Thoughtful. Patient. Loving. Creative. Nurturing.
Energetic. Resourceful. Reaffirming. Focused. Fun.
Honorable. Instructive. Harmonious. Protective.
If I were to have a checklist where I could handily pick which qualities I would like to possess as a mom, those words up there^^ are the attributes that would be right at the top of my list. Don’t they all sound great?? Yea, it’s cus they are. This is a question I find that I am asking myself a lot lately and I shall pose it to you (other moms) as well: what kind of mom do my (your) kids get? If you are like me, that question may sting a bit. I can only picture the negatives, what I don’t give them, what I don’t do well. I see missed opportunities, I see a distracted, frazzled mom. It is for sure a hard question to answer.
**I prefaced that by saying “if you are like me…” because you may be quite content with where you are in your motherhood journey. To which I genuinely say, congratulations!!…(Now please, share your secrets!!!)**
But for me, and my sometimes never-ending guilt trip, I constantly see room to improve. The words that are in bold are the areas that I feel I struggle the most in. I lack focus and I am easily distracted. On some days, I can grow impatient easily and am quick to get angry over little things. And, honestly, what mom doesn’t wish for just a bit more energy.
I get it. I know that moms aren’t flawless. I agree with some of that whole “moms are superheroes” bit…but only to a degree. I do have a superpower, I can find almost any lost toy, sippy cup or shoe. I can quickly locate just about anything. And if I can’t, on those rare occasions, well consider that matchbox car or other blue sock missing.
But beyond a slightly more attuned ear (to hear the crying baby) or perfected baking technique (to get those pancakes tasting like they always do) I kind of recoil at acknowledging the superhero bit. If I were a superhero, it would all get done. I’d hardly bat an eyelash at what goes on during my day. And my only weakness would be something superhero-ish, a distaste for a mythical rock from deep in outer space, or something like that. I want to go to sleep in the shower because I am that tired. I would catch my toddler before she fell off the sofa. I would be all things at all times.
Ain’t happening anytime soon!
If those words hang over you because you don’t get it all right, let me take the edge off and remind you that…we aren’t perfect. We’re just women who are striving to wear the title of Mom proudly. And if you care enough to cry because you know you aren’t always patient and shouldn’t have yelled about those Lego’s on the floor earlier, then you’re already winning half of the battle.
Being a good parent is an uphill climb a good chunk of the time. You quell one issue only to see another emerge. But, like any “job”, there is always the chance to evaluate, see where you can be better and to renew your efforts to doing all that you do well. My children have grown me so much, they have made me a better person. And they are worth every effort to keep trying to be the mom that I want to be for them. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to ignore the laundry and my smart phone while we play for hours on end. And maybe I will keep my cool in the grocery store when Clara throws a jar of salsa out of the cart. So let me encourage you to periodically take the time and confront your fears as a parent: ask yourself where you can improve and how you can be better.
Once we can admit our shortcomings to ourselves, I find that they lose their bite and turn out to be mostly bark. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take them seriously. But, after we can admit some of the more unsavory truth to ourselves, we find out that it really wasn’t so scary after all. And meanwhile, stop to remember all of the things that you do right, because I am quite certain that there are plenty of things that you do wonderfully for your children. Embrace those parts of your mothering strategy that you excel at.
I’m good at the loving and nurturing parts. I love telling my children that I love them, and that they did a great job. I love hugs, kisses, snuggles, high fives and Eskimo kisses. I also love to teach them new things and am pretty good sometimes at spotting an opportunity to show them something new.
I hope that this post leaves you encouraged as opposed to depressed. Remember that victory in parenting is won incrementally, not in its entirety. That is part of the journey.
I hope that you have a wonderful Thursday!