Flashback Friday: Pardon me, but your flaws are showing

This post was originally published April 18th of this year. But I really wanted to share it again. So I’m making this my “Flashback Friday” post. Enjoy!

I just want to get this out in the open: I am not a perfect mom.

Phew! I feel so much better having said that (typed that?) out loud. Because, I mean, everyone thought I was perfect, right? (~crickets chirping~)

Let’s be honest here. I will never blog about things I’ve perfected, because that wouldn’t be physically possible. Imperfect me training up my imperfect children in the way they should go is a constant work in progress. I (as a mom, wife, human) am a work in progress. (And I don’t aspire to perfection; I want my imperfections and trials and improvements to help other people know they aren’t alone.)

It seems like there is some invisible expectation out there that says moms should have it all together. All the time. And never complain about anything. Ever. Especially not about their darling children. Because raising children is easy peasy, rainbows and sunshine all the time. And if you complain about your kids you are either a terrible mom, you can’t handle your kids, or you should stop having kids.

Am I the only one thinking that sounds nuts right about now? Believe it or not, I’ve heard people say these things. (Even from people who don’t even have children! What?!)

There are lots of things I have learned about parenting through trial and error. And error. And error. Life doesn’t come with an eraser or rewind button. We (moms) are imperfect people trying our hardest to raise our children as best as we know possible. Unfortunately every child is different, and unfortunately kids do not come with instruction manuals. There are some things about parenthood that no amount of parenting books and child-rearing classes can teach you. There are some things about parenthood that require rolling up your sleeves, pulling on your mudboots and jumping in head first.

So when moms feel the constant pressure to always have a cheerful façade on their faces (butter up, Buttercup, right?), to never talk about the struggles of the daily grind that goes with raising children, to always portray the epitome of Suzy Homemaker, we are really only setting each other (and ourselves) up for failure (at least in our own minds).

There is no such thing as a perfect mom, nor should there exist a “standard” that makes raising a family more difficult than it has to be.

Social media has made this almost exceedingly impossible. Instead of seeing the nitty-gritty things moms encounter on a day-to-day basis, we only see snapshots of the times that go right. Here is a typical conversation I have with myself in my head while scrolling through Facebook on any given day:

“So-and-so’s kids are always dressed perfectly; they never have snot trails dribbling down their noses or leftover spaghetti noodles dried in their hair. Her house is always immaculate (when is the last time I could walk across the floor without tripping on a toy?) and her food is always equally portioned (why won’t my kids eat anything but Goldfish crackers and pizza??). Her completed Pinterest projects are awe-inspiring and she is always doing awesome crafts with her kids. She just ran her 20th marathon! Her kids are even smiling while sitting in the shopping cart at Target (I’m usually the frazzled/frustrated mom with a screaming baby trying to corral her kids to stay near the cart). Even their recent family picture is flawless with everyone smiling and looking at the camera. What am I doing wrong?! World’s worst mom.”

I need to knock it off! Deep down I know it isn’t always like that at their house. But when my own daily imperfections are sitting there staring me in the face, and I’m not allowed to talk about them openly with other moms to see if I’m the only one, it is hard to remember that we all have days like that. It is hard to remember my house isn’t always a war-zone, my kids are usually well-behaved at the store (I’m giving my kids the benefit of the doubt here), we do eat healthy food (although I wish my kids weren’t so picky about some things), I do find time to go on my elliptical (ten minutes a day counts as something, right???)…

And my kids are just as loved as anyone else’s. Period. At the end of any good-or-bad-or-in-between day, that is all that matters.

I don’t have this parenting thing figured out, and neither do you, and that is okay. We don’t need to figure it all out all at once. Take the little successes in stride and work on areas that need to be improved upon (FYI- I have found that bribing my kids with Dum-Dum suckers at the store is a HUGE sanity-saver!!!).

Don’t be afraid to share your struggles and successes with your friends and family. Post a status on Facebook without fear of negative judgments. Call up your support system and let off some steam on days that seem to offer more bad than good mommy moments. Because at one time or another we all have hard days. We all have days where we feel we are missing the mark in more ways than one. Days we need to be reminded that we aren’t alone in this journey. Celebrate the successes with each other, and build each other up in times that are extremely difficult. Set aside the assumption that if things aren’t going right today– things aren’t going as “perfectly” as they should– you have somehow failed Motherhood: 101. Remember: we are all works in progress!

Unconditional love and acceptance goes a long way in a world that seems to look down its nose at us. Stop judging other people by their current situation and, instead, start loving them for the total, beautiful mom they are growing into.

(When I was editing this blog post today, I found this quote and thought it fit perfectly!)

image

Have a blessed day at the start of this wonderful weekend of new beginnings!

Evolution of Parenting

 

source: pinaquote.com

source: pinaquote.com

The parent I am now is NOT the parent I was when I first became a mom seven years ago.  Now that it is two against six or, during the work week, one against six, my mantra is “survival of the fittest”.  I’ve had to loosen the reigns to not only survive but because, quite frankly, some of my previous notions as a parent were kind of ridiculous. (Hindsight is always 20/20, right?)

First child: I can vividly remember saying (and, in case I forgot, my mother-in-law has been very helpful in reminding me, LOL) that my first child would never ever be allowed to sleep over at anyone’s house. It’s not that I didn’t trust our parents. I was more worried I would miss him and no one would know how to take care of him like I take care of him and he would be miserable without me. I didn’t let him sleep over anywhere without me for at least the first eight to ten months. Sixth child: Now? With baby #6? She has had at least three nights away from me in her four short months of life.  And my other kids can’t wait to spend time away from me (who they see all day every day). Seriously.  We pull into grandma and grandpa’s driveway and the kids are like, “See ya never!”  We live three hours from our families (aka our babysitters) and, honestly, I look forward to the few precious hours we can spend away from our kids when we go back home to visit.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, no?

First child: I was very diligent in filling out my first child’s baby book.  I even had a scrapbook of his first year of life.  I literally took THOUSANDS of pictures of him in his first year of life. Like, I’m pretty sure his first word was “cheese” because of how often I had that camera out.  I wanted to make sure I preserved every single memory possible. I  also made sure that I had recent pictures of him plastered all over our wall.  Sixth child: I own one of those fancy-shmancy cameras now.  And while I still love to take pictures, I don’t take nearly as many pictures now as I did then.  I don’t even have our updated family picture on the wall, or any pictures of our sixth baby printed out.  She does have a baby book.  That the hospital gave us. That has absolutely nothing in it except for her handprints and footprints from right after she was born.  That the nurses put in there for us. BUT each of our kids has a memory box full of different trinkets (coming-home-from-the-hospital outfits, first haircut trimmings, hospital bracelets, birthday cards, etc.), so I’m not too out of touch. 😉

First child: When it came to food, I swore up and down, left and right that my child would never eat sugar, or fast food. I found it alarming that some parents allowed their kids to eat *gasp* non-organic macaroni and cheese. I know, right? Sixth child: While I do try to feed my kids healthy and nutritious meals and snacks, I don’t lose sleep over my kids eating Happy Meals or sno-cones every once in a while. My mama-sanity sometimes depends on a trip through the drive-thru. Plus it gives me an excuse to order myself a caramel frappe. 😉

First child: My first baby never watched television. I used to be a naïve TV “snob” and couldn’t believe that some parents actually let their kids watch the electronic box.  I eventually tip-toed my way into the world of kids’ TV via Baby Einstein.  I mean, with a name like that it had to be worlds better than SpongeBob What’s-his-name. Sixth child: By the sixth baby, I have definitely become more lax with my TV censorship.  Typically I don’t like my kids to watch more than a couple of hours of television during the day.  But during the freezing cold winter months, and with having a newborn, and a crazy homeschool schedule, and kids that think 5:30 is an appropriate wake-up time… Sometimes we have the TV on more than I would like.  And that’s just how life is right now.  It won’t always be like this.  Remember… This is survival of the fittest, parenting-style.

First child: Whenever my first child’s pacifier fell to the ground, I would wash it off and, more often than not, sterilize it in boiling water. Any piece of food that fell to the floor would promptly be thrown away. Sixth child: I quickly inspect the pacifier and then pop it back in the baby’s mouth without a second thought. (Unless we are at a store or anywhere else in public.  I’m not that gross.)  Dropped food? No biggie.  We have the ten minute rule around here.  When my kids are scavenging for lost Cheerios in the couch, I take that as a signal that I probably need to feed them.

First child: My first child was held by either my husband or myself all. the. time.  I honestly don’t remember using the bouncy seat when he was a baby, and we didn’t own a bumbo. I even had a hard time letting family and friends hold him.  Ridiculous, right? Sixth child: I do have to say that our sixth child is also held the majority of the time.  But by her older siblings.  Seriously, they bicker about who gets to hold her, and there are plenty of “You are a baby hog” comments that are shouted out every day. So while I don’t hold my baby as much as I held my first one, she is still getting snuggled up and loved on pretty much every minute of the day.

First child: I vowed I would never, ever be angry with my sweet firstborn.  Looking at my tiny, innocent newborn, I not only thought, “My child will never ever do something naughty enough to provoke anger out of me,” but I also thought, “I will never, ever be mad at/frustrated with my child.” Famous last words. Er, thoughts. Sixth child: I’ve learned that, while my kids are angels, they are most certainly not perfect. They are humans and have a big learning curve.  On occasion they will need correction.  On occasion they will make me upset.  And that is okay.  That is life with kids. The good news is that, over the years, I’ve learned that consistency is key. And while my sixth child doesn’t have the capability to be “naughty” right now, I know that, at some point in the future, I will have to put my parenting skills to use.

First child: I remember holding my son for the first time, gazing at this tiny person who was fully dependent on me.  My heart literally grew three inches that day.  I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than I loved my firstborn.  When I got pregnant with our second child when my first was only 9 months old, I remember worrying that I would never be able to love another baby as much as I loved my first. My mind couldn’t even fathom it. Sixth child: I think it is safe to say that a mother’s love is not divided but rather multiplied. I’m always amazed at the instant love I feel after the birth of each of our children.  I love our sixth baby as much as I loved our first.  And the love each of my kids have for each other is nothing short of heartwarming. It makes all of the times they argue and fight a little more bearable.

For those of you with kids, how has your parenting style changed over the years?  Are you more lax than you were at the beginning?

Life: Simple

 

Image found via Google image search

Image found via Google image search

Ever feel like life is just too full?

Everything in life is moving in hyper-drive, vying for my attention, emotions, energy. I try my hardest to keep up with the housework, schoolwork, child-rearing, and wife duties, but, more often than not, something has to give. Generally speaking, that “something” is, 9-times-out-of-10, housework.

I wouldn’t consider myself a slob in any way, shape or form.  But, I’m busy.  So it isn’t unusual to see dishes on the counter or a pile of clean laundry waiting (ever so patiently) to be folded.

While I absolutely hate that my house is rarely Pinterest perfect, I have also come to realize that this is just the stage of life we are in and it won’t always be this way.

We had a guest speaker at my MOPS group this past week.  I absolutely love listening to other moms share their heart, their drive, their passion because, more often than not, I can totally relate to some aspect. This speaker was no different. The topic? Home organization.

The speaker was very real and her topic so extremely relevant. She is a mom to 6 kids (all born within eight years, which is so similar to my six in seven) who has found a way to avoid the stress and chaos that comes from having so many children (who in turn have so much “stuff”).

Live simply.

I have been on a mission lately to trim down our possessions and try to live a more “minimalist” lifestyle.  When you have eight people living in a 1400 square foot house, less is always better! So I could really relate to what the speaker was saying. And something she said really resonated with me: when our homes are so cluttered and unorganized, our minds will not be 100% present with our kids, even though we are physically present.

Wow!  The more I think about this, the more I realize how right she is. When my house is a disaster-zone, my mind goes 100 miles per hour, racing through to-do lists of things that need to be cleaned, items that need to be put away, chores that need to be accomplished. It is so hard to be totally focused on my sweet kiddos when there is so much chaos around us.

And then there is the ripple effect: I become short with my kids and blow up over the smallest things that happen. The kids ask me to play/read/cuddle with them, but I’m so pre-occupied that I say “no” more often than I’d like. Someone spills something accidentally while I’m attending to something else, and my emotional thermometer erupts and overflows ugliness all over an innocent situation.

Those mind-consuming things can actually rob us of our emotions and energy.

On the flip side, when my home is orderly, peace follows.  I don’t feel the constant nagging, reminding me of everything that I have to do.  Instead, I can relax and truly enjoy my family.

Now, how can I ever get to the point where my house feels more peaceful and less… not?

Talking things over with my husband (who tends to be the idea-shaper in our relationship) we decided that we have too. much. stuff.  Sure, I had made strides in clearing out some of the clutter, but if I were to be honest with myself, there are many other things I could part with.  Having less “stuff” will mean less cleaning, tidying, organizing of said “stuff”. I need to get to the point where we are living more simply so life doesn’t seem so overwhelming. So I can focus more on what truly matters (my family) and spend less time and energy putting out the “fires” of life (the daily demands).

Live life simply so you can love more extravagantly.

That is my new mantra in life.  I want to be more present with my kids and, in order to do that, I’m going to cut out any unnecessary distractions life may throw my way.  And that includes extra “stuff”.

When you have six kids, you multiply that by six birthdays, and six sets of gifts at every holiday.  It gets to be a LOT!  Our toy room and the kids’ closet is out. of. control!

I’m kind of ashamed to say this, but here goes: I am waaaaaay behind on folding and putting away laundry.  (Again.) I’m not even exaggerating when I say I have ten loads of clean laundry sitting on my bedroom floor, waiting to be folded and put away.  There are also approximately four loads of dirty laundry waiting to be washed. PLUS our closets are all completely filled with clothing.  Something is wrong with this picture.  We obviously have WAY more clothing than any eight people would need. And I’m stressing out because, every day, I go into my room and see the clothes that need to be folded and put away, plus the clothes waiting to be laundered.  It is ridiculous!

And then the toys. OHHHHHH, the toys.  We have one small room dedicated as the “toy room” (although a more accurate description would be “toy dumping ground”). Two toy boxes, plus a dress up box, plus a large play barn.  Then in the boys’ room are the Legos, K’Nex and other building toys.  In the girls’ room are all of the baby toys, pretend toys, and stuffed animals.  And lastly is the kids’ closet.  Toys covering every available inch of shelving (Duplos, Lincoln logs, Weebles, Barbies, etc.). Trying to keep the toys organized and in their place takes an act of God most days because my kids are quite the professional mess-makers.  It is EXTREMELY stressful because there are so many sets and totes and pieces and oh. my. word.  Just thinking about it makes my head spin.

I’m done. This is insanity! My stress level is up and my patience level is low. So I’m making it my goal to eliminate 50% of our stuff.  I want to live more simply so we can love more extravagantly!

The less time I spend cleaning and fixing and organizing means the more time I can love on my kiddos. This isn’t going to be easy but I’m committing to this not only for my sanity but to bring peace to my home. (Before and after pictures to come!!)

What about you?  Are there any areas of your life you can pare down so you can focus more on what truly matters?

Shifting Seasons

Today

Today

As I sit here typing, we are experiencing our first snowstorm of the season.

To say I’m depressed about the snow is a HUGE understatement.

Even though it has been a long six months since our last snowfall, it doesn’t seem easier going through these snowy times again. Sometimes I wish I lived in a less-snowy climate.

The cold, bitter wind seems to blow effortlessly through this old farmhouse’s window-panes. Snow drifting across the fields and our long, dirt driveway make traveling a nightmare. Our barn across the yard is barely visible through the snow globe-like conditions outside. I dream of living in a place where snow is a rarity, sunshine and green grass an over-abundance.

Isn’t it funny how the seasons of the year can be much like the seasons of our lives? Seasons of joy and peace and warmth (Spring, Summer and Autumn). And seasons of despair and dread and hopelessness (Winter).

Spring, the promise of better times ahead.  Green buds popping up across the landscape, sweet smelling blossoms covering the apple trees, and the almost-forgotten patches of grass appearing beneath the fast-melting snow. The sun shines differently during these Spring days. Cheerfulness permeates through the mud puddles my kids splash in.

Summer is a season of joy and warmth that I greatly anticipate each year.  A much-welcomed reprieve after months and months of cold. A promise I look forward to each year.  Barbecues, roasted marshmallows, late nights outside catching lightning bugs, camping, giggling, new memories.  The heat and humidity, while harsh at times, are anticipated and quickly remedied with popsicles and playing in the sprinkler.

Autumn means crisp air, sunny days, and sweatshirt weather. The perfect weather.  Not too hot, not too cold.  The hours in a day are spent in bliss. Leaf piles, laughter, hot cocoa, and pumpkin-everything.  And preparation.  Preparation for the hard times ahead.  Canning, stocking pantries and wood rooms. Autumn is the foretelling of times to come.  A shadow that passes too quickly before the first snowflake falls.

Winter.  In our part of the country, Winter is filled with snow, frigid temps, ice, and months filled with longing, waiting for warmer weather.  For those of us with kids, Winter comes with hats and boots and gloves and snow pants and thick, warm socks, and layers upon layers of warm clothes multiplied by the number of kids in the house.  Large amounts of time spent getting kids ready to head out the door, large amounts of time spent getting kids unthawed.

And just when we think we can’t possibly handle another day of staring at the frozen tundra, when our sanity reaches its breaking point, the world around us melts and is reborn. Spring.

Without the cold, hard seasons of our lives, we wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate or be thankful for the sunny, easy seasons.

During the good seasons of life it is hard to remember that, yes, the tough seasons of life are going to be there, whether we want them to or not. The hours in a day melt like a popsicle on Summer’s pavement. The seasons shift effortlessly, methodically, rhythmically. And even as the bright, warm seasons will turn dark and cold, the dark, cold seasons will eventually turn bright and warm once again.  We just need to hold on a little bit longer.

Hope is just around the corner.

So for now, I will embrace today for what it is, because no matter how much I sit and pout, today is still today.  The snow is still going to fly. The wind is still going to blow.  At least today I am one day closer to Spring.

Hope.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

mother

My great aunt sent me this poem when I was pregnant with our fifth child. (Click HERE to read it.)  It is titled “Song for a Fifth Child” by Ruth Hamilton. It is a beautiful poem about putting aside daily tasks to be more present with our children, because they grow up too fast. The dust and cobwebs will always be there; our babies will not.

Don’t let things, tasks, people stop you from enjoying your kids while they are still here in your home, needing you.

My house may not be “Pinterest perfect” (my last Pinterest attempt actually ended in an ER visit and stitches), and my countertops are seldom clear of piles of mail, the kids’ artwork, or the dishes from supper last night.  But our days are full of laughter and learning and cuddling and singing and playing.

Except.

Except for when I get trapped in the time vortex known as Facebook.  I can sit down with the intent of giving myself a 20 minute break to unwind on Facebook during naptime, and then look up to realize it is supper time and my house is in complete chaos.

Lack of discipline? Yes. Lack of self-control? Definitely.

Can anyone else relate?

I decided that in order to more fully enjoy my kids, and to be more present with them during the day (and maybe even stay caught up with the laundry??), I’m breaking up with Facebook.

Those that know me well know that I have always had a love-hate relationship with Facebook.

Things that I love about Facebook include: keeping in touch with friends and family that live far away, being able to make new friends in various groups, and having the ability to keep up to date on news happenings around the world. And that’s about it.

I don’t love the drama (oooooh the drama), or the negativity, or the time-sucking, or the constant “I need to know anything and everything about your life” that floods my newsfeed. I have lost friends due to things posted on Facebook.  And, sadly, I’ve missed out on daily interactions with my kids.

Ouch.  It hurts to say that out loud. But if I’m being honest, then yes, it is true.

So, last weekend I made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account. <<Again.>> (Don’t get me wrong, this is much easier said than done!)

I’m putting a stake in the ground and saying I’ve had enough. This time with my kids at home is more important than anything I can see on Facebook. No offense, but adiós, Facebook!  At least until I learn some self-control and discipline. 😉

In regards to the poem I shared above, I give to you my own rendition that more aptly fits into our generation of parenting. With so many things competing for our attention nowadays, let’s make sure our kids aren’t coming in last place! Maybe you can find the courage to unplug more often. Or maybe you want to try a break-up with Facebook (or Twitter, or your e-mail account, etc.). You have nothing to lose and everything worthwhile to gain! 🙂


Song For A 21st Century Child

Mother, oh Mother, check your inbox.
Text back your friend, talk, talk, talk.
Notifications and friend requests, too;
try to go viral with a hit on youtube.
Where is the mother who isn’t updating?
She’s out in the backyard, blissfully playing.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as I dislike to.
(giggling, smiling, cuddling, too).
E-mails are waiting, I forgot how to Tweet
(running and skipping and hide-and-go-seek).

My blog’s not updated and my followers are blue,
and my password needs changing to something new.
But I’m playing pirates and kissing boo-boos.
Look at those toes! Aren’t they just cute?
(giggling, smiling, cuddling, too).

Facebook and Twitter will wait ’til tomorrow,
for kiddos grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So turn off the iPad, silence the beep.
I’m snuggling my baby for babies don’t keep.

Pass the Super Glue, Please!

Source: glossyinc.com

Source: glossyinc.com

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is this: “How do you do it all?”  (In reference to raising five-soon-to-be-six young kids, homeschooling, housekeeping, etc.)

The long answer I usually give is something along the lines of, “My husband is an awesome helper! We are a team and take care of whatever needs to be done. Our kids are also learning to help more so our family unit functions more smoothly.” (Which is, quite frankly, 100% true… I have an awesome hubby who steps in helps right from the moment he gets home from work!)

But wanna hear the more-real short answer?  Quite honestly, most days I don’t, I can’t, do it all.

Exhibit A:

My clean clothing pile from this morning.

My clean clothing pile from this morning.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Looking around my house and examining my day-to-day life, I really don’t feel like I have it all together.  Have you seen the pile of papers on my counter that still needs to be sorted through? And the reading lessons waiting to be completed by my five and six year olds? And phone calls and messages waiting to be returned? And the sink full of dirty dishes? And Pinterest projects waiting to be started? (Thank heavens my kids don’t have Pinterest accounts so they can’t see all the awesome things other moms are doing with their kids!!)

I most definitely do not have it all together. And to be honest, I don’t know if any of us do. (However, if you DO know how to keep it all together all the time, please feel free to share your secret because I would love to know!) And you know what? I’m ok with not having it all together!  The times I feel most stressed out are the times I let the things I “need to do”, the things I feel I must complete in order to be a good mom, wife, friend, fill up my immediate vision and I lose sight of what really matters most: this time in life I have here with my kids.

How can we possibly fit cleaning, laundry, school/learning, exploring, creative outlets, food preparation, reading, nurturing, character building, life skills, socializing, and sleep all in one 24 hour period?  I don’t know about you, but I physically can’t do it all, no matter how much coffee I consume.

Some days are picture-perfect, while (many) other days are filled with the “bumps” and “hiccups” of life. Unexpected injuries (like, hypothetically speaking, someone pushing their little sister out of a bunk bed, resulting in a broken arm and several hours spent at the ER, because that would never happen here… right…) and needs seem to pop up at the most inconvenient times.  Our best laid-out plans and schedules need to pause while we tend to the most important issue of the moment, which often revolves around the little ones in our lives.  (One of the many reasons my bedroom floor is usually covered in clean laundry, patiently waiting to be folded and put away properly.)

Some things in life have got to give and take the back burner while we focus our time and energy on what is most important.    For some of us, the list of things to do seems never ending, growing longer by the day.  And while we should make goals to try to get caught up (eventually), our number one goal should be to be present with our kids.  Right here, right now.  The laundry piles, dirty dishes, e-mail and Facebook messages, school lessons, shopping lists, piles of paperwork will always be there, no matter how hard we try to stay caught up.  Our kids, however, are only here for a brief moment in our lives.

Everything can’t be a priority in life, so I’m learning it is ok to backlog things that aren’t as important as my children.  Don’t be afraid to let the laundry get backed up a little. In fact, I challenge you to embrace the daily “messes” of life! Muddy footprints on the floor; healthy little bodies to run. Dirty dishes in the sink; full tummies. Sleepless nights; comforted babies. Full laundry baskets; even fuller hearts. Happy children; happy homes.

family

Yes, having Mommy Super Glue available for the times I am barely hanging on by a thread, trying to keep it all together, would be really handy.  But going through the trials and experiences of daily life, learning along the way how to function and make our lives work when we feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a day, figuring out what our real priorities in life are, is way more beneficial than a quick-fix.

Because the best things in life take time and are more appreciated when all is said and done. 🙂

Defining MOMents

defining moment

We all have those opportunities in our lives to make decisions that define who we are.  In parenthood, it seems like those moments happen more frequently than they did before we had children.

To discipline or to not discipline, to react or not to react, to speak or not to speak, to correct or not to correct… The list is endless.  What we choose to do in any given situation defines who we are as people and who we are as parents.  Our kids see how we respond in those situations and learn from us, whether good or bad.

Sometimes we successfully glide through those moments, setting the bar high in our expectations of both our kids and ourselves.

Other times- times that seem to come far too often during the trying stages of childhood- we crash and burn with those moments.

We mess up.  We overreact or underreact in a difficult moment.  We lose our patience and take out our frustration of the moment on those we love the most. We realize that we really do not have it all together all the time.

But those bad moments don’t have to define who we are indefinitely.  There is always the option to change the way we respond.  Our response to the hardships of today do not mean we have to respond the same way to the hardships of tomorrow.  The beauty of being human is that we all mess up and we all have the ability to change for the better.

Be encouraged in knowing that you are equipped with all of the skills and talents needed to raise your kids.  Kids are extremely forgiving, even when we find it hard to forgive ourselves after making a poor parenting decision.  definition for you.

Don’t let the mistakes of today define who you are tomorrow.  Let the moments that define you be the moments in which you grow into a better mom, wife, person, because those are the moments that really matter. ❤