Hey, all! My name is Kristin Smysniuk and I am over the moon to be part of the Mommy Blogger community. I am a mom to three beautiful boys who work to teach me lessons and keep me humble each and every day. Bennett is 9, Sawyer is 6 and Elliot is 4! I have been married to my husband, Tynan, for 11 years and am a fifth grade teacher with Saskatoon Public Schools.
As my son’s tenth birthday approaches (10??!! What??!!), I find myself reflective. In some ways it seems like just yesterday that I was preparing to welcome this beautiful boy into our lives, and in other ways it seems like I have always been a mother.
I find it hard to remember the person I was before someone called me “Mom”. She seems to be a bit of a stranger – like someone I used to know but somehow lost touch with over the years. Sometimes, that makes me sad but almost always, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Becoming a mother changed me in the best of ways.
The person I was before I had children, morphed into a whole new woman after they arrived. I have become wiser, stronger and more engaged. I have learned to lead with selflessness, to apologize when I have been wrong, and to revel in a level love that is unparalleled.
I practice patience, engage with empathy and lead with kindness. I seek connection, exercise forgiveness, and cultivate creativity. I’ve learned to carve time for myself, maintain a dynamic relationship with my spouse, and insist upon integrity, calm and flexibility. I see the world with a depth unmatched by my younger self.
These are just some of the amazing skills that parenting has helped me either develop or strengthen. But, to this day, when asked what I believe the most required skill is to be a parent I always answer “COURAGE”.
According to Merriam-Webster, courage is defined as “the ability to do that which frightens one” or “strength in the face of grief or pain”. And if that doesn’t describe parenting, I don’t know what does.
From the very moment I found out I was pregnant, the practice of courage began. The idea of becoming a mother was terrifying to me. It was a summation of things I could not predict, analyze, or make sense of. It was a culmination of things that I couldn’t control or regulate. It was out of my hands … and I was simply along for the crazy, amazing ride trusting the process and pushing on through my fear.
Parenting is hard. There is no doubt about it. I dare anyone to find someone who says otherwise. It tests you, it challenges you and it catches you off guard. It is a place where beauty and fear exist together and it is up to you to navigate the terrain.
Parenting is a courageous act.
It requires you to be pushed to your limits and continue on anyway.
It requires you to sit in the midst of fear, disappointment and pain and continue on anyway.
It requires you to evolve – ready or not – and continue on anyway.
It requires you to face challenges, tribulations, and set backs and continue on anyway.
Parenting requires you to break down in order to breakthrough. And if that doesn’t sound like courage, I’m not sure what does.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t believe, completely, that I am learning far more from this parenting journey than my children are.
Am I teaching them? Absolutely! Are they learning and growing? Absolutely!
But far more often than I am teaching them, they are teaching me.
They are teaching me love.
They are teaching me the meaning of life.
They are teaching me how to evolve into the best version of myself with each passing day.
But most importantly, they are living, breathing testimonies to the power found in the practice of courage.
So, I’ll keep pressing on. I’ll keep learning the lessons laid out in front of me. I’ll keep doing the best I can with each situation I am presented. And, most importantly, I will continue to “do that which frightens me”, understanding whole-heartedly, that I will be better for it in the long run.
And with that … Keep on courageous ones, keep on.