A moment of full disclosure: I am a “seasoned” mom who does not know what I am doing. I do, in fact, wing it.
We’ve all seen those memes that joke about how one day we’re Mary Poppins. In the next, we’re leaving our keys in the fridge (or the car–go me!). These days our kids are eating cereal (we hope it’s cereal) off of the floor. Joking, not joking, right?
I have been a mom for 19 years. I have made it through four first days of kindergarten, broken bones, stitches and staples, and milestones–big and small. One of those kids *gasp* is a whole adult now. There are seasons when my Mary Poppins vibe is strong. Tasks are completed, to-do lists are checked off. Everything falls into place.
Some days do not run as smoothly. We are late to school, football gear is forgotten, and two or three trips are made to and from school to deliver said gear. People are cranky, the seam in the sock is 0.05 cm off to the left. After all of this, there is no point in even attempting to function anymore as we are already 20 minutes behind schedule. Solution? Wing it.
Interjecting a true story here, one of our kids took a mental health day in 7th grade because her leggings weren’t fitting her right. Now I better understand the importance of a great pair of leggings, but that day was one of those days.
Through all of these days, good and bad, and even after 19 years of living the mom life, I am not ashamed to say that some days, most days, I am winging it.
Some days I just do not know what I’m doing. I wing it, and I have learned over these past years that this is okay. Monday may be full dinner and a clean kitchen before bed. Tuesday is cereal and a sink full of dishes. Both are okay. Both days consist of me winging it–doing what I can do.
A key factor in winging it is to give yourself permission to do so. It does not mean lowering your standards or expectations. Winging it means that you need to them realistic. You are not expected to and you are not going to know how to do it all.
Give yourself permission to wing it.
Now 19 years into motherhood, I’ve learned a few things about winging it:
1. Winging it does not mean that we aren’t trying. Of course we are trying.
We as moms give 100% every day. Some days this looks like a restaurant-style meal three times a day. It looks like a clean house and a mom that could fit into a modern-day version of a Norman Rockwell portrait. But other days, 100% might look like getting out of bed and watching Disney+ all day. Or even watching it in bed. We moms do our best.
2. Winging it does not mean that we don’t care. Of course we do!
Some days how much we care can look very different from others. What matters most is that we love our kids every day. Whether a lot is done or very little is accomplished, winging it can mean that we are taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of our families. Remember, Disney days in bed aren’t just for the kids.
3. Every mom does this–don’t compare yourself. But for real, don’t.
It may not be in the same area or at the same time, but we are all in this boat at one point or another. Despite the numerous books written on the topic of parenting, there are no manuals to teach us how to parent our specific children. Give yourself grace. You need it and you deserve it.
4. Acknowledge what you are good at and embrace what you’re not.
There are areas in which we are gifted and talented. We are good at a lot of things, and it is okay to say so. On the other hand, there are areas in which we are not so great. For me, one of those areas is math.
My kids lost me as a homework helper around 5th grade. There are times when a scientific phenomenon takes place and I can help our older kids, but for the most part, I stick to the 1st grader and outsource the higher levels of math to better-equipped friends and family.
Some days my winging involves having videos pulled up, explaining how to work a problem. The videos are playing while simultaneously flipping through notes and having one of those math help apps running on another device. And after all of this, I still don’t get the right answer. But, hey, I sure can get their classes color-coded and organized (again, yay me!).
Acknowledge the good and embrace the not-so-good. Our lives can be both chaotic and predictable at the same time. We do our best to handle the days as they come, doing what we can with what we have and figuring it out as we go.
Winging it is giving ourselves the permission and the freedom to figure out how to love the best we can. Moms–let’s wing it.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.