Motherhood is Full of Something...

Motherhood is full of a lot of things. It's heavy. It's wonderful. It's exhilarating. It's full of shit both literally every day (if not, kindly call your pediatrician) and figuratively on a bad day. Here are a few things I've learned as a mother. Kind of like a public service announcement, if you will. 
1. There is nothing more socially awkward than hanging out with a family who parents differently than you do. Whew. Kids constantly interrupt conversation between mothers enough without constant play intervention from us. But not enough intervention is awful too. Nothing is worse than when another kid makes your child cry and their parent does absolutely nothing about it. Motherhood does require some homogeny to survive whether we want to admit it or not. 
2. Being a mother is really hard and really easy. It's hard because everyone has an opinion and seems to relish dumping it on mothers all around them. Many of those opinions are not shared by the mother, but the shame is still palpable and makes us feel defensive. To me, unless a child is in immediate danger or the mother is actually asking for advice, keep your freaking mouth shut or offer grace and understanding. It's easy because being with your kids and talking with them, living life with them, sharing with them (unless it's expensive chocolate) is really natural and lovely most of the time. And when it's not, it's just because you need a break.
3. Kids are suprisingly human. Meaning, they aren't as moldable as we were led to believe. Yes, we can shape their environment, their exposure to ideology, the imposed consequences to certain behaviors. But that's honestly about it. Their personality, their instincts, their decisions are their own and they start in the womb, dude. It's pretty bad ass, actually. Children cannot be controlled (unless they are being abused) and I find that fascinating, wonderful and at times, infuriating. It takes the pressure off having to make them be anything. They will be whoever they will be. We control ourselves, that's it. I have found that accepting this reality and empowering them to become whoever they are supposed to be is my ultimate goal as a mother.
4. I don't really worry about the future. I know. It's weird. But whenever I find myself spiraling in fear or needing to be in control of things I cannot control, it's because I'm borrowing trouble. "If I let them do this now, how much worse will everything be then?" Eh, let's deal with that then. So, I'm focusing on mothering 7 year old Macy and 1 year old Penny. And frankly, dealing with my own shit.
5. Speaking of, motherhood does not put all your own shit on the back burner. It informs your parenting because you're a person and people have "stuff." This is not because of some failure on our parts. It's on purpose. It's part of releasing control. We can't control them and deal with all our own stuff. Trying to control your children can be a great distraction from addressing our own pain, baggage and lack of direction as adults. Don't let it. It breeds resentment, a lack of confidence on their part and ultimately, doesn't work.
6. Plants seeds. One of the things we do get to shape is their initial exposure to how the world works. Of course, life happens to children too and eventually, they will sift through all the values we teach them and dump some and cherish others. But until that happens, teach your children the mindset you wish to see more in the world. Macy and I talk regularly about the value of all people, tolerance in regard to gender and orientation spectrum, the beauty of all skin colors, ownership of her body, sexuality, taking care of the planet, feeding the poor, honesty, and giving yourself grace. These are things that matter deeply to me. If you want your child to live in a more _________ (insert value here) world, teach them to be that person. I love being able to change the world by teaching my children these values.
7. It's okay. It's okay to not know what to do. It's okay to screw up. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, angry, exhausted. No one should have to raise a child alone. It's not fair to the parent or the child. Lean on your partner if you have one. Call your parents and your in-laws. Talk to other parents. Use a babysitter. Parents are better when we take ownership of our own humanity and accept that we are learning as we go and we have real needs. A healthy household acknowledges that it's not the parent or the child that needs to be taken care of. It's a balance. Parents take care of themselves and their children. It's not a fight to see who wins.
That's all for now. I guess the best thing I can say we give our children is us. Be yourself. It's enough.