The best advice you've ever heard about parenting

Do you think being a parent is a tough job? Here is one piece of advice that helps me on those rough days.

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  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Lindsay Ross' blog. It has been republished here with permission.

  • Today was one of those mom days. I was tired. And frustrated. And discouraged. And even the sound of a kid talking to me made my ears want to explode. Yes, I typed that out loud.

  • I just wasn't up for the whole mom gig today.

  • Then while sitting in the splash zone of my 2-year-olds bath, I found myself reading one of two blogs I follow and I was irritated (which has never happened before with that blog) and even more discouraged. Because she had the perfect pictures and the perfect experiences and the perfect words to describe her life.

  • And it made me think of how hyper-aware we are, with this Internet/technology connected world, of what all the other parents are doing. And the adventures they take. And the perfect days they have. And the messes they let their kids make. And the cruises they go on. And the games they all play together. And the huge trophy their ridiculously talented child just won. And the schedule they keep. And the meals they prepare. And the dream jobs they have.

  • But after I tucked my kids into bed, rocked my baby to sleep (and hid in his room for a few minutes), assured my 9-year-old her pinkie would indeed not fall off in the night from severe pain, and my 7-year-old would not starve before breakfast, I sat for a second and thought how lucky my kids are. And how lucky I am to be their mom.

  • They are loved. They are told they are loved. They are shown they are loved.

  • They are fed. They are adored. They have a warm place to sleep, clothes to wear, food to eat. Parents that think about their needs and futures all day long. Extended family that loves them. Books to read. Schools to go to. Great teachers and leaders who love them. Tons and tons of friends. And on and on and on.

  • And then I thought about the best thing I've ever heard (in multiple places) about being a parent. And something I think about nearly every single day. Multiple times.

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  • Your kids are yours for a reason

  • God was intentional about where he placed his children and who their parents would be. And He gave me MY kids. For. A. Reason.

  • So when a neighbor, relative, friend, teacher, parent, stranger tells me my 3-year-old shouldn't have a binkie, I should let my kids "cry it out" to teach themselves to sleep, my kids have anxiety because I don't leave them enough, I spend too much time exercising, I shouldn't let her eat ice cream, I'm too patient, I should never let a child sleep in my bed, I can't believe you let them …., you should be engaged with your child every, single, minute, you shouldn't feed them that kind of food, you hold your babies too much, I think to myself:

  • "That's why they're mine and not yours."

  • And occasionally I actually say it out loud to people who think they need to correct my parenting.

  • Because it's true.

  • My kids are mine. And they need what I have to give. The real me. Not the imitation me. Not the me trying to be like other moms. But the me who can give them what I can give them. And do what I can do. And love them the way no other mom can. Because I am their mom.

  • So momma's everywhere, may we all try a little harder to encourage one another more instead of discourage. And build each other up instead of tear each other down. And recognize we can give our kids something no other mom can. And may we all try a little harder to step up and be the kind of mom WE want to be and know we can be. Not the kind of mom others tell us to be.

  • And may we always remember we all love our kids. And we're all doing the best we can with what we have. And doing what we think is best for OUR children. And what I do may not work for you. And what you do may not work for me. And THAT'S OK!!!

  • Instead of comparing and despairing (I totally just made that up), let us celebrate each other's successes. And remember to celebrate our OWN.

  • You. You, momma, are doing a good job. (I'm shouting that at you) Just keep showing up. Your kids are yours for a reason. Please don't ever, ever forget that.

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Lindsay Ross is a stay-at-home-mom, photographer, and writer at Lindsay Ross Blog. She spends her days keeping little humans alive (and hopefully happy) and her spare time teaching others how to document their every day lives through photos.

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