The mom I am vs. the mom I (thought) I wanted to be

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Since I was a small child, I always knew I wanted to be a mom. It was a dream of mine that I whole-heartedly anticipated. But until I had children of my own, my poor younger brother would do. I mothered him like he was my own (which he thoroughly despised) and thus I began plotting my future career.

Fast-forward 25 years and I’m living my dream. As a mother to two small boys, my days are filled with adventure and, well, my nights are too. The images of a stepford-type #momlife that once occupied my mind have been exchanged for the stark reality of a messy house, piles of laundry on the couch, unpleasant smells and half dressed children that have no concept of personal space.

For some reason, I thought becoming a mom was really going to change things. Don’t get me wrong, it most certainly has flipped my world upside down, but not in the areas I’d hoped. Like, organization and tidiness or routine and discipline. I was never strong in those skills before having babies, but I had in my mind that once kids came along, it would all click. I would finally have it together. I’d done my homework by way of blog reading, Pinterest scrolling and magazine flipping and it seemed like a perfectly reasonable expectation. Plus, I had many friends with multiple children ahead of me who all seemed to have it figured out. But the truth is, I was only setting myself up for big disappointment.

Once the bliss of becoming a mother and the newborn haze finally settled, my “normal” way of life reared its ugly head. I couldn’t keep up with the expectations I had set for myself as a mother. The harder I tried, the deeper downward I spiraled. In fact, it almost seemed as if being a mom was reinforcing to me the places in my life where I considered myself to be lacking. I put myself down a lot in my head and found myself almost constantly apologizing to others for the dishes in the sink, toys strewn across the living room floor or for being late, again!

imageedit_1_3290775541Then one day, I had a realization.

My home will never be featured in a lifestyle magazine for its artsy décor and clever organization. No one will dock my pay because we are consistently 5 minutes late to gymnastics. My children will not suffer because their dinnertime varies each evening. And although they may not be neatly folded in their dressers, my kids will never go without clean clothes. It may not look how I always imaged it would, but everything gets done. And more importantly, my kids are healthy, happy and actually enjoy our life together – so I should too!

After freeing myself from the chains of living my picture perfect mom life, I was able to see how my somewhat laissez fair approach to life actually benefitted my family. We’re unscheduled, meaning we’re flexible and up for about anything at anytime. We fly by the seat of our pants, which makes us free to join dad last minute on a road trip. We have baskets of toys in every room of our house, so creativity and fun are always nearby. We have no routine, which fills everyday with anticipation and new adventure.

Looking back, I now see that motherhood is so much better than I imagined. When I see my life – my mothering – for what it really is, I have much to be proud of. The fact of the matter is that I’m doing my best, we all are, and that sure beats any idea of what I thought my motherhood journey should be.

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Emily Bice grew up in a small, Ohio farming community west of Columbus. It wasn't until she met her college sweetheart and future husband that her mind was opened to living elsewhere. They say love makes you do crazy things which lead Emily and her Texan husband to living in Central America for two years. After much adventure and traveling, she ended up back in Columbus where the real adventure began: motherhood. She is the mom of two young boys and an infant daughter and wife to the ultimate man's man. She's living her dream as a stay at home mom but will be the first to admit that she is far from having it all figured out. Her hardest parenting moments are typically around nap time and bedtime and after particularly rough episodes she can be found online shopping. In a former chapter of life, Emily worked in non-profit raising funds and awareness for important causes. Today, she spends her time playing and snuggling with her three children, traveling to and from her husband's lacrosse company's events and socializing with friends and family. When she has any free time, she usually wastes it trying to figure out what to do.