A few weeks ago, a friend and I decided to get together one morning and snap a few blog photos for each other. The plan was to stop at this cute little plaza not too far from my house and then take the kids to the library. Since the plan was mostly indoor-fun, I dressed my girls up in sweet matching outfits and their “good” mary jane sneakers (with ruffle socks, of course). I had 3 outfits to shoot, each taking about 5 minutes plus a few minutes in between to change. About
5 seconds two minutes in, my girls were playing in the fountain (that I didn’t know was there until we arrived). I shouted for them to not get wet, “Hands only, girls! Don’t get wet!” to which they agreed, “Yes, Mommy! Okay!” but then, of course, they got wet.
My oldest threw her sister’s “watch” (which is really a giant ring) rattle to the top of the fountain and then got her feet soaking wet trying to fetch it. I sighed a heavy sigh of frustration and took her socks off but made her keep her shoes on since I didn’t have any spares. By time we were done shooting, my girls were completely drenched. While I usually have a change of clothes for my toddler, I was unprepared for my four-year-old and had no towels to dry them off. There was now no library in our future which was okay since my friend had to leave anyway. Since they were gone and there was no hope in fulfilling the rest of the day’s plans I thought, “to heck with it” and decided to let them go all in. I could have been mad. I could have fussed at them. We could have gone straight home. But, against anything I would normally allow, I took their shoes off and let them loose. YOLO, right? I put my grossed-out feelings aside and enjoyed watching them have the time of their lives.
Carefree. Excited. Jubilant. I sat back and absorbed my girls making what will hopefully be long-lasting childhood memories. Sure, they were wet. Sure, they were in a fountain (I mean gross, right?). Sure, our plans were dashed. But in that moment, watching their bouncing ponytails as they frolicked about, I didn’t care. And I still don’t.
So what’s my point? My point is that 99% of the time, I’m a woman on a mission. I make a plan and I do everything I can to stick to it. While I can be really good at going with the flow sometimes, I don’t love surprises; I can get disappointed when things don’t happen the way I plan. But does anything happen the way you plan when you have kids? I’ve learned that inflexibility isn’t conducive to motherhood.
I started thinking about who I am as a mom. I’m far from perfect. I lose my temper (a lot). I’m totally not the fun mom. But I was that day. And while I had to strip them down in the parking lot and dry them off with an old burp cloth to drive them home (thank goodness for dry diapers and back-up panties in the diaper bag) and then give them an unscheduled bath immediately upon arrival, we had a great, memorable day.
See, I’m still learning when to stick to my guns and when to just roll with it; there’s a time and a place for both. I’m still figuring out how to walk the line of teaching my girls how to act while not stifling their spirits and imaginations. But you know what? My kids really are having a great childhood, despite my many flaws as their mom. They’re happy, thriving little girls. I have a big job as their mom; I’m the #1 the female role model in their life. What will they learn from me? Will I teach them to be short-fused and uptight? Or will they learn to work hard and play harder (my mantra for life)? There are so many things I want my girls to glean from me. Making the most of every situation and seizing the day are a couple of those things. I need to get better at the latter if I’m going to be the example I want to be; I started with a fountain.
I was the mom who let her daughters play barefoot in a fountain. I never thought I would be. And I’m okay with it. Because their memories (and mine) will be worth it.