You might be feeling like a little bit of a failure right now. Things aren't exactly as you had planned on. In fact, some things are far from where you had imagined. But I want you to know that from all the planning and imagining you did, you could never ever have dreamed up just how amazing your life would be right now. It might not be going "according to plan," but that doesn't make you a failure. It makes you real, raw, and blessed.
You had planned on having a beautifully organized home. A place for everything and everything in it's place. You imagined toys organized by type and size. You envisioned clean floors, shiny windows, and empty countertops. Instead, you have toys strewn about on the floor as you build an elaborate, imaginative play area. The windows have little fingerprints from playing with window clings with your little one. Those countertops are only cleared off about once a week when you finally get around to it. But you were busy. You were having a tea party and playing dress up. You were reading books and coloring masterpieces. You had better things to do. The house isn't a total disaster. Well... At least it's not a total disaster all that often. But it isn't perfectly ordered. It's lived in. Played in. Laughed in. And it's amazing.
You had planned on having a child who would be perfectly behaved in church. One who would sit quietly and listen to the sermons. One who would quietly admire pictures of The Savior and fold her arms for the prayers. Instead, you have a wiggly toddler. One who gets through the first prayer and song okay but gets antsy after. One who you walk the halls with to keep her happy. And just when you're on the brink of tears because you don't know what to do and haven't heard a sermon in a few weeks because you've been wrestling the little one and you fear you haven't taught her anything at all, she will excitedly point to a painting on the wall. "Jesus! Jesus!" She will say. She'll blow Him kisses. And you'll know. You'll know that you've taught her something. She knows, recognizes, and loves Jesus. You helped with that. So she doesn't sit for an hour nicely... She knows God, even if it wasn't in the way you had imagined.
You had planned on organizing activities that your little one would be engrossed in for hours. But you have a beautiful, opinionated little one who sometimes rejects the activity that you spent so much time preparing. But if you aren't careful, you'll miss the thing she does want to do. In your frustration, don't miss the book she's pushing towards you. You have probably already read it 5 times that day. Read it again. Embrace her love for learning and her desire to make her own choices. She wants to go to the park? Go. It's just around the corner and it will bring her so much joy. It's okay that life isn't as scheduled and planned as you imagined. It's raw and real. And that's a beautiful thing.
You thought you wouldn't let your little one watch any television until she was three years old. You stayed pretty strong until she was about 14 months. Every now and again it just makes life a little easier. She sometimes needs a break from the constant activities and play. And sometimes you do too. And that's okay. Snuggle up together and watch your 15 minute show. It's alright. Even if other people tell you it's not, you need to do what works for you. Even if the show sort of drives you crazy, she loves it. Enjoy that she's snuggling in to you and snuggle right back.
You thought you would always know what to do. You thought you would always make the right decision. But you don't and you won't. And it's okay. Allow yourself to be real. It's okay to admit when you don't know what you're doing. But give yourself a little credit. This is new to you. You've never been a mom before. As much as people will tell you about a mom sense, it doesn't work all the time. "You'll just know," is something I heard all the time. But you won't always know. You'll need help. You'll need advice. You'll need to take things to your Heavenly Father in prayer and pour your soul out. Tell Him when it's good. Tell Him when it's hard. Find the answers you're seeking and then just dive in and give it your best. You'll mess up a time or two, but you'll learn from it. Life won't be perfect, but it will be oh so good.
You are so very blessed. Don't plan and prepare your life away. Enjoy every moment. Drink in the disorganized beauty. Accept things as they are while working to be the best you can. Don't get caught up in what isn't going according to plan. Don't worry when things don't look absolutely perfect. They won't, and they probably shouldn't. That's the only what you'll learn. It will help you to grow.
So, to the mother I thought I would be... It's okay. You aren't. But you're doing an alright job. And when your little girl comes running to you, smile wide, and throws her arms around your neck, you'll realize that she thinks so to.