When my kids were babies, I thought that the baby stage was the hardest.  I am now living the reality that having kids is hard at every stage.  Some stages require more physical work, other stages are more emotional, and then some stages are both.

Here are 4 things I am struggling through and working on as a mother…

1.  Be with them when I am with them.  Sometimes I am with my kids all day and not really with them.  I am bad about this.  Whether it’s laundry or dinner or email or a phone call.  My kids need me to talk to them and play with them.  Not all day, otherwise we would never eat or have clean clothes, but they deserve a portion of my day.

2.  Expect them to act like children.  Plan for it because, news flash, that is what they are.  Abbey is going to throw a temper-tantrum at some point each day over what she wants to eat.  Of course she wants to eat a chocolate chip granola bar over an apple sauce, they are like candy bars.  But I am the mom and I say what we are having for snack.  And my boys are going to break things, and they are going  to spill things and they are going to fight with each other.  Because they are kids.

3.  Don’t be a fussy mom.  I don’t want my kids to be afraid of me.  Or to like a babysitter better than me.  I want to practice saying yes more.  This is hard.  If I let Graham give his Batman toys a bath, I may have to clean up spilled water in the bathroom, but is that really that big of a deal?

4.  Don’t think every activity has to be a major event.  My kids like to play Uno with me almost as much as they like for me to take them to the park.  Every activity at home does not have to be a major project.  Painting is awesome, but sometimes crayons and tickles mean just as much (and make a lot less mess).

I want to give my kids my best. That means simplifying when I can and embracing the chaos when I can’t.

Either way, I want to be all in.