|Three boys holding still for a picture? I don't think so.|
Maryland May 2012
If this doesn't sound like you, join the club. The thing is, I don't know anybody that feels that way all the time. And, quite honestly, I don't feel that anybody should feel that way all the time (unless it is your job, Martha Stewart). And when I say "all the time," I mean the majority of the time. And why should you? My husband would probably move in with my parents if I banned Oreos and only bought organic. My oldest loves the nights where we have breakfast for dinner because the day got out of control. And tasty is always my first priority when I'm making dinner (not that my concoctions always turn out edible-- note to the wise: do not try to wing beer battered fish if you have no idea how to beer batter).
Why do mommas feel the need to do not only more, but everything in a fashionable, effortless way? I think sometimes it is from what we watch on television, like Food Network, "Oh, I found these gorgeous gourds the other day. I just love to scoop out the delicious meat and cook my favorite stuffing inside this beautiful..." Really? When is the last time you just whipped up gourd stuffing and set that on your family dinner table? But mostly we look at other moms and wonder what they are doing that we are not. We hear them talk about their fabulous dinner the night before or watch them quite naturally breastfeed their twins. We meet up with them on play dates and see their children wearing coordinating smocked pastel jumpers, while your kids are wearing Target brand t-shirts with dirty collars. We only notice the things that they are doing well that we feel we aren't. We see our "failures" more clearly next to their shining examples, "She can breastfeed twins, yet I can't. She made dinner last night and we scraped by on a leftover frozen dinner from a box. Her hair looks so good today and I used dry shampoo... again."
|Out with a friend-- for a very silly day.|
Washington DC May 2012
That doesn't mean that your child is born and suddenly there is a switch that goes off that gives your newborn the perfect latch while you feed your child nature's perfect food or that you instantly know exactly what to do when your three-year old is melting down on the Metro because a woman stole his seat. My husband told me awhile ago that if you are worrying about whether or not you are a good mom, you are a good mom. After thinking about what he meant by that, I really think he's right. Good moms desire to be good moms. That doesn't mean that there are groups of women out there labeled "Good Moms" and "Bad Moms;" what it means is that you are the best mom out there for your family. Everybody has different favorite childhood memories. You are creating a unique childhood tailored for your family's interests. My family enjoys lounging-- okay, stopping one-year olds from eating grass-- in the backyard and movie nights, complete with popcorn and candy. Your family may enjoy camping or hiking or game nights. Your kids may love your brownie recipe or you have a favorite bakery or take out place. My three-year old loves our air popper because Momma is crazed for popcorn. Every. Family. Is. Different.
Now, I'm not just talking about dinner. What is your "dinner"? Getting your kids to sleep through the night? Working through a biting phase? Potty training? Or do you feel like you say the same things over and over again to no avail? Or are you constantly cancelling or rescheduling your plans? When you find yourself in the midst of challenges, you will, in fact, discover that you are human and sometimes things are hard. Shoot for the moon. Find friends that understand when you run late. Keep trying to schedule a play date or make it to a twin group meeting. Who knows? Maybe one of these days you will actually make it. Put your best foot forward and realize that each of these trying phases are simply a phase. Because being a parent to young children is temporary. My one-year old twins will not be one forever. My three-year old... time flew. When did he become three, almost four? A friend of mine told me that when you are raising kids, "The years fly by, but the days take forever." I would add that the minutes before bedtime go especially slow.
Maybe what everyone says is wrong. Maybe there is such thing as a perfect mom. Maybe doing your best and trying is just what your kids need. Maybe we just need to hang in there, work through the challenges, search for the best in each age and phase, and love our children. Maybe we need to stop focusing on what we are doing wrong, but keep improving on what we can. Maybe we should delight in what our children do right, seek out the good. Enjoy their childhood. Reinforce day after day how much you love them. Maybe that is really what our kids need. And that is much more do-able than gourd stuffing.
1 Corinthians 13:3-8a
"If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."