The other morning I was at the dentist office with my daughter, and I was feeling blessed in that moment because I wasn't stressed or worried like I once would've been during appointments like these. A young mother walked in along with her son and her own mother. After being told that her insurance expired, I saw how she instantly became lost and stressed by turning to her mother for advice on the situation. In that moment all I wanted was to pull her aside and tell her that it will get better.. It will get easier.
I'm a young mother.
I had my oldest daughter when I was 19 years old - right after high school. I had no idea how to be a parent because I never thought that kids would be in my future. That's the thing about becoming a parent so young, you never expect it to be you. You never expect to be the one who gets pregnant after high school and staring parenthood straight in the face. It happened to me though, and no I wouldn't change a thing about my life, but there are a lot of things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self.
I had a lot of challenges to face within myself as a young mother.
The big challenge I faced every day was how to look like I had my life together. How to come off as a perfect parent. I was consumed by this perfect picture in my head of how the perfect parent was supposed to look. Do you see what my problem was? I was trying too hard to look like the perfect parent, and I wasn't trying hard enough to actually be the perfect parent.
Now, I don't think that I was a bad parent in the beginning but I don't think I was ever present with my children. I was miserable constantly taking pictures just to gain approval of a life I never felt like I was living - it was just passing by.
I was being unfair to my children, I know that now.
I was selfish then.
At the time - proving myself to the people around me was the thing that stayed constant in my life. From learning how to take care of myself to learning how to take care of 2 people - the only thing that didn't change was my self-esteem, and how I needed approval from others to validate my life. You know how crazy that sounds? Super crazy. We don't need approval from others to validate our own lives. It took me awhile to see this, but there was a point where I saw that everyone was going on with their own lives without seeing me at all. No one was ever paying attention to how I was becoming a parent when they were busy trying to grow up, too.
There are times where I still feel like I'm trying to prove myself.
I find myself wanting to be friends with the parents at my children's school, so naturally I think that they won't like me if I'm not coming off as a good parent.. but as soon as I see myself being distant from the parent I've grown to be, I just stop trying to prove to be someone I'm not.
I'm not a bad parent.
I'm not the perfect parent either.
I'm the type of parent who just gives it their all every day and hopes that's enough.
So, if I could've reached out to that young mom the other day I would've told her how I've been there. I've been lost, scared, and stressed. I've been the parent who turns to her older relatives for constant help. I've been the parent trying to give the best to my children, but not knowing exactly how to do it. We all make mistakes. Our mistakes help us grow into a better person, and they especially help us grow into a more understanding parent. It'll get easier. You'll find your way by learning from this moment. There will be more moments like this one, too.. and it'll be okay.
I don't think it matters how old we are.
We all face challenges within ourselves as parents, especially when there are a million people telling us how to parent. It's important to know that it's okay to make mistakes, or not try everything you see on Pinterest. As long as your present and doing the best you can for your children then I think you're doing just fine.
Don't try to prove yourself to others.
Just do good for you.
Be better for your children.