I read a really outstanding article over at Power of Moms the other day called “The Other Mothers“. I highly recommend reading it.
It got me thinking about what kind of a mom I am, what kind of a mom I want to be, and why I sometimes compare myself to other mothers and come away feeling “less than”. It also made me think about the things I do and say that may make other mothers feel “less than”.
Mothers cannot do everything “perfectly” all the time. It’s just not possible. I posted a quote a while back that’s worth posting again:
“The answer to, “How do you do it all?” is simple. Nobody does it all. If you bake your own bread and mill your own wheat, then you probably don’t polish your silverware. If you polish your silverware, you probably don’t parse Latin verbs with your kids. If you do Latin with your kids, you probably don’t have a garden. If you have a garden and do all of the above…you probably don’t take a shower. And I’ll bet your garden has weeds.”
You absolutely have to pick your battles and I think every mom realizes this. But we are so quick to see the victories of other mothers and instead of patting them on the back, we just feel like losers ourselves. Here’s the kicker: We feel this way even when we are not fighting the same battle!
As I thought about how my kids were sent to ME and not to someone else, and thought about how I can be the best mom I can be for them… most things naturally fell into three categories:
- Things I do well
- Things I don’t do well and I think are important
- Things I don’t do well but that don’t matter to me, or don’t matter to me *enough*
Here’s me being honest and sharing a few things in each category. I’d love to see you do the same in the comments:
#1 Things I do well, as a mother:
– I shower my daughters with love. I tell them many times a day, but beyond that I really delight in who they are and they know it. Or at least Mackenzie does. I’m not sure how self-aware a 7 week old is. 😉
– I give my girls almost exclusively highly nutritious food. It’s often local, almost always from scratch, and includes a staggering variety of colorful vegetables and fruits. Nary a fruit snack or nugget have ever crossed their lips.
– I foster learning. I will gladly read books aloud to Mackenzie for hours each day and we bring home stacks from the library on every visit. I patiently answer her questions about the world around her and I frequently point out interesting things to talk about.
– I’m forgiving. Mackenzie gets a fresh start with me every day. Even if it’s been a really rough, long day full of misbehavior and messy mistakes, 10 minutes after she’s in bed I’m missing her and excited to see her in the morning.
– On a similar note, I genuinely love to spend time with my kids. My daughter knows when I ask whether she’d like to stay home with Dad or come grocery shopping with me that I hope she picks me. We rarely ask other people to watch our kids, and when we do it’s usually after Mackenzie’s in bed because I honestly don’t like to miss out on time with her. (Before you protest, let me say that I know getting a babysitter wouldn’t make me a worse mother. My point is that Mackenzie knows I look for chances to include her because I enjoy her company.)
– I sing, pray, and read the scriptures with my daughters every day. I didn’t grow up doing this, but I made it a priority and now it’s a habit.
Oh man that list was awkward to write and post publicly. Why is that? I’m proud of the good things I do.
Your turn: What makes you a good mother (or father)? Don’t be shy. The article suggests posing that question to your spouse and to your kids and I would agree. Their answers might surprise you!
Coming up tomorrow… Things I don’t do well (yet) and I think are important