Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It's Your Happily Ever After, Mama

                                      Image provided by Sandia Pantano Imaging and Photography

As mothers, there are moments where we feel like we’re stuck in the early childrearing years of those days of runny noses, crying toddlers, butt wiping, and constant repetition of cartoons, activities, stories, and bedtime rituals. One minute we can’t wait for them to be older and more independent so they won’t need us as much, but then at other times we just want to savor these innocent early childhood days. But when it’s all said and done, it will just seem like it happened in a blink of an eye. These early years will feel like yesterday one moment and forever ago the next.

            We find ourselves lost in the shuffle of carpooling kids, practices, rehearsals, baths, meals, school activities, and play dates. This flow of motherhood seems to overtake our lives at certain points. At different points along the way it can seem like we lose sight of our own interests, our old friends, our own relationship with our spouse, our own career ambitions and goals because we are now on a road directed by our children. Some days we think about how this wasn’t exactly what I envisioned. Then one day the chaos will die down, our children will be grown, and we will catch ourselves trying to identify who we are again. As mothers, the role of momma overtakes every other identity we have ever had. One day they will grow up and even though we are still their mothers, their constant need for us gets smaller, and we are left with rediscovering who we are.  We will survive these early years of child rearing but we won’t be the same person we were before we began the journey. It’ll be this new woman that conquered childrearing, was supermom and superwoman at times, that we will be left with rediscovering at the end of this journey.  No matter our choices, motherhood is each woman’s personal journey from the girl she was to the woman she will become. Along the way there will be bumps in the road but we will survive.

Social Media can leave us with this myth sometimes that parenthood is always happy and wonderful. Social Media creates a clashing world of illusion and reality, but we can’t let the myths of parenthood shape our perceptions and expectations so much that we lose sight of who we are or who our kids are. We want everyone to know we have our happily ever after but real life is not a Disney story.

My oldest daughter is all about the Disney princesses. She loves to dress as one, she claims her daddy is her prince, and at night one of the princess stories is almost always selected for the night's reading. There's some speculation and concern out there about little girls' obsession with the princess culture and the misleading myths it creates, but a question my daughter asked me one night that left me thinking and pondering way past the last happily ever after line was, "Will I live happily ever after, Mommy?" I thought about how even though we know real life is not a Disney story, how does our belief in happily ever after shape our perceptions and expectations when we begin this life of motherhood and marriage.

As little girls we dream of our wedding day, who will be our prince, and how we will live our days out in happiness. I believe happiness is a choice we choose but even so there are challenges that we will all face throughout our lives that will challenge our faith, our love, that very happiness we fight so hard to have. I pray every day that my girls live long, happy lives. I hope they experience falling in love and experience the joy of starting their own families. But I don’t want them to be confused about what it means to live happily ever after.

Happily ever after exists in the moment we gaze into the eyes of the person we love and vow our love to one another. Happily ever after exists in the moment we watch our loved one fall head over heels in love with our child. Happily ever after is in the moments of watching our daughter dance on her daddy's toes and our son call mommy his princess. Happily ever after exists in the moment we are all together laughing and joking around the dinner table. Happily ever after is in the moments in the backyard camped out together around the campfire or under the evening stars. Happily ever after exists in the moments that laughter fills our house. Happily ever after exists in the moments we see our kid hit the ball out of the park, see them dressed for her first dance, and watch our child walk across the stage for graduation. Happily ever after exists in the moments we celebrate the beautiful, successful people our children have become. Happily ever after exists in the moments our children with their children gather in our home. Happily ever after exists in the moments we enjoy the quiet of our spouse's company.

So for every woman out there that’s ever dreamed of happily ever after just remember they are random moments that happen over and over again throughout your life. In between the moments there may be sadness and doubt but hopefully in the end you have lived enough happily ever moments to make your story complete. It’s your story, Mama, write it well.

Do you want to read more about embracing and loving yourself as the mother you are? Today you can get my book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas for $8 plus shipping.
I'm also a part of Chicken Soup for the Soul's The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide and their recent Curvy and Confident and have an overstock I need to sell so  message me at glennbabies@gmail.com for a signed copy for today's special of $12 including shipping payable through paypal or check.
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