Motherhood: Acceptance and Perseverance

Motherhood is a balancing act. We’re constantly navigating the extremes of parenthood, finding our place between worry and nonchalance, planning and spontaneity, protecting and letting go. Motherhood is a continual evaluation and renegotiation between accepting change as it comes and persevering when it’s time to push for something better. 
Balancing acceptance and perseverance can be one of the biggest challenges of parenting.  The choice to accept our current reality or persevere for something different presents itself to us countless times a day. How we navigate each choice can either give us peace or turn our world upside down.
Motherhood: Acceptance and Perseverance | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Johannes Plenio}
Choosing Acceptance
Earlier this year, I set a personal goal to get my son out of the house faster. My “Pokey Little Puppy” enjoys leisurely mornings, and his slow pace made leaving for work on time a challenge. I was determined to speed up our mornings. After a couple of weeks of effort, we succeeded in getting ready faster. Success, right? Nope. I was exhausted before I arrived at work, and my son started his day frustrated and cranky. 
Our days began with tension instead of love. I was sacrificing precious “morning moments” with my son to save 10 minutes. It wasn’t worth it. For this season of my life, I’ve accepted that slower paced mornings are my reality. While this acceptance means waking up earlier, it’s a small price to pay for more joyful mornings. 
Pushing for Perseverance
I love my son to the moon and back, but he’s a difficult child for me to parent. In many ways, his active, loud, gregarious personality is the opposite of mine. Just before my son turned three, my relationship with my son hit a proverbial wall. He was a full-fledged toddler who was quick to argue and engage in power struggles, especially with me.
During this time, people were quick to tell me that my son’s behavior was normal. I was tempted to accept the tension between my son and I. But I didn’t like the parent I had become. I was snippy, quick to yell and often lingered too long over my son’s mistakes. Instead of acceptance, I chose to persevere and pushed to improve our relationship. You can read the entire story in my blog post Why I Needed a Parenting Coach, but my choice to persevere transformed who I am as a mom today.
Acceptance in its Different Forms
While we would all love to be a “Super Mom” who never settles for anything less than the best, this quest isn’t realistic. Life is messy and imperfect. Acceptance is often necessary for the sake of our sanity and ability to be content. Most times acceptance comes when we realize that we’re fighting an uphill battle that isn’t benefiting anyone. Acceptance has many different forms, and it morphs as we enter different seasons of our lives.
Acceptance is…
  1. Proudly sporting a tankini at the beach. 
  2. Trading in your car for a minivan (although you swore you never would).
  3. Passing on a job that is too demanding for your already busy mom life.
  4. Cherishing the less than perfect photos that showcase your kid’s personality.
  5. Letting go of the notion that every childhood milestone will be a magical moment. 
  6. Allowing your child to pursue their passions even when they don’t match your own. 
  7. Realizing that your child’s bad behavior doesn’t define you as a mom.
  8. Giving yourself grace in the moments when you’re not the best version of your mom-self.
The Power of Perseverance
The flip side of acceptance is perseverance. Perseverance occurs when you decide to challenge your current status quo. It’s the decision to strive for something better for yourself and/or your kid(s) even if it means sacrificing time and energy. Deciding to persevere is a leap of faith because you never know what the end result will be.
Perseverance is…
  1. Trusting your instincts over others’ recommendations. 
  2. Standing firm when you know it’ll trigger a tantrum. 
  3. Seeing the best in your child even when their personality is not what you expected.
  4. Seizing opportunities to catch up with friends despite inevitable kid interruptions.
  5. Pushing your child to do and be more even when they don’t like you for it. 
  6. Connecting with your partner by talking about topics other than your kid(s). 
  7. Making time for yourself through early morning workouts, late night friend gatherings and mid-day indulgences.  
  8. Ending difficult days with the confidence that today’s trials are shaping you into a better mom. 
Choosing Acceptance and Pushing for Perseverance
The choice between acceptance and perseverance can be an ongoing internal debate. Is it right to accept this situation? Should I persevere for something better? Is it lazy to just accept the way things are? Am I naively hoping for something different? These questions are enough to shake any mom’s confidence. But the reality is that both acceptance and perseverance are needed at different points in our parenting journey.
Boldly accept the stage of parenthood you are in right now. Don’t fight it or wish it away. And when the time comes to persevere, trust your instincts and confidently turn the page to the next chapter!
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