This Parenting Stuff is Harder than I Thought

I imagined holding hands, wearing matching sundresses and frolicking through a meadow…motherhood. What a cold splash of water to my daydreams. My daughter wears skirts over dresses, cuts her own bangs, thinks I have no style, and doesn’t frolic.

My mini me decided she was her own person. How dare she? Doesn’t she know I grew her? Now I’m learning she has her own personality and my struggle is acceptance: When to fight the battles and when to say OK, be you.

I thought this parenting thing would be a piece of cake, that it would be like a never-ending sleepover, filled with braiding hair, watching movies, and painting each other’s nails. I have had to learn to let go of the idea of who my child was going to be and accept my wild, free spirited girl for who she is.

She pushes every boundary set for her.

I love her tenacity and perseverance, but I’m also exhausted by it. I’m learning how to give this little person the freedom to be her strong-willed self, yet stay within the boundaries of being a good citizen and a respectful family member. It’s a fine line that I fall off of daily. I struggle to not break her spirit or my own during our power struggles.

She is so brave, outgoing and outspoken.

I admire those qualities in her because I am much more reserved, but sometimes that admiration makes me more of a fan than a parent and I have to step back and regroup. Is this really an appropriate place for her to break out in full song and dance mode? Is it OK for her to berate the Starbucks server for mispronouncing my name? I am so afraid of extinguishing her flame that I don’t act at times and it’s a disservice to her.

It’s work to raise good citizens, who are kind and respectful. No one told me how much work, or maybe I never listened, but I know I have grown leaps and bounds fine tuning the balance of parenthood. It might not be a sleepover or skipping through a meadow — it’s better! It’s jumping off a boat into the ocean together, it’s snorkeling, it’s running to the playground, it’s painting or looking through a microscope. It’s so much more than I ever imagined.

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