I have been a mother for almost 15 years now. I currently have a preschooler, a pre-tween, a pre-teen and a full on teen at home. So although I don’t really fall into the certified parenting “professional” slot, I feel mostly like my rookie parenting card has been punched enough times to have moved on to moderately experienced parenting. Meaning that the children are still alive and appear to be reasonably well adjusted. Kudos to me right?
Anyways, I get a kick out of all of the parenting articles, posts, books and such that so many parenting experts share that are supposed to help us be better parents. I have tried to read a lot of these types of resources and some of them have indeed been helpful at different points in my life, but some of them are outright myths of motherhood. I always wonder what some of these experts would think if they visited my house for a day?
I know that personally once I moved on from trying to care about these five things, my parenting reality became a whole lot better. So here in no particular order are five motherhood myths debunked.
How your child behaves is a direct reflection of your parenting abilities.
This is crappola. Sorry folks. When my 3 year old gets mad and throws her body on the floor because someone else doesn’t pass over a toy to her fast enough I do not instantly think, “Oh my gosh my child is a badly adjusted individual who will never learn to share! And it is ALL my fault.” Uh, no. That’s dumb. They are little and through much redirection and “compassion therapy” hopefully I can make sure they no longer throw themselves on the floor in frustrating situations when they are 18 year olds. That is the hope at least….
The old adage “kids will be kids” is spot on. We are their parents and our job is to teach them. Of course along the way there will be mistakes and learning opportunities. That is part of the teaching process, because each child is their own perfectly imperfect person (just like we are). Someday when our offspring leave home this will be even more obvious, but to take every little mistake they ever make on us as our fault is a pretty horrible way to parent. Give them a little bit of allowed grace to make mistakes and remember to allow the same for yourself.
Someday I will get myself perfectly put together.
Sorry Charlie. I hate to break it to you, but I don’t know when this ever happens. Some days I can be that person I try and tell Pinterest that I am, and other days I can’t even seem to leave the house with matching shoes. It is OK. You are OK.
I remember once trying to leave the house for a library story time with a 5 and 3 year old child, and a new baby. Even with advance prep work I could not get anyone dressed and presentable enough to leave the house. I gave up and instead we read books on the couch in underwear and diapers. The next day was better. Sometimes it is fine to just cut our losses and accept that some days will be better than others.
I should be able to do this by myself without help.
Don’t do this to yourself. Humans thrive on community and as mothers this is never more important. Ask for help, give help to others. Make your community of friends as wide and fulfilling as you need, because we absolutely do need each other.
I know that I have learned more from my fellow parenting friends than from any parenting book I have ever read. Build your own community. Make it full of the people who will support you in your role as a mother. It is important.
I can do it all.
Nope you can’t. I am a blogger, author, run a very active private PR consulting business and I have 4 children. I don’t even try to do it all and I know that I am indeed competent, but some days it varies in which aspect of my life receives the most competency. Case in point, last Thursday while on the phone with a reporter I was pitching for a client, my 3 year old ran in and screamed very loudly, “The poop is coming right now mommy!” The silence on the line was palpable, until about a second later the reporter busted out laughing so hard I thought they were going to have a seizure. So if anything, I definitely am now memorable to that particular media outlet and reporter. Thankfully the story for my client just ran on Friday so I guess it didn’t end up so badly.
I have written quite a bit on this subject and you can read more about my reasons for why I believe the expectation of trying to have it all is hurting us all.
I just know I am a failure.
You can NEVER be a failure if you keep trying and loving. I promise. Take it from someone who has had some pretty epic disasters in my parenting books. Notice the plural usage of books here?
The important key is to keep trying. To keep loving. To find and call for support when we need it and to just keep moving in a direction we hope closely resembles a forward motion. Doing all of this will make us draw deeper than we ever thought we could, but that is motherhood and it is worth it.
Professionally I have had some pretty amazing experiences in my life and met some even more amazing people, but none of that has ever compared to the moments I have had as a mother. Some have been gut wrenching, others have been hilarious and even tender. I know those moments will be the memories I will hold onto and cherish, because they made me into the mother and even person I am today. Not perfect, but a perfectly imperfect woman who is trying with all her might to do what is best for my children. You may not agree with how I do it, but that’s fine. Differences are the spice of life and the world would be a pretty boring place without spice.
So hugs to you sweet mama friend reading this post right now. You got this.
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