The older I get the less I know.
I feel the same applies to being a mom. The longer I am a mom, and the more kids I have, the less I know.
When I had my first baby I thought I was the best mom. I gave her all my attention, cuddled her to sleep, and went to a different playgroup or activity every day.
When she was only a couple of months old she was in swimming lessons and then she was in gymnastics. Every day we did something different.
I made all of her baby food with organic ingredients.
I would wash her laundry separately with special baby soap and hang all of her tiny little clothes up to dry.
I thought I was doing everything right. I had an unbelievable amount of patience. I felt so confident in my mothering skills. I wondered why parents always complained about how hard parenting is.
Six years and two more kids later, I understand. I’m far, like very, very far from being a perfect mom. Some days I feel like I’m drowning.
My kids eat hot dogs on occasion and cheese pizza all the time. My toddler lives on bread alone. I don’t cuddle them to sleep although I end up co-sleeping with all of them at some point in the middle of night.
My patience wears thin most days. I don’t sort my laundry. Sometimes I bribe my kids to get them out the door. All of the these things I swore I’d never do as a mom, I do. A lot.
But now that I know I don’t know everything there is to being a mom, it has made me more understanding. Having three kids has humbled me.
I may have judged a mom for carrying a toddler in public who was still wearing his pyjamas before. I know now that mom likely picked her battles and his teeth are probably brushed.
I used to see a child throwing a tantrum and think she must be a spoiled brat but now I know there is so much more than meets the eye.
That child could be suffering from anxiety. I used to question why a parent would take their baby to the grocery store during nap time but now I know that sometimes you don’t have an option.
I’m beginning to think that maybe this world needs less ‘perfect’ parents and more supportive ones. We don’t need unsolicited advice from people who have no idea what is going on at home.
What works for one kid, doesn’t necessarily work for another.
It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes one to support a parent. We need more people to say, I hear you, I see you, and this is tough.
I don’t know everything about being a mom but I do know that I love the crap out of my kids, even on hard days. And I’m beginning to think that is all that matters.
The internet can be a dark and scary place sometimes but every once in while some helpful gems can be found. My favourite thing found online this week:
“Don’t tell a mom she looks tired, she already knows that. Tell her she is doing a good job, she might not know that.”