2 Sisters’ Misguided Manual to Motherhood
This book is about…Well, I would like to start off by telling you what this book is NOT about. This book is not the “Kid 101” manual. This book will not guarantee that your kids won’t argue, whine or make messes. This book is not a “how to potty train in 12 hours” book. If you are potty training while reading this book, I can almost guarantee you will still be potty training when you are done, especially if you have a boy. This book is not how to create the “perfect” kid, nor is it how to be a “perfect” parent. This is the book you read BEFORE you read all those “How-to” books. Because no matter what how-to book you read, no matter what discipline technique you use, and how consistent you are at using it…you will still have those crazy days when things aren’t “manual” friendly. There will be days your precious angels aren’t parent friendly, and definitely days when you, the parent, aren’t kid friendly.
This parenting business is the worst, best, exhausting, most fulfilling, scary, chaotic, amazing job we will ever have. Time and time again, I have met parents who use the condition of their house, their kids’ behavior, or other people’s expectations as a “measuring stick” to determine whether or not they are a GOOD parent. I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone else at times. In fact, one day, I realized I had a chronic problem (and, no, it wasn’t drinking, unless you count coffee!): I carried a “judgment” bat around and used it to beat myself up emotionally about everything, especially when it came to my parenting. I knew something needed to change, but I didn’t know what, though I thought pills for depression might be a good start! Fortunately, I stumbled into a TurningLeaf seminar on emotional growth, and it was there that I began learning about “Value Based Parenting” and that I really didn’t have to be perfect to be a GREAT mom! (And I came to terms with the fact that there would be days my husband would have NO clean underwear… and it would be OKAY.)
Not only was I hurting myself with my “measuring stick” mentality, but being so hard on myself was affecting the way my kids responded to me. When we create unrealistic expectations of ourselves that we can never measure up to, we feel SO beat-up that we don’t have any energy left to actually parent. Our kids sense this negative energy, which magnifies the everyday challenges that come with simply raising kids. Instead, what if we learned to give ourselves some grace and laugh at the hilarious adventure of parenting?
I’ve been on this parenting journey for almost 15 years now, and let me tell ya, NO two kids are alike! Every child is different—some are more strong-willed than others—and there is NO “right” way of doing things.No magic formula. No manual for exactly how to parent in order to have a good kid. When I figured out I could stop judging myself for the mistakes I made or my kids’ embarrassing behavior and just recognize it all as part of a growth process for me and for them, I finally relaxed a little and really
started to enjoy being a parent!
Five years ago, my sister had her first son and joined the parenting
world. Together, we realized that one of the best ways to battle the harmful cycle of getting down on ourselves as parents, was to laugh and cry together as we shared the CRAZY adventures and mishaps that we often had with our kids. This book is a collection of many of our stories. We want you to know your kids are NOT the only ones making a scene in the store or throwing spaghetti at your head. You’re not the only parent who fears your kids might need therapy when they’re older or is tempted
to sell them on Ebay at times.
So, it’s time to put the “bat” down and start learning to laugh at
life’s mishaps! We invite you to witness our experience as perfectly imperfect moms—GOOD moms.
We hope that by inviting you into our lives and sharing what we have learned along the way, you find
encouragement, kinship, and maybe even some tools to help you feel good about you and enhance your “perfect” parenting abilities. We hope you take on the challenges we have given you at the end of each chapter. These are challenges that have helped us, personally, to put down the bat, accept ourselves, and love the experience of parenting with its many ups and downs. We invite you to laugh with us, cry with us, pull your hair out with us, and enjoy the candid stories of two sleep-deprived, coffee-filled, almost gripped-with-insanity, but perfectly imperfect moms!
About the Authors
Jamie Lightner married her high school sweetheart and is blessed with four amazing children who have provided her with plenty of source material for her many adventures in motherhood. She began writing twelve years ago to find the “funny” in “spilt milk” because, when you have kids, messes of all kinds are just part of life. Jamie is also a life coach through TurningLeaf Wellness Center and has a passion for helping others believe in who there are and truly enjoy the many adventures of life.
Jessica Warren was set up on a blind date 1500 miles from her small Michigan hometown and she was crazy enough to go! After falling madly in love in Colorado, she dragged her husband-to-be back to Michigan, where they married and started their own adventures in parenting. There is never a dull day with her two beautiful towheads. While she helps her older son through his first year of school, she is walking her youngest through chemo in a fight against a brain tumor. Through it all, she sees God’s blessing and is thankful for all that she’s been given.