Okay, real talk… when I was pregnant with my littles, I had this vision in my head of what being a mother “should” look like. I put that in quotations because I now realize how unrealistic my “should” vision actually was. With social media being as prevalent as it is, we are now surrounded with unrealistic expectations and an unnecessary pressure to seize perfection. Additionally, there is this unspoken expectation to have it all together. Disclosure: imperfection is natural, and no one has it all together. During the first year of my boys’ life I held on to this vision of perfection. “I can’t mess this up,” I continually thought. “I have to be a perfect mother.” Each day I sanitized bottles thousands of times, made sure I was paying equal attention to each baby, and at the end of the day I cleaned up all of the bottles sitting around and toys laying on the floor. I had it in my mind that this need for perfection was my key to happy parenting. New flash: it wasn’t.
My little guys are nineteen months old now and I am far from perfect, but I am so glad to be embracing it now. As the boys grew out of their newborn stage, the drive to be perfect started slipping away because, well, life with infants is messy. At first, I struggled on days when I couldn’t keep up with the seemingly endless loads of laundry, unwashed bottles, and a (what I thought was) messy home. I felt that I was inadequate and falling behind in this expectation I had built in my head. One day it just clicked with me…I let go. Now I spend my days focusing on my toddlers and playing with them. We go on adventures to the park, we meet for play dates, and sometimes we just go on car rides to get out of the house. I cherish these moments because they’re changing every day and I am so lucky to be there for it. I consistently have toys scattered throughout my house, a sink full of sippy cups and suction plates, and laundry baskets filled with dirt-stained toddler clothes… but I am working to embrace the mess. I’ve realized it’s so short-term and I never remember the moments when I am cleaning. I do remember the moments I spend with my little guys.
So, what is happiness when it comes to motherhood? It’s the sweet sound of toddler feet running against our wooden floors throughout our home. The sounds of toddler belly laughs when their doggy is licking their tiny toes or faces. The excitement a mother feels when her baby gets his first tooth or learns to crawl. It’s the interest and excitement my boys continually show when I read them “Pout Pout Fish” for the twelfth time in a day. The splashing in the tub during bath time and watching my two children start to babble and play together (and steal each other’s toys). It’s watching all of the new discoveries my boys are making – their new obsession with kicking soccer balls and running at the park. Happiness is letting go of expectations and just living.
Obviously, we still have to clean every now and then and the laundry still exists. I’ve just learned that it’s a minor thing that will get done when I get to it, even if it’s a day later. It’s okay to not have it all together. It’s okay to let go of things and accept that life is a never-ending to-do list. It’s okay to embrace the imperfection that is life. Our children are only little for such a short time and nothing compares to this magical season in life. Keep mommin’ on because you got this!