So, obviously, I am not a mom. With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I wanted this week’s post to be there for those of you young moms who I know are going through the ringer right now. Having young children, teaching these kids, and likely working at the same time… you ladies are heroes. I decided to bring in someone who I knew could speak into you all 1000x better than I can… MY MOMMA! Please enjoy this amazing post she wrote, full of advice from a mom of a teenager and two 20-somethings who has been where you are before.

Please keep in mind this is coming from the perspective of a mom whose children are no longer young, whose days of sleepless nights (well mostly), explosive diapers, and potty training are long in the past. I don’t profess to be an expert or hold a parenting degree of any kind. I am in fact a mom who really struggled with wanting to be one. A mom who thought motherhood perhaps was too much. I was never the babysitting type, the one who gravitated towards babies, none of that. Yet motherhood ended becoming so much of who I now see myself as. Motherhood is more than raising babies, it is about encouraging other women in your life, stretching out a helping hand. So in light of that, this is one older momma reaching out to all you younger mommas with a little advice.

Perfection is overrated. I don’t care what Instagram, Facebook, or the older lady at the grocery store giving you a nasty look says. Perfection is unattainable and if you always attempt to portray perfection, perhaps you are only passing along the stress of obtaining it to your kids. I get it-I wanted to be that perfect pretty fit fashionista momma who made exercise clothes look like they belonged on the runway. The fact is I was never and will never be any of that. I love a pretty dining table set up for dinner but I learned long ago I would never be able to re-create the magazine look.

Truthfully, your children will be inspired by your lack of perfection because they need to feel like they are capable too. And in the long run, it is your intention that means more to them. Take the time to listen, ask them questions, and go on a hike together.

Take care of yourself. Exercise (for mental and physical health), take a bath, get a pedicure, have a good cry, listen to an inspiring sermon or podcast. Take a nap! It is okay, in fact, it is necessary to take time for yourself. It is not detrimental for your children to see this. It lets them know it is okay to take time for themselves too! We are more patient, less angry, less resentful if everything isn’t always about everyone else. If you are last on your list, guess what? You are telling everyone else that is where you belong.

Don’t cook every meal. You heard me. DON’T COOK EVERY MEAL. I know you may strive to be Joanna Gaines (don’t we all?) but it’s not happening
Order out, have your hubby cook some meals, and as your kids get older encourage them to cook meals too. You aren’t helping anyone by trying to prepare 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. Trust me, no one is giving out special awards. I believe in showing love to my family and friends through my cooking. I love that but it wears on you trying to do much.

Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in family dinners and beautiful yummy food is wonderful. But that meal doesn’t have to always be a spectacular meal, you can have just as much great conversation and laughs over hot dogs or Taco Bell.

Don’t stress the mess. Now, this is really preaching to the choir as I get stressed by messes. However, looking back at how I would clean the tornado of a playroom during nap time only to have it demolished once again a couple of hours later seems ludicrous now. You can be neat and keep things in order but it doesn’t mean you need to dust, vacuum,and mop every single day. If someone judges, ask them to watch your kids for a day and then get yourself a mani-pedi. By the time you return, they will have a new perspective.

Pay for a babysitter. Work that into your budget. I will be honest, I rarely had help. Let’s just say it was so rare it was never. I am sure that I would have been way less stressed and a whole lot more me if I would have allowed myself breaks sometimes. Sometimes we need to have time apart, even from our children, to recognize how valuable they truly are to us.

Have fun. I always say when my kids were little when things were stressful that I either had to laugh or cry. Most of the time I chose to laugh. Be silly. Sing songs at the top of the lungs. Play those board games. Spend too much on a Disney trip. Grab some soft serve. Make those moments last in your memories forever. My children remember those moments more than they remember any gift I bought them.

There’s so much more I could say but I want to leave you with this. Give yourself a pat on the back, you are a great mom. You feed your children (Ramen is still feeding), you love them, you read that fifth book (sometimes anyway), you wipe their noses and hug them when they fall. You are enraged when someone hurts them and you, more often than not, put their needs before yours. There is nothing more powerful than a mother’s prayers for her children. You are their nurse, teacher, encourager, cheerleader, coach, cook, and they think you hung the moon and the stars (enjoy it when they are young lol). You are pretty fantastic, not perfect, but hey perfect is boring. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you young moms! Give those little ones an extra hug or a kiss today because although this time can be so challenging-you will one day wish for one of these days back.

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