ‘yes’ isn’t a ‘hell yeah,’ say no!
Children don’t take away your passions, you do. Before I had children, I loved designing, decorating and making things pretty. Five kids came along and I pushed much of that to the backburner. When our youngest was born premature, it was my God moment. Life was automatically reprioritized and I finally realized I could jump on the train or cry at the station. I chose the adventure. I’m learning to cultivate my own gifts and in doing so, it’s helped me see the beauty of motherhood and weather her challenges.
The small stuff really is the small stuff. Here’s a newsflash: the diaper genie is rubbish and so is that wipe warmer. Make your own baby food, or don’t. Breastfeed for one month or two years. Co-sleep or crib sleep. None of it really matters. The big stuff, that’s where it’s at, moms. I think it was at each of my children’s baptisms that my role as a mother finally took root. When our youngest flirted with death, all I could think of was life. His life and the lives of my other children. It is the faith I pass along to my children, the way in which they treat others, how they care for the people they love and who they grow up to be—that’s what matters. In the end, it’s the small things we do with faith, hope and love that take us into eternity.
Happy Mother’s Day!