Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Before I Was a Mom, I Was the Best Mom.

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Before I was a Mom, I was the best Mom. Do you know what I mean? I remember a girlfriend of mine, she would tell me stories about the antics of her children- once one cut the other's hair, a big brown chunk missing from the back. Another time she found both in the kitchen covered in flour, the chicken set out for for dinner thrown on the floor. And even though this was one of my dearest friends, I would think to myself (in the way, way back of my mind- the icky, judgmental place) why were they alone for so long? Long enough to cut the other's hair, at least. Why were there scissors around, able to be grabbed by little hands? Why were they in the kitchen without you? Why were they climbing on the chairs to get to the counter to reach for the food? I thought these things, and although I never thought she was a bad mother (never ever), in my mind I would always wonder the hows and more so, the whys. Because lord knows when I became a mom, I would never, ever, ever let those things happen on my watch.

So now, here we are. My kids often play by themselves in the playroom, while I cook dinner or use the bathroom, or just sit on the couch away from them and take a moment to be by myself. We have a kids' craft closet within Henry's reach, with a pair of safety scissors inside. Safe, sure. But sharp enough to cut hair during those minutes I'm away from them? You betcha. And the other day, when I was putting groceries away, Charlie managed to climb on top of the kids' table to the counter, where he sat for a moment before I noticed he was there. Certainly enough time to grab flour or raw chicken or whatever else could have been in reach.

Point is, it's sure easy to judge when we're not in it.

I thought about this the other day when I saw an old photo of myself, holding my friend's little one. It's so funny how the years fly by- I can still remember being so young and wondering what it would be like to be a parent, and now I'm a mom of two. I recall talking to Hank- this is what we'll be like when we have kids, this is how it will go. And of course, it's nothing like we imagined!

As I type this, my oldest is at school and my youngest is napping. The hum of the baby monitor next to me is a reminder to finish up quickly so I can move onto work emails before naptime is over. Once Charlie is awake we'll eat lunch and go get Henry, then our afternoon will be a whirlwind of activity until it's time to make dinner. I'm in it. I'm doing it. And of course, all of the things I said I'd never do, well here we are, doing most of them. Parenting is crazy like that, it kind of forces you to take a long look at yourself and the way you do things, and constantly question it all- is this for the best? Is this working? It's been four years now, and the longer I do it, the more I realize that a big dose of kindness and understanding goes a long way, for both myself and for the parents around me, doing their thing too. So a hug to you, mama, and a hug for me. And a hug for my 22-year old self as well, and a tiny reminder in her ear to be kind, because before she knows it, she'll be right here too.

25 comments:

  1. There are so many times Joe and I will be in a restaurant whispering to each other how we'll never allow our kids to act that way. But what do we know about having kids?! We really should stop judging ha!

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    1. Haha! I'm sure you guys are sweet, and besides as a Nanny you have a little more perspective! ;)

      xoxo

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  2. Well said, as usual :) and I can totally relate. I still catch myself doing those judgy little things...sometimes I justify it. Sometimes I catch myself and tell myself to stop. But then I have a moment...yelling at my daughter because she won't stop pulling the dogs ears...and I realize, wait. You don't know better than anyone else. You're doing the same thing you've judged other moms for. Stop. Breathe and collect yourself and be the mom you know you can be. Xo Chelsea play. wash. rinse. repeat.

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    1. Thanks for reading Chelsea- and for this insight! Same page, mama.

      xoxo

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  3. I agree with this 100%. I used to babysit my cousin's girls all the time when they were baby/toddler age a few years ago and I would think similar things to myself when I got to her house. {Holy crap their room is a mess! Why doesn't she ever clean this place? etc.} Of course now I know, the mess I saw was probably just from an hour or so before I got there. Ha. Parenting will absolutely make you readjust your view on so many things. Great post!

    Olivia | Simply Olivia
    simplyoliviablog.blogspot.com

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    1. Right? I couldn't relate more to that. It's so funny how our perspective can really shift.

      Thanks for stopping by, Olivia! <3

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  4. I really love this post. How amazing would it be to get a big dose of kindness and understanding especially in public places? My husband and I have been there and now we are the "well who knows whats going on in that moment?" parents

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  5. Wow, this is me right now. I'm that 22 year old who has the habit of passing judgement on mothers who can't seem to round up their children or watch them "properly". I even find myself turning to my husband very often and saying things like, "Our children will never act like that!" I didn't realize it was a problem until I read this post, so I really appreciate that you wrote it. I need to work on not judging people. Beautiful post! I loved it!

    Best,
    Kaleigh (lemonholidayblog.com)

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    1. Thank you Kaleigh. And don't worry, we've ALL been there (and I'm still there sometimes, it's so easy to judge!). We can all do better! Lots of love and thank you for reading! :)

      xo
      Dani

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  6. Kids are the personification of the angel and the devil. They are so cute to make you happy. However they may annoy you the next second. haha~~

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  7. That photo is brilliant! Our home looks like that at the moment and the kid's not even due for another six weeks - goodness knows what it's going to be like once there's three of us...

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  8. This was so good! And I can totally relate -- I've done the same judgmental things. Even now as a parent it's easy to look at another mama and judge what she is (or isn't) doing. The best thing we can do is smile at each other and say hello. Maybe a conversation will strike, and we can encourage one another in the end.

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  9. Amen sister. 10 months into this journey of parenthood and I've laughed at my previously judgmental pre-mama self so many times when I do things differently than I'd anticipated. Like you said, uou really just don't know til you're IN IT!

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  10. I did this so much before I became a mom. And I continued to do it as a mother of a newborn when I would see crazy toddlers and preschoolers. I probably still do it as the mother of a crazy toddler when I see crazy "big kids" and tweens and teens. We never know it until we are in it- That is so hugely true. I at least try to be gentle now when people without kids offer parenting advice. Those poor dummies don't know what they're in for, so I'll let them remain blissfully unaware with all the answers.

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  11. You nailed it Danielle! I love love love reading your writing. You are just so lovely!

    Aimee Burton

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  12. You have such a cute blog, I love it! I can totally relate to this whole motherhood/parenting gig. I have 3 children under 2 and it is EXHAUSTING! But I also love it and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world :) Can't wait to hear more of your funny-because-its-true tales of motherhood.

    And if you want to see how I handle my brood of 3 under 2 crew, check it out on my blog!
    www.theswansonlife.blogspot.com

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  13. How sweet and how true. Real life is so not what we saw on Stepford Wives. When my daughter was younger (she's turning 16 this year), I would celebrate passing each week successfully without any mishap. Celebrate how we both had survived yet another seven days together :) best wishes to you xoxo

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  14. This is spot on. I remember being young and thinking I had all the answers and what I would do different when I was a mom, and fast-forward to now, with a crazy 15-mo, I know I am now the mom getting the crazy looks when my child is acting ridiculous in public. Oh my how the mighty have fallen haha.

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  15. I am so guilty of this! My baby is only 2 months old, so is pretty easy to take out and about without causing a problem. I see older babies and children screaming and crawling all over the place and think how my son won't be like that. It's not true though, I know that in just a few months I'll have a little terror on my hands!

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  16. I just stumbled upon your blog and have to say, wow! Your voice really comes through in your writing. This post in particular really speaks to me as my best friend just announced that she's pregnant!

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  17. Excellent post! I'm totally IN IT with a toddler and a babe on the way! You really will NEVER understand motherhood until you are living it.

    XO,

    Gina

    www.popcornandpandas.com

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