1. Your house is not a reflection of your parenting skills. You know what I’m talking about. It’s 2:28 in the afternoon and there’s a knock on your door and your house isn’t perfect. Open the door. Welcome your friend in. Don’t apologize for whatever it looks like in your home. Show them you’re real. And remember your house isn’t a reflection of your parenting skills. It’s just a house – big, small, neat, cluttered, tidy, organized, whatever – that doesn’t matter. What matters is you – mothering, teaching, and loving your kids.
2. Sometimes you just need to read the same book over and over again. Or teach the same truth over and over again. Or deal with the same discipline issue. Or wash the dishes (ha) again. Parenting involves a great deal of repetition. And sometimes the repetition is needed. For instance? The book reading? Kids need to hear the same one again – they recognize the nuances in the story and it’s how the learn. And you? You can add that book to your books known by memory. And discipline stuff? Well it takes work. Don’t give up. Just keep going.
3. Melt downs in the store happen. Just the other day while I was at Target I observed the pinnacle of child meltdowns happen. Screaming, tantrum throwing, and the whole shebang wrapped up in what appeared to be a spitfire of a four year old. And the mom? Gritting her teeth, moving calmly, putting the massive cart away, and buckling the child in. All I could think was you go mom – keep your head high. You all know they happen, guys. When they do, don’t judge. Encourage.
4. You will be tired. Want me to explain this one? Probably not. Grab your coffee or chai tea or energy drink or green drink or whatever you need and rock on mom. You can do this.
5. Some days will be tedious. Other days normal. Other days challenging. Other days amazing. Motherhood is like a rollercoaster rides of days. And often those feelings can happen in the midst of the normal day. You may start out feeling like you’re the queen of motherhood only to have the rug pulled out from underneath you at 8:34 am and you’re ready to call in back up. Just like your house doesn’t define you your days don’t define. It’s the constant movement that matters. And loving your kids.
6. Kids get sick. This. Especially for you new moms out there. Our kids get sick. It just happens and when it does we just deal with it. I’m still telling you though – it’s an art to deal with a vomiting no aim two year old. Or to stay up all night with one with an ear ache. Or to sit in a doctor’s office and fight for diagnosis. Kids get sick. Not the fun part of parenting.
7. Less things equals less stress. The more you have the more you have to manage. The busier you are the more you will feel like you are racing around running on empty. Clearing out the clutter is one of the best things to do – constantly get rid of stuff. And it teaches our kids to not get sucked into the more is better conundrum of life.
8. You’ll make mistakes. Like me. I published this post originally without a number eight (that’s what I get for not checking the order). But you know what? Mistakes happen. They don’t define us. We can learn from them, move on, and work to do better next time. Perfection doesn’t happen. Real does. 🙂
9. Laundry will never be done. Yeah. It will be on the list, but as we all know the 18 seconds of not having a piece of dirty clothes in the laundry basket is short lived. Put laundry on the breathing list – the things to do that are just a normal needed part of life. And celebrate those 18 seconds when the laundry is done. That’s good too.
10. Get down on their level. Look them in the eye when they talk to you. Learn to love what they love. It’s easy in this fast pace tweet it instagram it facebook it racing world to lose the art of looking and communicating with those we love directly. Intentionally cultivate moments in your life where the social noise is quiet so that you and your kids can have space within the busy.
11. Sippy cups leak. Toys break. Those things don’t matter. Those things in life aren’t what you’re going to remember at the end of your days. I think I remember a couple of my toys from childhood – my Mr. Owl Math Fact Calculator, a Barbie that had on a glitzy gold outfit, a lego set, and a keyboard. You know what I do remember? Going to the lake and fishing with my parents. Seeing the Ice Palace on a cold Minnesota winter morning. Playing Skipbo with my family. Riding bikes. Racing in the backyard. Simple little things.
12. Don’t worry about savoring every single moment. Give yourself grace, really. Going back to the kids being sick point – there are simply times in life where the little moments aren’t really the best. Don’t stress about that. Instead be grateful for the moments tucked within the normal. So often we don’t realy expect them – they’re the you’re the best mom moments after you cut the pbj into triangles and get them a glass of milk. Moments matter, but not all moments need to be savored. Make it a habit to record the good so that you can remember.
13. There is no supermom. There is only the real mom. And the real mom is brace, tenacious, funny, crazy, excited, tired, giving, crying, hoping, loving, challenging, working, worn out, loving life, loving those kids, and amazing. Real moms are amazing. Normal moms are amazing. You, the mom who loves and gives and cares for her kids, are fabulous simply because you are mom. Remember, just like I’m writing about in my book – being a mom is enough.
Thirteen Mom Truths. What would you add?
All photographs used by permission and credited to Hannah Nicole.
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.
This post is absolutely beautiful! Thank you! I always find your posts delightful and this is another great one that captures the messy grace of being a mother. Love the 18 seconds of being the conqueror of laundry because that’s seriously how long it lasts. #11 is my favorite – profound and true!
I love them all, but especially #11. One of my most memorable things from childhood is a dirt wall in my friend’s backyard where we would spend hours carving roads with old spoons.
I am a faithful reader and your posts seem to ALWAYS come right when I need them. So thanks again! Always inspiring, always relatable, always honest, and always beautiful.
Words to touch my mind and my heart this Friday afternoon! Thank you for sharing them.
I think I’d add this: There’s not always one right answer. Be informed, think about it, and then make a choice… without agonizing. There are lots of good ways to raise a healthy, happy kid and the longer you parent, the more confident you’ll get with making those choices. And it’s OK if your friends/coworkers/fellow preschool parents make different choices.
I like this a lot!
This is SO true…we only know what we know…. and sometimes we make decisions that seem right in the moment but then as you learn and grow, you develop a different strategy or decide to do things differently. I have 5 boys and even within my own house, I choose to do things differently for one than for the other…and the way I parent often looks VERYdifferent than the way others in my community parent. What I know is that I am doing the best I can in each moment of every day and that’s truly all that I can expect from myself.
Thanks so much. And thank YOU for reminding me of the truth again. With joy.
Jaime – I absolutely love this. I’m going to share your words on my facebook page. Beautiful.
Loved it! Thanks 🙂
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I really enjoy your blog! I would add: sometimes or maybe even on a regular basis, your kids may be mean or unkind. This does not reflect the parent you are. Even if you trying your best to be loving to your children, there will always be “that child” that chooses to not be nice.
You could have made #8 that you’ll forget things!
Always praying so hard!!!!!
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
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And your fame spreads even farther!
Praying in Seattle as always!
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
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Absolutely Loving Your Blog, thanks for sharing.
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I think I was married a couple of years before I realized that everyone’s house really was as messy as mine. We all just hide it from each other. I intentionally don’t make my house spotless when I have company now because I want people to feel at home, because my house is lived in.
When I see a mom dealing with a kid having a tantrum in a store, I want so badly to encourage her, because I’ve been there. I’m a little bit scared of doing anything besides a friendly look, though. Will she be offended if I say something, like “You’re a good mama.” or “You’re doing a great job.”?
I think a real mom IS a supermom.
Growing up, my mom was what is now called a, “Stay at home mom.” She got us going in the morning, and was there when we came home from school. Later in life when we were more self sufficient (middle school) she took her love of reading and became a librarian. Good for her to follow her bliss (or was it just to get away from us kids?!?!)
Thanks for a great post. I am going to share it with some special mom-friends of mine!
Thank you, Paul.
I appreciate it. (This, by the way, is my first night with my site moved onto wordpress….quite exciting for me)
Have a fabulous night.
Gotta love WordPress:-) I know you have support in place, but if you have any questions, I am happy to help out!
Yes, thank you. Right now, now we’re working to get hosting that can handle my site. Always an adventure! 🙂
Found the comments!
Am here praying!
Psalms 27:1, 4-5 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?…One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
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wonderful truths. number 7 has proven so true for me. The more I simplify, the more peace. these are all great!
I will be reading this list again.
At some point you will want to wring your kids neck! It’s horrible to say but they push us to the breaking point and this is normal. The best advice i ever got was put the baby in the crib (or any safe place) and take a time out to gather yourself and breathe. This too shall pass.
Oh, I just found this from a friend’s Facebook page, and it’s spot-on. I love it! #6 is especially encouraging to me right now, as I feel like I have spent the majority of the weekend praying my kids don’t get the flu. Yuck! Thanks for sharing your encouraging words.
LOVED EVERYTHING about this article!
You managed to touch practically every single struggle or pressure we Moms go through or judge ourselves on. Thank you for sharing. I will RT!
I would have to add, that it is o.k. to not get our to do list done. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Some of my favorite times with my kids were when I ditched a couple of things on my list of things to get done just to eat a picnic lunch at the local park with my kids. It was o’k’ that the clothes didn’t make it to the cleaners till the next day. Or when my son came in the house while I was cleaning, and asked me to explore the creek with him. We had a great time catching crawdads and the house work was still there when we got back.
Praying will keep you sane. The grace of knowing that you are not alone in your struggles will give you strength. Knowing that God is right there to give you all that you need to survive the day (or just a moment) is essential to us real moms.
Maybe someone should tell my husband these. 13 reasons why your wife isn’t the fat lazy slob you think she is. Also 13 reasons why things you think are a huge deal really are not.
I love them all but especially #10- I think “getting down on their level” is overlooked too often! My son has really gotten into matchbox cars lately and over the weekend he came running into me from his playroom where he was happily entertaining himself , led me into his playroom and enthusiastically instructed me to quote “sit down mama” so I could watch this production he had prepared where he planned to “race” his cars down a slide… Matchbox cars are normally one of the last things I would find entertaining but because he loves them, and asked me to play with him, I stopped what I was doing, sat down on the floor and showed genuine interest… Too soon he won’t be interested in having me involved in his activities so I plan to take as many opportunities as possible to share his interests! Great blog! Thanks!