We have all seen the Luv’s commercials depicting the “first kid” vs. the “second kid”. The first time mom. The exceptionally, overly prepared Mama, fretting and worrying about every germ and sickness imaginable. The franticly organized Mama packing for an outing to the park like she is preparing for a zombie apocalypse. Then, the Mom with a second child. The Mama who haphazardly hands her kid off to a grimy, dirty stranger without a care in the world. The relaxed and lighthearted Mom who tosses a baggie of cheerios and a binkie in her purse as she dashes out the door.
I totally thought I would be that first time mom. I thought I would be uber careful and worry about every little thing and over-pack and over-prepare. I thought I would need to buy stock in Germ-X. I totally thought I would be that mom.
- AM. Not.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I absolutely get anxiety ridden over every decision I make and worry if I am doing a good job or not but we all do that. First time mom or tenth time mom; we all do that. Am I reading to him enough? Do I spend enough time with him? Does he feel loved? Do we pray with him enough? Did I handle that tantrum well? I think we all do that; that’s what makes us good Mamas.
But, it has recently come to my attention that I may have a particularly “laid back” mothering style. As I watch myself mother, and then I observe some of the people around me mother, I do notice some differences. It was undeniable when I received an Amazon shipment from my sister containing a case of Kleenex. It included multiple sizes to include travel size for my purse, and boxes for each room in my house. Details on her reasoning behind this will follow.
Let me start by saying this: I have two main goals as a mother.
- To raise tiny humans that know their Lord and Savior, His grace, His love, His mercy and His word.
- For my tiny humans to feel fiercely, undeniably, awesomely, and unconditionally loved by me.
That’s it. Those are the two things I am focused on as a mother every single day.
This hangs on my bathroom mirror. This is what I see every morning and it serves as my daily reminder.
Let me give you some examples of Mari as a Mama:
First up, pacifier wipes. They’re really and truly a thing. Seriously. Pacifier wipes. Now, if you use them, more power to you. I however, do not use them. I toss his binkies in the dishwasher every couple of weeks and call it a day.
Diaper bags. We made it all of four months with a traditional diaper bag. My husband’s Marvel super hero backpack was quickly converted to diaper bag. A change of clothes, some emergency meds, a couple diapers, some wipes, and some snacks…what else do you need?
Expiration dates. Now this is something I have always been guilty of, even before motherhood. Expiration dates are merely a suggestion. Eating a container of yogurt a couple of days past its expiration date isn’t going to kill me and it isn’t going to kill my tiny human.
My tiny human does everything with me. He is my biggest helper in the kitchen. He loves to bake, vacuum, do laundry, and pack lunches. Yes, having a tiny helper can sometimes make everything take twice as long and a bit messier, but I WANT him there with me. I love that he is involved and enjoys doing those things with me.
Dirt, spit up, and drool. It all washes off. Honestly, most of the time, I forget to put a bib on the tiny human when he eats a meal. When he has the occasional yogurt parfait as we stroll through Sam’s Club, he usually insists on feeding it to himself cause you know, toddler. Yes, he gets super sticky, but to me, its isn’t a big deal. That’s what diaper wipes are for.
Shhhhh. Sometimes we take a bath in the pool. I keep baby wash in the garage and occasionally, when he is done swimming, we scrub a dub dub in the pool. It’s quick, it’s easy, it works, and he loves it.
We do church. There is never a question of whether or not we are going to church on a Sunday morning or a Wednesday night. It is a definite. It is as certain as, “Will Marcus snore tonight?” The answer is always yes. I love that he is so loved there. Those are his people and he is theirs and our church is home.
The 5-second rule is totally a thing in our house.
I love, love, love baby wearing. I wear him when I mow the lawn. I put him in the backpack with a hat, some noise canceling headphones, sunglasses, and a water bottle and we are good to go. If he is feeling super clingy and sitting on the counter just won’t suffice while I am making dinner, I pop him in the sling and cuddle him.
We splash in puddles and play in the rain. It’s good for your soul. Try it.
Pants. When not in public, they are totally optional. We rock a t-shirt and a diaper 90% of the time on the weekend. Tiny human or not. Let’s be honest. No pants = comfort.
We don’t have TV. Wait, wait, wait. Calm down. We have a TV. But, when we walk through Sam’s Club and the Direct TV rep asks us who our cable provider is, we say Netflix. We don’t have cable or a dish or anything like that. We try to have a “movie night” every weekend with popcorn and SOMETHING animated. I mean, hey, I’m not trying to ruin his childhood here.
We have floor picnics, a lot. I would call them carpet picnics if we had carpet. But, we don’t. So, I call them floor picnics.
Now apparently, this one is a big deal. This next one is the one that prompted my sister who is a mother of five and has seen it all, to mail me a lifetime supply of Kleenex. Honestly, I still don’t think it’s that big of a deal. We were face timing and Jack was eating. He had some oatmeal smeared on his face. So, I wiped it off and ate it. If my kid has some stray crumbs on his mouth or a dribble of yogurt stuck to his cheek….I totally wipe it and eat it off my finger. I still don’t think it’s a big deal (insert eye roll here). I literally grew him inside of me. A little of his slobber doesn’t really bother me.
Ultimately, my philosophy is, messes were meant to be made. Kids are washable. Houses are cleanable and the dirty dishes can wait. However, my tiny human cannot wait for me to climb into his tent with him and read “What Am I” for the ten thousandth time.