More Introspection on My Own Mothering

This is a follow-up to my last post, where I wrote about the dangers of comparing ourselves to other mothers and feeling “less than”. In that post I shared some things that I do well as a mother.

This post is devoted to the things I don’t do well as a mother, but I think are important. I absolutely think there is value in observing other mothers, if we can honestly look at the things we admire and incorporate those things into our lives with common sense.

So on that note, here are the things I see “other mothers” do that I want to do as well:

Things I don’t do well (yet) and I think are important

Mornings. I want to be “on” for my kids in the morning when they wake up, by getting up a few minutes early myself and getting ready for the day. Instead, I sometimes slip Mackenzie my iPhone so I can get a few more minutes of sleep. I ultimately get out of bed when I can’t possibly avoid it a second longer (like when she needs help on the potty, or has been playing puzzles on my phone long enough I feel guilty). And let’s be clear here, she doesn’t come out of her room until 8 so we’re not talking about an unreasonable hour of the day.

I’m inspired by moms who hear their children’s bedroom door open in the morning and smile rather than groan.

My goal? Start getting to bed earlier so I’m not desperate for every drop of sleep in the morning.

Playdough. Coloring. Pretty much anything “age-appropriate” for my toddler. Up until recently I was such a busy working mom that Mackenzie just accompanied me with my stuff all day. She was my buddy for laundry, grocery shopping, photo editing, cleaning, cooking, exercising, etc. and aside from reading stories there hadn’t been a lot of kid time. Although she’s definitely playing and being creative when she follows me around the house, the way her eyes light up now when I pull out something for us to do together “just for fun” is sobering.

I’m inspired by moms who plan fun, hands-on activities that make their kids feel special.

My goal? Deliberately pick one thing every day that is just for her. A trip to the park, time on the floor creating something simple, or just turning on some music to dance together.

Getting Mackenzie time to interact with other kids. Aside from a few hours at our church nursery and a (maybe) once a week playgroup, we are homebodies. Again, I think this was a necessity when I was working, but Mackenzie is older now and talks about her “friends” from nursery all week long. I had this aversion to playdates because I was determined to work only if I could do it without needing help taking care of Mackenzie and I was afraid playdates would “count”.

I’m inspired by moms who develop a solid group of friends for their kids by seeking out other like-minded moms.

My goal? Get over myself. Swap playdates with other moms or just plan to meet up places so I get to socialize as well.

Being on-time. Before I had Caitlyn, I was often several minutes late to things and occasionally many minutes late to things. Now I’m often many minutes late to things and occasionally horrendously late to things. I’m worried that should this pattern continue as we welcome more children to our family we will miss most events entirely. 😉

I’m inspired by moms who are on-time. I think being late (though occasionally unavoidable) as a habit is frustrating to those who are counting on you and adds stress to the whole family.

My goal? Be careful not to over commit my family so that when we say we will be at something, we can have a reasonable hope of being on-time and not rushing from one thing to the next. Start getting ready sooner. Remember that being a family of four takes more time. I think sometimes I forget I’m a parent and I think getting out the door will be as simple as grabbing the car keys and a coat.

Planning dinner. Lack of planning means we sometimes don’t eat until 7:30 or 8, when Mackenzie’s bedtime is supposed to be around 8. That makes me rushed and impatient with how slowly she gets ready for bed, and I hate when grumpiness is her last impression of the day.

I’m inspired by moms who use crockpots and who freeze meals. Hey, I’m inspired by moms who even know what time dinner will be ready on a given night. Hehe.

My goal? I’m one week into doing regular meal plans and so far I love it. I also want to shoot for a set dinner time each day, though it will change from month to month as Scott changes rotations. Also, when we’re running late (for bedtime, or for anything), I’m consciously trying to be more patient with Mackenzie. It’s generally my own fault we’re late in the first place and a playful 2 year old shouldn’t bear the brunt of my frustration.

So there’s part of my list. What’s on yours? What do you see in other mothers that you honestly want to incorporate?

Coming up tomorrow… Things I don’t do well but that don’t matter to me, or don’t matter to me *enough*. Come back to see what I’ve decided to slack on. 😉

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About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Deliberate Mothering, I am a mother. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to More Introspection on My Own Mothering

  1. denise says:

    Anne, great posts! I was just about to say that I couldn’t think of anything important you are missing (after reading the first post) and then this one popped up! I think you’re doing awesome!

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  2. Meg Larsen says:

    I feel like I’m the exact opposite of you in many ways–the things I would say I do well are your “working on” categories and the things i’m working on are the things you do best! I’m inspired by your healthy cooking and my husband drools over photos of your salads…It hasn’t been my top priority but I think it’s definitely more important than I’ve been making it! Baby steps. This week he picked to eat more carrots instead of more quesadilla so something is working :o)

    Mornings are always hard. Especially when they start at 6:30. And you’ve been up all night with a baby.

    I will say that it helps me to have a “theme” in mind for the week to plan activities and toddler stuff to keep us both entertained. For instance, last week was dinosaur week, so we went to a dinosaur museum, checked out dinosaur books from the library, painted pictures of dinosaurs, played dinosaurs, and even cut our food into dinosaur shapes (I even attempted T-Rex pancakes…).

    If you have a hard time with playdates because you’re letting someone else watch your kid, I love play groups because the kids get to play but I get time to make friends as well, and I’m a better mom when I feel connected.

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  3. Laura says:

    It’s hard to set an alarm when you have no idea how often your sleep will be interrupted at night. Right now I’m wishing I did mornings better too. So I’m working on that.

    I wish that I would do better about food. I won’t admit to the frequency of our McDonalds trips while I’m out running errands and it’s overlapping lunch….because I didn’t get up early enough… 🙂

    I want to say “yes” more when I’m asked to play while I’m doing things that could wait 15 minutes more. And use the television less as a short-term babysitter and more as something we enjoy together on occasion.

    The thing that most bothers me is that I feel I rarely interact with my 6 month old beyond her nursing and diaper changing.

    Healthier living and that includes regular exercise. I want my kids to see my example of eating and exercise and be better for it. Thanks for being a great example for me!

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