• Darcie @ Leighton Lane

5 Things I Learned from a Cartoon Mom


mom and toddler walking

In our hyper-stimulated online world, it’s refreshing to find a face you can connect with. It’s lovely to coincidentally come across a friend who has the answers you need. And it is encouraging to learn that other moms have the same struggles as you.


But our social channels are also a breeding ground for loneliness, envy, and comparison. I know this. You know this. And yet, we still scroll mindlessly, swooning over the magazine-worthy houses, pausing to watch an exercise clip as we pinch our muffin tops, and craving the luxury trips our bank accounts won’t cover.


Yes, there are the pros, and then there are the cons to having the world at our fingertips. If you are anything like me, you let the influence of the world make things more complicated than they need to be.


One day I happened upon an influencer of sorts. Honestly, my husband showed her to me when he mentioned how realistic the house on TV looks. The bottom three feet of the house’s walls were smudged with dirt, handprints, snot, and who knows what else. No, it wasn’t a DIY special.


All Toy Story movies and shorts have probably played a hundred times in my house. I usually clean or cook and only catch a part here and there. But the dirty walls drew me to the couch that day. Throwing the dishtowel on the counter, I sat down to watch the movie with my kids. And the Toy Story mom taught me a lesson, well, several lessons actually.


  1. A simple house is no less of a home – tidy is good enough.


It’s perfectly normal to have dirty walls, especially when cohabitating with children and pets. Dust bunnies are acceptable, even some the size of tumbleweeds. Stepping on a small toy is a rite of passage for every parent. Toys can be thrown in one big box instead of sorted alphabetically and by color, and character bedspreads are a child’s favorite.


A ring on the bathtub happens, and your children don’t care what color the tile is -- neither does a real friend. I also learned a kitchen colander makes a great bath toy holder. Why didn’t I think of that?


2. Simply learn to be comfortable in your own skin and clothes – cue the sweatpants!


Jeans and a plain tee work in most situations – yoga pants too. A short haircut or a low ponytail is flawless. You don’t have to perfect the messy bun look each day. If you want to get dressed up and wear the new dangly earrings, then do it. Just be you – and not the girl on the screen.


3. Find your own rhythm and leave the mom guilt at the door.


Tiring days call for pizza nights. Birthday parties don’t have to be fancy to be fun. Streamers, cake, and a backyard work well. Kids don’t always have to dress in matching clothes. And the number of toys does not determine how a child acts or how he will turn out.


Letting your kids play by themselves is a good thing and needed for both you and them. The most fantastic imaginative play stems from a bit of boredom. But make time to read a book with them or run through the sprinklers. A little playtime is good for you too. And remember you are the best parent for the job!


4. You are the glue that holds it together.


The cartoon mom is usually in the background, and she’s not the main character, but she certainly plays a “main character” role. You know she’s the one who makes the house hum. I’m sure she doesn’t receive all of the praise she deserves, but you can tell what makes her eyes sparkle and glisten as she watches her children. I’m sure she makes plenty of mistakes, but she keeps going. And that is all you can ask of yourself some days.


5. Simple isn’t settling – it’s a beautiful way of living!


Maybe the fictional world where the Toy Story mom resided was simpler than our day. It was obviously before smartphones and when heavily patterned wallpaper was all the rage.


Even then, moms had to decide how they wanted to parent and the advice they took to heart. Maybe she didn’t have the internet. Maybe she would consult a doctor, read a magazine, or call her mom. Nevertheless, she had choices to make and she had the ability to choose who she listened to.


And you, my friend, have the power to choose your influences as well! So, listen to your gut and choose wisely!



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