“Come on, it’s Mothers’ Day. Please? Can you NOT argue?”
(I heard myself say for what felt like the millionth time to my children.)
It was May 8th, 2010 (Mothers’ Day three years earlier) and I was trying with all my might to replace the downward turn of my frown with the upward movement of a smile. I tried to remind myself not to overreact, as my children were all still under the age of 8.
The good news? I recognized an argument-free day might be a tall expectation.
Every Mothers’ Day I tend to reflect on my experience in motherhood, and it is only in hindsight that I’ve noticed how I’ve gotten a little better each year at releasing my preconceived notions and expectations of this undoubtedly challenging job of parenting.
Looking back, it was that Mothers’ Day, five months after our third child was born, in which I felt as though I reached a personal parental breakthrough. Somewhere along my own seven years of “practicing mothering”, I realized that a day in our household without any arguments or a little chaos just wasn’t very realistic (yet?), AND (most importantly) that was okay.
Only a year earlier this thought would have made me panic and internally ask:
WHAT had I done wrong as a parent?
For years I had been frustratingly hunting for some elusive key to magically open a just-as-elusive door to argument-free, stress-less, un-choatic days. Beyond contemplating household peace I also pondered other parenting mysteries like:
- Why can’t my children pick-up after themselves?
- How is it I can’t get my baby and toddler down for a nap
at the same time? Don’t all kids nap?
- Am I signing them up for enough activities? Wait … am I filling their days with too many activities?
I searched far and wide for correct parenting procedures. And each year my quest would take me further away from books and scholarly experts, and closer to reflection – focusing more on my own personal parenting goals and strategies. I began to notice that every parent seemed to have different realities, experiences and expectations – and that maybe… that was alright.
Perhaps “perfect parenting” was more about the self adjustment of my own expectations and gaining confidence that what works for me – works for me? (And not necessarily for others.)
On May 8th, 2010 – A day meant to celebrate mothers – I slowly came to the conclusion (begrudgingly at 1st, and with more certainty as time progressed) that: There is no ONE perfect way to parent.
These days, I still ponder the answers to some big parenting questions. However I now feel a breeze of relief in the understanding that there isn’t just one way to “get the job done”.
This Mothers’ Day I don’t have expectations of an argument-free day. (Although I still maintain hope!) Instead I will celebrate my own survival and growth as a parent surrounded by love (and undoubtedly the occasional sibling argument).
And I will celebrate with confidence.
Yes, this Mothers’ Day – my 10th as a celebrated participant – I have great expectations of myself. I expect to remember my great value, my great contributions, and to remind myself (at least once) confidently that what I do – IS great.
Leave a Comment: How will you be celebrating Mothers’ Day this year? How have your preconceived notions and expectations of the job of mothering changed over the years?
THIS MOTHERS’ DAY
Honor and thank an amazing mom in your life
by donating to the NAMC Mile for Mothers Campaign
Every $5 donation gets the NAMC one foot closer to “walking a mile” and reaching our fundraising goal which underwrites a 35-year-old program that puts mom 1st by supporting her wherever her walk through motherhood takes her.
For every $5 donation you make, you can honor a mom in your life by having her name displayed under shoes on our virtual walk. Your donation also gives you access to a printable Certificate of Honor to give to the mother(s) you honor, letting her know of your donation in her name.