Honestly, I’ve only got 10 years of this parenting thing under my belt. But in those short 10 years, I’ve learned that there has been a thing or two that hasn’t exactly gone the way that I planned.
Maybe you’ve noticed, too?
It might be time to face the reality that there are a few things that we simply have to let go, like…
1. That cute little Martha Stewart apron
Yes, I still picture myself with a perfectly pressed Martha Steward apron serving rack of lamb to a table full of perfectly dressed angels who clean their plates. But generally when I wake up from that dream, I find the kids whining…”cereal for dinner, again?”
Yep, it’s at that moment when I remember real life parenting:
~After having 4 kids there is no such thing as a “cute little apron” anymore
~No matter how many times I do the dishes, there is always one more dirty one
~And, yes, Captain Crunch really is a faithful friend.
Maybe you’re like me and it’s time to let go of those Martha Stewart dreams. Don’t worry, the kids won’t die if you serve cereal for dinner and if you go to bed with dishes in the sink, large roaches will not come and carry your house away. (Ask me how I know.) Let it go…
2. Clothing standards
Yes, I was THAT mom. When my girls were babies, we wouldn’t be caught anywhere in public without perfectly matching brand name outfits and coordinating hair bows. Everyone’s hair was neatly brushed and mom NEVER had peanut butter (or some other unknown substance) on her shoulder.
Over the years a few things have, well, changed. I went from wondering how it could possibly be too much to ask that the kids put on two MATCHING shoes to hoping that he shows up for dinner in more than a diaper and a pair of heels.
They are just clothes, right? Let it go…
3. Personal space
This is one thing, I SWORE would never happen in my house. I don’t like to share my bed. Seriously, I can understand why the Waltons always said good night to each other from different rooms, ha ha. A girl needs her space.
Kids invade space. There is no way around it. You’re going to get a sweaty hug, someone will have to sit on your lap AT.ALL.TIMES and that peanut butter on your shoulder, well, there really is no doubt where it came from.
You can kick them out of your bed again… but they will come back with friends.
It’s time to face the truth. We won’t be getting back our personal space until they are gone, and then we will miss terribly those peanut butter smudges under our covers. Let it go…
4. Traditional Toys
Yes, I have boxes of perfectly wonderful Melissa and Doug toys and top of the line Parent’s Choice winners just like you do. I’ve planned and calculated all of the best possible gifts that family could bless us with for each holiday. And none of it has mattered.
They brush aside those $100 sets of legos and exchange them for empty trash cans, boxes, and of course, the good ole’ swivel chair.
Let’s face it. They are NEVER going to play with anything that we paid good money for. Let it go…
5. Happy family pictures
Oh did I not waste years of my life trying to get everyone to look at the camera with a sweet smile and shout, “we’re having a blast”? Yes, yes I did. Years of failure has probably scarred my desire to even have fun on vacation.
But I think I finally got it. Put down the camera. It will be an enjoyable vacation even if there are no super cute shots to go with it. Let it go…
Maybe it was all of those years spent watching too much tv, but I had this crazy notion that children would actually walk calmly from one place to another, carefully getting out of the car and otherwise mind their good manners. Right?
Boy was I wrong. Children have their own definition of normal, consequently, leading to far more ER visits than I had envisioned when I wrote out my “birthing plan.”
Had I only known that my family meetings would leave me with the “bottom,” I’m not sure I would have believed it. Nor would I have believed that boys climb the stairs without actually touching them, putting on underwear beneath your helmet will protect you in battle, and a good story can not be put down for a silly thing like grocery shopping. It’s time to kiss “normal” goodbye. Let it go…
If you aren’t already there, you will be. Like me, one day you will realize that you’re going to have to give up perfect, but in turn you will get amazing.
I can’t imagine that laughs I would have missed while learning how to properly cook and serve the perfect lamb dinner or the hugs I would forget to give while barking out orders for appropriate clothing choices. Yes, I’m letting go… and it has already been so worth it!
No children were harmed in the taping of this episode and mom is still breathing. All photos are of real live events, captured right after mom said, “are you kidding me?”
Disclaimer: This entire post was meant to make you laugh. I have no intention of giving up on healthy food for dinner or trying to help my boys actually walk up the stairs with their feet. The point of this post is simply that “perfect” parenting never really happens anyway. So, why not step back and enjoy the moments?