The Wild Kid

“I hope I have a girl so I don’t have a wild kid like Oliver.”

Someone close to me said this in the same breath as telling me she was pregnant. 

There is nothing that makes you doubt yourself like motherhood. It is the collision of every contrast – buckets filled and emptied, heartache and delight, moments of tenderness and destruction. And to have someone hope that their baby won’t be anything like mine exposed and wounded an already seeded doubt that I am an okay mom.

As a mom, as a woman, and as a minority, there is already enough negative self-talk woven into my being. But after 34 years of life, a lot of therapy, people who have loved me unconditionally, and moms who have rallied around my “wild kid”, I have come to know this about being a mom. 

wild kid

I am the best mom for my child and you are the best for yours. 

I often look at Oliver after he has experimented with what a sword will do to a glass window or has jabbed holes in his dresser drawers for easier access to his socks, and tell him with all the patience I can muster how lucky he is that I am his mom. I’ll acknowledge his curiosity and then we’ll brainstorm a better solution while I sweep up the broken glass. 

Motherhood comes hand in hand with worry and your worry will be different than mine. Make room for compassion, not comparison. Give the empathetic smile that while my child isn’t sharing today, it might be yours tomorrow. Apologize when you yell and push away instead of understanding the thought process (though totally irrational) of a 5-year-old brain. Release guilt and gather grace to know you are enough and you are exactly the imperfectly perfect mom for your baby. 

Your child will be wild. And that is exactly how they should be.

Every child is a free spirit, girl or boy. They are beautifully free from all the shame and insecurities that creep into our being as we get older. As moms, our calling is to let our kids be held and free. Let them feel deeply, experience earth under their bare feet, take risks, and question every way of being that we, as adults, have come to accept as truth. The day will come when they’ll notice their mismatched outfits don’t fit in, but let them experience the freedom of knowing their ideas are welcomed and their imaginations adored for as long as possible.

Be kind to the mom of the “wild kid.” 

Every child is hard. Motherhood is hard. But some kids just follow the rules, question less, and comply more. My kid just isn’t one of them. Potty training meant rubbing makeup brushes in his poop (which yes, I did then use on my face unknowingly). Daycare pickups meant signing incident reports of biting, sometimes five times a week, which we dubbed the “walk of shame”. Every stick is a weapon. Every direction is questioned. Every hill is for conquering, climbing, and then rolling down. We are doing our very best to teach and redirect, yet not extinguish a fire and spirit that we adore with every ounce of our being. Please be kind and laugh, not judge, at our kid who is throwing cicada shells while yours is playing grocery store at the park. 

I go to sleep exhausted every night, but I can’t imagine my days without his freedom and fire, his encouragement that I too can reach the top of the climbing wall with him, and his insistence that life is an endless adventure. I am so grateful to have a “wild kid” like Oliver and hope yours will be wild (though maybe not so chaotic) too. 

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  1. This is beautifully written. I appreciate this post so much, and thank you for pointing out the magic within the “fire” spirit of every wild child in this world. I never want to put my kids’ spark out, so please know you aren’t alone!

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