I always knew I would be a mom, that was just a given. I grew up playing house, watching TGIF, and fantasizing about my perfect little family. Wasn’t I surprised when I found out that real life problems couldn’t be solved in thirty minutes and the cue of some sappy music.
I thought my life would consist of soccer practice, PTA meetings, and cooking healthy but delicious meals for my well-mannered and perfectly manicured children. My days would be filled flitting from massage appointments to pedicures, and I would always be on time to pick the kids up from their music lessons.
Let us all take a moment of silence to mourn my naiveté.
I’ve been a mother for five years now, and the gravity of it all is now sinking in. I am responsible for the lives of two tiny, needy, and often sticky human beings. Together with my husband, we are charged with the task of molding them into people who generally do not suck. This is not as easy as it sounds. From teaching them the basics of hygiene, to more complex emotions like empathy, our children are constantly watching, evaluating, and mimicking everything we do.
I have found that learning to stifle my knee jerk reactions is one of the hardest, yet most necessary parts of my everyday parenting. This mainly applies to my reactions to moments of anxiety. I’ve suffered with anxiety since I was a teenager, and having children has actually been the best medicine for me.
I don’t want my children to live an overly cautious life where they are afraid to explore and find out for themselves, who they are, what they like to do, and what they want out of life, but at the same time, I worry nonstop.
So, I do my best to let them live without me hovering, but inside I’m an anxious mess. “What if the kids don’t want to play with her at school?”, “What if his cough is more serious than just the common cold?” “Please, please, please do not let my ‘him’ be the weird smelly kid in class.”
Humor has always been a big part of my life, and helps me get through moments of anxiety, sadness, and sometimes complete and utter embarrassment. Every day, I try to show my kids that it is okay to laugh at ourselves, to find humor in even the most awkward of situations, and that it’s perfectly okay to not be perfect.
My children have a pretty cool way of reflecting this point back to me. Whether it’s an announcement at Target that mommy has a tiny mustache in her underwear, or letting their teachers know that mommy’s farts are the loudest, they are constantly keeping me on my toes and teaching me not to take life so seriously.
Being a stay at home mom can be wonderful on the best of days and an absolute nightmare on the worst, but I would have to say that I genuinely enjoy the company of my children. We are far from perfect, but we like to keep life interesting. They are still so young, and we still have so much to learn from each other. I am already impressed with the little people they are becoming.
I live for the moments when we are just spending time together on the couch, conversing with each other, and making each other belly laugh. There is no better sound than my children laughing, even if it is at my own expense.
Kelley lives in Southern California with her husband, two children and dog Milo. Most of her time is spent with her kids as a stay-at-home mother. She enjoys reading, writing, and playing outdoors in her very rare, but immensely appreciated free time.