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May 10, 2014

10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Mother's Day

My young mother, my sister and me.

1.      It's not about you. It takes a while to accept that looking chic, getting the rest we want, having friends, doing grownup fun things, and keeping up with the Joneses will have to take a backseat. For like 21 years.
2.      One of these is not like the others. It doesn't matter if they both came from the same womb. It doesn't matter if they look like twins. It may not seem fair to expect more from one than another, but life's not fair. They'll get over it.
3.      Cupcakes aren't worth fighting for. Let me get straight to the point: If 25 people want to fight it out for the title of Room Mom, Band Mom, Team Mom or PTA Mom, let them. It will save you time, money and stress.
4.      Don't jump to conclusions. Sometimes the problems or answers aren't obvious. Not every teacher is picking on your child. Not every bullying situation is one-sided. Sometime we need to play devil's advocate with ourselves.
5.      Laugh. Because crying's messy and anger isn't an option. I thought I was doing well to scream my head off; it meant I wasn't physical with anybody. Words cut just as deep as inappropriate discipline. I wish I would have laughed more even in the terrible moments. Make a conscious choice to choose laughter.
6.      Grades don't matter. Okay, at least until high school. Let them do the best they can do and get them the help they need to keep up with their peers. Other than that, screw homework and for heaven's sake, let them play until the sun goes down.
7.      Vegetables come and go, but donuts make memories. It's cool you don't force them to eat vegetables, but layoff on the healthy food lectures 24/7. If you don't give them sugar and artificial dyes on occasion, they will embarrass you in public when you're not around and the good stuff is.
8.      Let them be babies. Let them cry and pout. Let them be gross, wear mismatched clothes and be forgetful even if it lasts through high school. They'll grow up when they're good and ready.
9.      Ask and you shall receive. Don't be afraid to reach outside your circle and ask for advice. Don't be afraid of bringing outsiders in to help get you get your parenting or life under control. Nobody is judging you. Nobody that matters.
10.  Listen to your heart, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Counseling and therapy and even medication does not make you a failure as a parent. If you feel something isn't right, it will never go away or be outgrown. Deal with it now.


So that's my top ten. At my best, I say "I love you" every day, even when it's hard. At my worst, I wouldn't share that here. 

The most important thing motherhood has taught is that my parents were winging it, too. No matter good or bad, I always knew they loved me. I've forgiven them of any shortcomings, and I respect them for their continuing attempts to fulfill their never-clearly-defined or it's-not-the-same-for-everybody roles. Hopefully, someday, our babies will do that same.

Happy Mother's Day!

Stay balanced,
~Danielle Thorne

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