I drive around in a gray Honda because it lets me pack a handful of screaming kids in under five seconds and roll out of the carpool line feeling like a boss.
I wear my skinny jeans not because it’s the new fad, but because they’re the only pants that hold in my stretched-out belly and my parted abs, courtesy of three pregnancies.
I part my hair to the side regardless of the internet deciding it’s not in style because it’s just the way it happened to fall in the morning.
I say many mom jokes because I am constantly watching cheesy kid shows, which have officially skewed my humor. Many times, I catch myself humming some Coco Melon tunes because my kids dictate what songs we hear, and I’ll be darned, but they have some catchy melodies.
According to society, I am a walking cliché of a mom . . . and I love it.
When I spend most of my days saying things that usually merit the response, “You’re such a mom,” I smile proudly saying, “I sure am!” I am a lucky mom to three kids who have undeniably made me a better person: no cliché about it.
Even though I’m not a perfect mother in any way shape or form and I have parenting moments that fill me with guilt, I wear my mom badge proudly and try to be the best role model for them. I take in each lesson they teach me, even on the days when I feel like throwing in the towel, curling up into a ball, and closing my eyes until the next day comes.
Sometimes I wonder what these lessons are. Is it the pain tolerance I accumulate through excruciating head butts to my nose while they try to give me a kiss? Is it the smell they rub off on me as the day goes on that’s a combination of boogers, sweat, and a variety of foods they’ve eaten? Is it the bags under my eyes created by sleepless nights thanks to a foot on my face? Is it the diaper-changing skills I’ve acquired when my little one is trying to grab the nasty stuff I still can’t believe came out of their tiny body?
Truth is . . . it’s everything. It’s those really big memorable instances when I know in that minute, I am being shaped—for better or for worse.
However, usually, these lessons are comprised of tiny moments that aren’t even noticeable until I really start to reflect on them. It’s those tiny things that each child brings to my life.
My first child, and also my only daughter, taught me what being a mother really means. She taught me what it means to sacrifice willingly, gladly, and without expecting anything in return. She showed me the real meaning behind “learning as you go.” She continues to teach me how to value a good conversation and how important our imagination is. She teaches me not to take life so seriously and that every now and then, we need to stop and smell the roses.
My second child, who happens to have Down Syndrome, taught me to never think you’ve got everything figured out, and it’s OK if you don’t. If I thought I had figured out parenting with my daughter, he made sure to let me know I had not. He’s taught me to really celebrate every milestone, no matter how big or small, and to have patience getting there. He continues to teach me that beauty comes in so many unexpected shapes and sizes.
He teaches me that a smile can always go a long way, and that every now and then, we need to stop and smell the roses.
My last child made me wonder whether or not we were given two arms as a hint that we should only have two kids—kidding (sort of). In all honesty, he taught me to just enjoy the simple things, laugh even when it’s not so funny, and definitely have three kids (being the third, I may be a bit biased). He continues to teach me not to shy away from speaking up. He teaches me there’s always time for a hug, and that every now and then, we need to stop and smell the roses.
I love being a walking cliché of a mom, but I also know it’s only a part of me. My kids are my world, but I want them to know that the world cannot define us with only one word. So, I take the lessons they give me every day and try to use them to mold myself into a better mother and even more so, a better person . . . all while trying to remember that every now and then, we need to stop and smell the roses.