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.
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?