You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else….

Amber_guestAmber is a stay-at-home mom to a wonderfully unique, special needs little boy that is now three years old. Continuously struggling with finding both of their places in this world, she pours her heart out in her blog about navigating parenting while openly sharing all her triumphs and failures as a mother. She stands firm in her belief that “Love is All You Need” to be a great mom and endlessly promoting non-judgmental parenting. She can be found bumbling her way through motherhood at “Normal” is the New Boring, a blog where she posts too many some e-cards and spends entirely too much time overanalyzing!

It has been said that parenting does not come with a manual. I would like to beg to differ with that simplistic fact, if I may. I believe that it comes with many, [too] many manuals penned by countless professionals with varying degrees of capabilities. There are books that tell you how to raise a garden-variety child to be a successful adult, novels involving the upbringing of a child of a spirited nature, and nearly thousands upon thousands of websites created solely for the purpose of educating you on the care and feeding of your brand-new offspring.

It is, in my humble opinion, where the brainwashing of the need to be a “perfect mother” officially begins.

Sitting home, not even showing yet, we pour over these parenting books with a voracity that can only be understood by a woman that is about to depart into the great unknown of parenthood. We study pictures of perfect moms snuggling up with tiny, sweet babies and determine what kind of parent we want to be. We decide that we will never yell, certainly never cry, and never become overwhelmed because we are learning every trick beforehand. We read these books like the Bible, until the pages are creased and the binding is worn, and we dream of what our families will be, of the holidays by the fire, and the bedtime stories that we will tell. We are fully prepared.

And then the reality comes crashing in like a 50 foot Tsunami hitting the beach during a Tropical Storm.

What they fail to mention in those books, so lovingly and well written, is that being a mom is a 24-hours-a-day-365-days-a-year job. There is no time off, no vacation, and rarely enough sleep to go along with the insanity of all of it. Children are not the pretty and perfect photographs that you see on the pages, either. They are messy, they are loud, and they develop these tiny personalities that are almost unrecognizable to us at times.

Parenting is hard work and, often times, a thankless job.

We are not perfect. We can try, and I am sure that most of us do in our own way, but there is no such thing as a “perfect mother”. We are, by nature, not perfect people, and we certainly do not expect perfection from our children yet we beat ourselves up every time that we feel that we have, in some way, failed. We pride ourselves wholeheartedly on not comparing our kids to other children and yet we sit and stare at the homemade Valentine’s Day cards on PInterest and feel overwhelming feelings of inadequacy that other moms can “do it all”…so why are we not as “good” as they are?

Don’t beat yourself up for having different priorities as another mom. Our differences are what make us unique.

If I am honest, I let my child watch too much TV and probably play too many video games. I let him play in the rain and mud and climb on the furniture under a watchful eye. Sometimes, I even let him have desserts for breakfast. Childhood is a brief, shining time in your life and it goes by much too quickly. I want to look back and remember the moments that I gave in over the times that I stood my ground. I have an extraordinarily laid-back approach to parenting and, while it may not be a popular method, it is my way. Stand by who you are as a mom and be proud of that. Focus on your good qualities and make them better instead of seeing where you lack and feeling frustrated.

I believe that the only characteristic of a good mom is a mother that loves with all of her overflowing heart and learns from her numerous and plentiful mistakes. No one has ever learned anything unless they failed a few times, right? Practice makes perfect (or as close to perfect as one can sensibly attain to be). Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and know that you are doing your best every day. Falling down is all part of the process.

  • It is okay to make mistakes
  • It is okay to lose your temper (as long as you apologize)
  • It is okay to fall down
  • It is okay to cry
  • It is okay to be mediocre sometimes
  • It is okay to doubt yourself
  • It is okay to be you
  • It is okay to do what you think is best
  • It is okay to NOT do what you read in the books

If you are a parent that pours over books or writes and reads blogs on the topic of parenting then, to me, that is a powerful indication that you truly are a good mom. No matter what your strengths and weaknesses may be, you are obviously someone that is dedicated enough to spend your free time perfecting your craft, and that is a surefire sign that you are doing everything in your power to be the wonderful mother that you are. Believe in that.

Love is the only thing that truly ever matters. And we are all aware of the main covenant of giving and receiving love in this world, right? That you cannot love anyone else until you love yourself first and foremost.

So, love yourself, because you are a good mom. Good moms are a state of mind, not someone pinned on a website. Good moms are felt in the heart, not portrayed in movies or on television. Those moments that you witness and compare yourself against are just that…single moments in time. Waking up every day in the chaos that is life with children with a smile on your face and love in your heart is what makes you not only a good mom but a great one.  Just knowing that will bring you the confidence to make it through the hard times as they truly cannot last forever. The only thing that will remain through the ups and downs of parenting is the fact that you love your children. And when we are all old and grey and our children have children of their own, it is all that they will remember about us.

Comments

You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else…. — 6 Comments

  1. So that brought a tear to my eye! Thanks for reminding me that I am doing the best job I can!!!

    • Thank you! I think it’s something that we all need to hear every so often. Thank you for reading, it means the world to me!

    • Thank you love! I stumbled upon her blog because I love her graphic (that I found on Google Image Search)…I thought it was awesome when I saw you were a guest poster! 🙂