Hi, I’m Sarah.
I once had a long time friend’s wife tell me, “I should hang out with you more, you’re not a judge-y mom.” My first reaction was to be offended because my perception of her statement was that I didn’t care–that I didn’t care what my kids ate, how much screen time they had, or how many activities they were signed up for during the week. Quickly, I had to curb my self-induced mom shame and realize what she gave me was a compliment. What she really saw was that I didn’t care about my son licking up and down the side of the pool during swim lessons; I didn’t care if my daughter dressed herself for the day and looked like Peppa Pig and Elsa fused into one entity; or that my house looks like raccoons barreled through in the middle of the night looking for food.
What she saw was a safe place to be the mom she wanted to be–free of criticism.
I am a stay at home mom of three children 4 years and younger. The statement that I get the most when people see me with my entourage is, “I don’t know how you do it” or “you have your hands full.” But this non-judge-y mom that I speak of above is what I have learned to be my truth. It is how I live in each day with my three small children and have mostly happy, fun filled days. Notice, I said mostly and that I didn’t say it was easy.
When I first became a mom everything was so new and overwhelming that of course, the first place that you look to learn are the moms around you (or the moms on the internet). I continued to do this after adding each new little to our family because as you add in a new child, motherhood becomes different. I didn’t realize what was happening was that I was setting unrealistic expectations for me as a mother. Inducing panic on myself because someone else had their kid in dance for two years before I had even thought about signing my child, of the same age, up for an activity–that I wasn’t providing well rounded experiences for my kids.
What has taken me close to four years to learn is that we all put different emphases on what we find valuable in our children’s experiences growing up. Whether those things are the food we put in their mouths, the activities we sign them up for, or not letting your three year old lick the side of the pool during swim lessons. But, if you were to ask me how to get to mostly happy-fun-filled days, or even survive some days, with three small children it would be to do it differently and be ok doing it differently than the mom sitting next you.
***Sarah is a stay at home mom of three adorable, precocious children ages 4 years or younger. She’s also my sister-in-law and brightens everyone’s day with her laughter. Plus, she has a talent for crafts, pottery, and making killer brownies. Stay tuned for more guest bloggers this month, as I highlight wonderful women navigating authentic, self-compassionate motherhood***
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