Teresa Hamilton, a mother of four and author of “It’s Okay: Let’s Get Real About This Thing We Call Parenting,” wrote this guest blog for momaha.
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Life moves so quickly. It’s easy to get lost in the monotonous or crazy moments and forget that the ultimate goal is to enjoy life.
Life causes great plans to change. We must remember that it’s OK to change our focus. It’s OK to change our dreams.
Life is a journey and figuring out the right road to take is just part of the trip.
A little over a year ago, I learned those lessons.
I found myself asking, “how did this happen?”
I vaguely remember my first year of teaching. I was fresh out of college and started dating a co-worker. I had no idea what was in store for my future. A teaching partner joked, “Watch out … one day you’ll wake up and be married with four kids.”
What? I thought that was crazy. There was no way that my life would change that much without recognition of what was happening.
Well, guess what? It happened; and all in the blink of an eye.
I felt like a complete train-wreck. I was 33 — and much too young for a mid-life crisis.
So, what was it? It was life with four kids!
Trying to balance work, the budget, church, exercise, volunteering, kid schedules, laundry, house cleaning, vehicle maintenance, healthy dinners and on and on and on. I was supposed to talk to my kids, have fun with my kids, play with my kids, not let them watch too much TV, read up on all the latest parenting techniques and help them problem solve.
At the time, I was an elementary counselor and felt pressured to have the perfect family, the best-behaved children and to never make mistakes.
I had always been a hard worker. What I lacked in knowledge or skill I made up for with hard work.
I liked being productive, scheduled and maintaining a put-together life. Well, at the time, I was anything but put-together. I was lost emotionally and physically. I wasn’t enjoying the very blessings that should have made my life so rich.
My aha moment came after a distraught morning when I sent my first grader to school almost in tears. It was lunch time and I shared my feelings with a co-worker. I was guilt-ridden and confessing made me feel so much better. I soon found out that I was not the only mother who ever wished she could take back a moment.
Parenting is not perfect, and it’s OK to admit that. All parents struggle in their own ways to complete the day to day maintenance of family living. It’s OK to learn, grow and try to do it better next time.
Deciding to quit my job and stay at home with my family was a leap of faith. I had to give up the checklists and slow down. I had to do less to gain more in my life. And, it worked.
I’ve recently placed my life on display in a book I wrote, titled “It’s Okay: Let’s Get Real About This Thing We Call Parenting”.
The book and the “it’s OK” philosophy was my way of accepting that I didn’t have all the answers or have it “together” nor was I raising “perfect” kids. But I was learning to be grateful for the things I did have.
And, to me, that’s more than OK.
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MEET TERESA HAMILTON
Join us at 2 p.m. Friday on momaha.com for a live chat discussion on parenting with author Teresa Hamilton.
She’ll also host a book signing 1 p.m. Saturday at the Bookworm Bookstore at Countryside Village, near 87th and Pacific Streets. “It’s Okay: Let’s Get Real About This Thing We Call Parenting,” is a compilation of 100 stories shared by more than 40 contributors.
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