A New Year’s Post for Moms

As the end of 2011 came near, I had a sudden realization that blew my mind: I am a good mother. Perhaps my depression got in the way or my constant tendency to compare myself to others, but finally seeing myself as good for my children gave me a joy that I hadn’t yet experienced.

Previously, instead of focusing on what I did right, I would only see my faults. I began creating a pile of deficiencies, even lumping areas that were simply not my talents with all the areas that I could realistically improve.

I thought I was doing well as a mom to make a home-cooked meal from scratch most nights. That was, of course, until I knew there were moms out there who grind their own wheat and bake fresh bread for their family every morning. I don’t have a cow in the backyard to milk, so I can’t churn my own butter, and I don’t make candles with the beeswax from the insects that visit our home in the spring.

Your home-cooked meals are nothing with your store-bought flour and pasteurized milk! And you rarely even light a Yankee Candle. Failure!

I love reading to my children and thought I was giving them the gift of imagination and communication and enhanced vocabulary and all the wonderful skills that follow a love of literature. That was, of course, until I knew there were moms out there that read Cinderella and then made a castle with their girls from materials they gathered at their local recycling center. After visiting the recycling plant and creating their masterpiece, they decided to whip up some dresses for the ball with scraps from old clothes and their handy-dandy sewing machines. Crafty and green!

Your reading is nothing without a craft to follow! You can’t even cut in a straight line, your kids only like to cut their own hair, and you don’t even own a sewing machine. Failure!

And so I added to the pile that contained a short temper and anxious personality a lack of arts and crafts ability and ability to homestead. Every day I would throw more ‘deficiencies’ up onto the pile until I couldn’t see on the other side.

Until one day….

One day I simply walked up to that pile and pushed it over. Down fell ‘arts and crafts’ and ‘homesteading’ and ‘homeschooling’ and a bunch of other compound words that start with ‘home.’ I picked up ‘short temper’ and ‘anxiety’ and put them in their proper file folders–they were weaknesses, but they didn’t define me. I took a deep breath and thought to myself, My kids are lucky to have me for their mom.

As I write, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only mother who makes piles. We’re hard on ourselves, and, thanks to social media, we’re constantly reminded of a billion areas where we’re not as good as the next lady. We wonder how that mom has time to have a successful blog and raise four beautiful children and start her own company out of the home when we haven’t figured out how to write more than once a week and simply catch up on laundry with our two kids.

We find a thousand a different areas where we’re deficient, when the reality is that we’re not deficient–we’re just different.

And I have one more sneaking suspicion: You’re a good mom, too.

Maybe you make the best home-cooked meals and grind your own wheat, and one day your children will look back and think, “Wow. My mom loved me so much and cared so much about my health that she spent time going that extra mile just for me.”

Maybe you order pizza more nights than you’d like to admit, but you get down on the floor and roll around with your children like a big kid yourself. I, promise, your children will remember a mom who loved them so much that she took time to play.

Maybe you can’t cook to save your life, but you are that mom who can create things from what others would throw away. You come up with the most beautiful crafts, and your children will remember a mom who displayed for them creativity. They will forever be in awe of your industriousness and look back fondly on the time you spent with them creating and seeing treasure in others’ trash.

And maybe you are that mom who works full-time. You don’t have time for arts and crafts–getting dinner on the table is a challenge. However, you don’t let a day go by without sitting down with your children and really listening to them. You rub their heads at night and read them a bedtime story when you’d rather be sleeping yourself. Your children will remember. They will remember a mom who taught them the value of hard work, and they will remember a mom who showed them their value.

There is no perfect mother. We all have our flaws, but we all have our strengths, too. Maybe that strength is simply having the patience to let your two little girls dress you up for your wedding day to the prince with beads and hair accessories that you wouldn’t dare leave the house in for a minute–but you’d spend hours wearing them in your home for them.

This year I think that’s something worth celebrating.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Linking up with Mama Kat to share one of my New Year’s Resolutions. I want to hear from you–it’s time to brag. I give you permission! What about you is worth celebrating?

17 thoughts on “A New Year’s Post for Moms”

  1. Great post. MY only comment…. you are a great Mom. Just be yourself, don' try to be some other Mom. Juat love your kids the way your heart tells you to love them because that feeling in your heart comes from God. You give quality time to your kids as time permits and they will always remember it.
    They know you love them…..How could they not?

    love
    Dad

  2. Good for you for kicking that pile in the….I mean knocking it down. I knock mine down often but it keeps building up again…I think I might join you in this resolution….thanks!

    Happy 2012! Great post.

  3. Oh, friend, you do realize there are more of "us," imperfect moms, than they are of "them" 🙂 Because "they" really don't exist. We all wonder if the woman next door is doing a better job! And, like you said, each choice you make has a counter-choice. I have to work from home to stay at home and homeschool my kids so my house is dirty. It's my sacrifice that others don't have to make, so remembering why the house is dirty helps me to deal with the dust!. The devil biggest tactic against women, especially moms, is to convince them they are failures. Lies, lies, lies! And it pins us against each other rather than unite us. Thank you for your honesty.

    1. Agreed, Gaby! I especially have had to fight the lies as a SAHM because I start to compare what I've accomplished in a day compared to the homeschooling mom or working mom. Then I remind myself of everything I've done–from parenting to cooking to volunteering at the schools to volunteering at church, etc., etc. It's everything I wanted to concentrate on when I became a SAHM, so what others are doing shouldn't matter!

      1. Why do we do this? Why do we compare ourselves/our days/our "accomplishments"? I do it as well, so I don't have the answer either. How I long to be a SAHM but it's not in the cards. How I know the days aren't easy, are likely busier than I am at work (where I'm online the majority of the day b/c the ebb and flow of work make it inconsistent). But I covet it, I do. The picking the kids up on time, no need for after care, having dinner before 7:30. And then I remind myself of all that I've done that day, whether at home or at work — I've helped with homework, I've helped provide us with food for dinner regardless of how late we may eat, I've read books before bed and tucked in children. I've been THERE. Sure, it's not all day and the laundry isn't done and the dishes are still dirty and I'm pretty sure these are the same pants I wore on Tuesday, but I am there, imperfections and all.

        1. I know I took forever to respond to your comment, but I wanted to thank you for your honesty. You are right–you are THERE with your children when you are home. That is what they will remember. There are many parents who might be physically there more hours but not emotionally. What matters is the time and attention you give your kids when you are home, and it sounds like you are a great mom. Thank you, again, for sharing, and don't let those lies convince you that you are anything other than a great mom!

  4. Jennifer, as your mom, you'll think i'm biased. You are not only a good mom, you are a GREAT MOM. I witness so often how your children are loved and cared about. None of us has it all together and God made each one of us unique. i read today in Max L's devotional, to put a lock on the door of the unwanted visitor in your life; fear, doubts, feeling unworthy, etc. i think part of the problem moms face today is isolation. Just a thought here…getting a group together and helping each other in one anothers' giftedness makes each person feel important and special. Like while the kids are in school, you can have a cooking/baking/sewing whatever lesson. It's so much fun and you learn from each other.

  5. Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Your honesty is refreshing.
    It can be difficult to live our everyday lives in comparison to the highlight moments of the lives of others.
    I remember reading something to that effect about facebook.
    It's true.
    Facebook, blogs, even some relationships only go deep enough to give us the highlights.
    Not the real thing.

    (And you sound like a great mom to me! Love the hair!!)

  6. Good for you. I think that applies for all of us, we are all different. God knows exactly what your children need, that's why He selected you to watch over His babies. To know our own path directed by God is a gift in wisdom I believe.

    Sorry I missed wishing you and yours seasons greetings, I've been buried and doing more reposts lately than I'd like to, but as you stated so eloquently; God made me to do things in His way, not mine. Thanks Jennifer, missed your insight.

  7. I know in my heart I'm a good mom, yes. But those lying, sneaky thoughts will still invade my brain and try to tell me otherwise. Thank you for this. It takes all of us sometimes to acknowledge and nod in unison that we are good mothers.

  8. Beautiful! And so true…we spend far too much energy worrying about what we should or should not be doing…or what other people think. In the end, our kids just love us for being their moms. If we can love them, meet their basic needs, and spend time with them…I think they'd be okay with that.

  9. YAY for you. Yes, yes, yes, YOU ARE A GREAT MOM. And it's past time to knock down those piles filled with comparison and 'fail' signs. You are you and your kids are YOUR kids. No one can love them like you can. No one. This is a wonderful post and I hope every mother of young kids who reads it will take it in like the good nourishment it is. Say it together now – my kids are blessed to have me for their mother. YES.

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