Remember in school when you needed permission slips? I was thinking about giving myself one now, as an adult and a parent. A little slip of paper on which I would simply write, “I give myself permission.” I’d tape it onto the bathroom mirror, inside the kitchen cabinet, on the dashboard, to the side of the coffee table, or over the bed. I’d put this unencumbered message where I could see it regularly and remember to drop my baggage and give myself permission to be the parent I want to be.
We read the blogs. The ones that tell us to put down our phones and be present. The ones that tell us to pick up our scissors and make crafts. The ones that tell us to wear the baby all day and all night. The ones that tell us to be firm but fair with the boy. The ones that tell us to feed organic everything to the girl. The ones that tell us to do more and the ones that tell us to do less.
We read the books. The ones that give us five steps to better sleep. The ones that give us ten steps to healthier living. The ones that give us three easy steps to ending the never-ending tantrums. The ones that give us six simple steps to solving all our parenting disagreements with our spouses forever.
We listen to the other parents talk at the playground, gossip at music classes, whisper in line at school, and vent during nights out together. We hear them question their own parents, themselves, each other, and every parent they’ve ever encountered.
We take it all in, and we decide who we are going to be as parents.
But we forget that parenting isn’t one choice you make when that new person is handed over to you. Parenting is a series of choices you make all day, every day for the rest of that new person’s life. And the beauty of it is that you can be inconsistent in what you choose so long as you are being consistent in who you are and why you are making your choices.
ALL moms are super moms. It’s an incredible job with tremendous responsibility. In this virtual age, though, we get to see how all the other super moms are doing it, and we feel pressure, from other moms and ourselves, to do it all those ways too! We see it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and in real life. Whether or not the other super mom is trying to show off and make you feel inferior is irrelevant. Her example is there, and you have to decide if you’re going to follow it or not.
You cannot be every type of super mom every moment of the day. Hear me? You CANNOT be every type of super mom! It’s time to give yourself permission to be whatever type of super mom the moment, your heart, and your child needs.
I give myself permission to be inconsistent.
I give myself permission to be a mom who makes homemade baby food.
I give myself permission to be a mom who loves to eat pizza right out of the box.
I give myself permission to watch TV all day Monday and do crafts all day Wednesday.
I give myself permission to have a clean house, folded laundry, and a full refrigerator.
I give myself permission to have dust bunnies, fingerprinted windows, and sticky floors.
I give myself permission to enjoy Pinterest and only pin the ideas I look forward to trying.
I give myself permission to lock the bathroom door, so I can pee in peace.
I give myself permission to let them all in to sing and dance for me, so I can, in the girl’s words, have a happy poopy.
I give myself permission to use timeouts sometimes and to raise my voice sometimes.
I give myself permission to throw big parties that stress me out and bring me joy.
I give myself permission to skip the elaborate, homemade Halloween costumes, valentine cards, and Fourth of July outfits.
I give myself permission to not put the girl in princess outfits.
I give myself permission to let the boy play with dolls.
I give myself permission to hold the baby longer than recommended.
I give myself permission to not apologize to anyone for the choices I make for my family.
I give myself permission to be proud of the mother I am and the mother I am becoming.
I give myself permission to be afraid, overwhelmed, scared, and confused…at the same time…more than once a day.
I give myself permission to ask for help and accept it when it’s offered.
I give myself permission to be better, try harder, and do more.
I give myself permission to know when enough is enough.
I give myself permission to cry about, pray over, find joy in, and celebrate my life.
I give myself permission to not have an effing clue what I’m doing, even after three babies.
I give myself permission to get on my parenting soapbox every now and then because, dammit, I’ve had three babies.
Ladies! Relax, breathe, and give yourself permission! There is so much stress in being a mother, but there’s so much wonder, freedom, and strength in it too. Defeating the daily chaos. Slaying the endless chores, errands, plans, and projects. Raising beautiful beings from the ashes of your childless life. You are the master of your domain! The hero of your story! How remarkable is that? Don’t let the weight of choosing what type of parent you are crush all that glory. You don’t have to be just the crunchy mom, the hippy mom, the modern mom, the attached mom, the drunk mom…you can be all the moms some of the time! But you can’t be all of the moms all of the time.
Get out a slip of paper, and give yourself permission.
Everyday. Again and again and again.