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If life were perfect then I’d wake up flawlessly beautiful, be fully dressed and look amazing before the kids even opened their eyes. I’d have a flawlessly clean house to match my flawlessly beautiful self. I’d cook my family three perfectly healthy meals a day. My children would follow flawlessly perfect schedules and have flawless behavior. I would teach my children everything they’d need to know for life. I’d have tons of awesome crafts and fun things planned filling every second of our day. I’d sew them adorable outfits and make the majority of the decorations around our home. Our family would travel on many wonderfully flawless vacations to beautiful places. My husband and I would have a flawless marriage. We’d never sin or fall short in any area of God’s will for us. We’d always spend smart. We’d always enjoy each moment and never take each other or our children for granted. My other relationships would also be flawless. I’d be the ideal friend, always there when I’m needed without being asked. I’d have a perfectly flawless day every day and get 8+ flawless hours of sleep every night.
Life isn’t perfect.
It’s also not physically possible to obtain perfection. We’re not meant to be perfect. We never will be.
When I was in high school I went to therapy. Judge if you wish but I’m thankful for it! During that time I got to know myself very well (sort of the point of therapy right?). I learned that I have (shocker) high anxiety and that I struggle with over filling my plate. When things get to be too much, I break down as I don’t handle stress well. It was then that I knew I needed to be a stay at home mom. I know MANY women can handle the pressures of being a wife, a mother, and working outside of the home. But I know MYSELF and for my own sanity as well as for the happiness of my family, I knew I wouldn’t be able to juggle both. Thank the Lord I found a man who wanted a wife to stay at home and has been willing to do whatever it takes to make that goal a reality. No joke, our bond and relationship truly developed from this one common goal!!!
Even though I’m a stay at home mom, I STILL have to decide what things can fit on my “plate.” Many people assume stay at home moms have TONS of free time and may even get bored. Um, not me. I promise you I still can’t come close to doing it all. Know why I don’t have a million things pinned on my Pinterest boards? Because I KNOW I’ll never do them! Know why my son started 1/2 day 3 day a week preschool at 2 1/2 years old? Because I KNOW I’m not the best at teaching stuff at home. It’s not my talent.
As a parent I have had to make priorities. I have to pick and choose what things are most important to me for my children to experience. We all may not agree on those priorities. We all have to choose them for ourselves. Priorities are an extremely personal thing and we shouldn’t judge each other based off of what other people may consider important and how that differs from what we consider important.
I had someone tell a story in front of a group of people and stop, mid-story, and say “Emily you’re going to judge me for this.” I wanted to pull a Zach Morris “timeout!” I may have different opinions than other moms. I may do things differently. I try, very hard, to point out on my blog the reasons WHY I do the things I do the way I do them. And I also try, very hard, not to point a finger at anyone who may not agree with what I do or how I do it. Like I said, everyone has their own priorities. I felt offended that someone would even think I’d be judging them. You may formula feed, sleep with your kid every night, never spank, hate scheduling, etc etc etc. It’s YOUR child. It’s about YOUR priorities. It’s okay that mine are different. It doesn’t make mine right or yours wrong or yours right or mine wrong. It’s just different. And as long as your child isn’t directly affecting me or my children in some way (like your kid’s not at my house breaking stuff or teaching my kids to cuss or something) then why would any of your parenting decisions really affect me???
A lot of my blog covers the things that are important to me. It typically covers the items at the top of my parenting priority list. Such as: putting God first, having a healthy marriage, protecting my children and keeping them safe, raising independent children, breastfeeding, travel, giving my children as many fun experiences as possible, creating in them a love for learning and reading, raising them to have manners, be hard working, know life skills, have solid sleep schedules, be disciplined (using spankings when needed), have social skills, etc.
Some things that are SUPER important to other people aren’t as important to me. For example, I don’t really care about how “school smart” my kids are. Neither does Zach. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to be smart, but I grew up very “school smart.” I ALWAYS made good grades. School stuff always came naturally to me and I enjoyed learning. I was “gifted” and while that’s all fine and good…what did any of it get me?!?! I personally hope my children aren’t gifted. It has made my life difficult as I think differently than other people and often have a difficult time relating to them and can feel isolated because other people may not understand my thought processes. I also can’t STAND the term “gifted” and it annoys me to death when parents with young children say they are “gifted.” By the time they start kindergarten majority of kids are at the same level anyway, ya know?
Yes, I read to my children. Yes, we talk about things CONSTANTLY. But I just don’t believe in trying to push academics on them. They will be expected to do their personal best in school, but both Zach and I think being “socially smart” is WAY more valuable. I strive for my children to do well in social settings. Be able to talk to people. Have a personality. Relate to others. Show compassion. Empathize. Use nice manners. Be able to reason. Carry a conversation well. Listen when others speak. All of those things, in my opinion, are more valuable than being able to solve an algebra equation. I don’t think my college diploma would help me get a job (if needed) as much as my personality would. Zach doesn’t do well in his job because of his degree or educational background (although he is actually pretty dang school smart himself…especially for a jock haha), he does well because he can relate to people. The first rule in sales is to sell yourself right? 😉
Another area that I don’t do as well as I “should” is with healthy eating. It’s just not high up on my parenting priority list. I’d LOVE for my children to eat all organic foods. But we simply can’t afford that. I would love for my children to be super healthy eaters. But Zach and I aren’t that healthy. In most areas of my parenting I strive to be the BEST possible parent I CAN BE in that area. I read bible stories, say prayers constantly, talk about Jesus in every opportunity with my kids. I know I’m striving to be my BEST in raising my children in a Christian home. I watch the clock, look for signs of sleepiness, revolve my days around their schedules. I KNOW I’m doing my personal best at allowing my children to get the sleep they need. I fight through breastfeeding issues. I deal with pumping on trips. I never give up even when it’s tough. I’m confident that I’m doing my best with breastfeeding. All of those items are top priority things…healthy eating just isn’t at the top.
Healthy eating is for sure not as low on my priority list as some things (It’s higher than using organic cleaning products and making sure my kids aren’t exposed to those chemicals. It’s also higher than my house being perfectly spotless all the time!) but it’s not as high as others. Growing up, I spent most of my life in a single parent home. I know what it was like for my Mom. When Zach travels there is NO WAY I’m cooking some big full meal for just me and the kids! Heck no! I was a picky eater growing up and my mom will be the first to tell you that she regrets that. I wanted to learn from her in this area and, hopefully, create better eaters in my children. This is an area where Zach and I are better than majority of people (did you know the #1 vegetable children under the age of 5 eat is FRENCH FRIES?!?!) but we aren’t as great as we COULD be. And sometimes I feel guilty over that. It bothers me that we have to TELL Kye to eat his vegetables. That he doesn’t just eat them on his own. But then I have to remember at least he eats every single fruit possible and asks for more. Zach only likes apples. And that’s only if they have peanut butter on them. And I only really like strawberries. And that’s only when they are in a dessert. So our child is doing better than we are…maybe the healthy eating will get even better for Kye’s kids right? I know that eating as healthy as possible isn’t at the top of my personal parenting priority list so I try not to beat myself up over it.
Some of you may read some of my posts and beat yourself up over something I do that you don’t do. Well I read my friends blogs with all their healthy eating and I beat myself up thinking that I don’t give my children the BEST possible nutrition! Like I said, we all fall short of “perfection” or at least what we view as perfection. It’s okay. We all have our priorities and we work our best to achieve the things that are most important to US. When I visited with one of my healthy eating friends, Danielle, I was actually nervous that she would judge me for my less than perfectly healthy eating ways. Of course she didn’t judge me!!! She’s one of my closest friends and how silly of me to think that she would?!?! She, like me, understands that we just have different priorities and that it’s okay to be different. It doesn’t make her way the best or my way wrong 🙂
I’m writing this post because I am preparing to blog about Brittlynn’s introduction to solid foods. Now that I have a second child I have become SO thankful that Zach and I knew our parenting priorities prior to having Kye. If you don’t have a second child yet then you’ll someday realize…with kid #2 you’re like running on autopilot. I don’t have time or energy to be reading 1,000 parenting books or learning how to do something new. I have done with Brittlynn pretty much exactly the same things I did with Kye and pretty much exactly the same way I did them. Thankfully, Zach and I look at Kye and love the results we see from what we did with him from birth. We think we did a pretty good job, so far, in parenting and in achieving the things we want to achieve as parents in relation to our priorities. So we have nothing major to change!
I am a strong believer in parenting with a purpose. If you don’t have goals then you’re just kinda wandering aimlessly, ya know? I try very hard to do things intentionally and to put a lot of thought into the choices I make in relation to my children. I stay at home with them all day so I look at parenting as my full time job. It’s my 9-5 so I want to be the best I can be at it. I don’t have any excuse not to right? When Zach works at his job he wants to be the BEST at Aflac. He wants to win every award and always be #1. There’s no “Best Mom” title or some awesome prizes. But I take it just as seriously. I want to be my personal definition of what a “best mom” would be. I know my “prize” will be taking my last breaths on this earth knowing I did everything in my power to give my children the best possible life. That I’ll be heading to an eternal home in Heaven and that they’ll be there to meet me someday 🙂
If you’ve never thought about your parenting priorities, I urge you to do so. Maybe even write them down. For me, it helps me keep things in perspective. If helps me not to feel overwhelmed with trying to be perfect. It helps remind me that I can let things fall to the bottom and it’s okay. I can’t do it all. I don’t want to do it all! Life is meant to be lived too. It’s meant to be enjoyed and we can’t possibly fully enjoy it if we’re always worried with what we need to “do” or comparing ourselves to what others are doing.
If you have ever felt like I’m judging you or putting down your parenting style, I truly apologize and I honestly do not judge. I truly believe what I’m saying about priorities and finding a balance and I know we all have different paths in life that we’re on! I appreciate learning from other people’s perspectives and enjoy seeing how people do things differently from the way I do them. I learn a LOT from other moms and I hope I help others along their path as well.