Where I Slack as a Mom (a partial list)

This is a follow-up to this post where I wrote about the dangers of comparing ourselves to other mothers and feeling “less than” and what I feel I do well as a mother, and this post, where I wrote about the benefits of observing other mothers and the things I hope to improve on.

As I mentioned, you cannot possibly “do it all”. Or at least I can’t. Here are some things I observe in “other mothers” and say, “I’m impressed she does that for her kids, but I likely never will.”

Things I don’t do well but that don’t matter to me, or don’t matter to me *enough*

I don’t dress my kids well. Their clothes are always clean, or as clean as can be expected with a toddler and a vomiting baby, but that’s as far as it goes. I dedicate no time to finding cute outfits for them to wear and even less time to getting them dressed in the morning. I think that Mackenzie currently owns one pair of pants that fit her. She generally picks out her own clothes, so it’s not unusual for her to wear the same thing multiple days in a row (assuming it didn’t get visibly dirty on previous days). Needless to say, we don’t do matching socks or coordinating hairbows. Her hair has never been blow-dried.

True story: Sometimes, when her hair falls in her face during a meal and I can’t find any sort of clip, I simply wet down the part near her face and slick it back. We’re all about practical solutions around here.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire moms whose kids are wearing coordinating outfits (hey sometimes even a season-appropriate outfit will bring out my envy when my kid is still in shorts in November because her one pair of pants had to be washed). I even feel some mom guilt that I don’t focus on this… until I remember “it’s not my thing and that’s ok”. I pick my battles. My kids get clean teeth and a couple of baths a week.

Note to Mackenzie’s nursery leaders: Her fingernails are NOT black all week long. She DOES get a bath Saturday night. Those darn nails are only black for nursery because blueberries on waffles are a family tradition for Sunday breakfasts.

I don’t keep a really clean house. Don’t panic, it’s usually relatively clean as far as dirt is concerned, it’s just bound to look messy if you drop by unexpectedly. Mackenzie loves to play by getting things out and moving them from room to room. We pick things up at nighttime and then first thing in the morning, different things are carefully scattered everywhere (every measuring spoon and cup, or every Dr. Seuss book, for instance).

I know moms whose homes look great during the day, but I try not to sweat it. The carpet my kids crawl on gets vacuumed and our laundry is usually caught up. Though apparently I draw the line at windows:

True story: We have lived in this apartment for over 4 years now and I have never washed the windows. We got new windows just a couple years ago, if that helps you sleep better at night.

I don’t do events.

True story: I have hosted exactly one baby shower ever, despite having literally dozens of friends give birth to scores of babies in the six years I’ve been married.

I know lots of moms who are room-mothers, throw parties for friends and parties for holidays. With one car, a husband with an unpredictable schedule, and two little girls, I just say “thank you” to whoever coordinated the event I’m attending. It’s selfish, yes, but it’s not the season for me to commit to much outside my family. That decision means no guilt when I see other moms “doing it all”. I’m not in the running for doing it all, so I can’t come in last. 😉

I never look “put together”. You will never see me at the park wearing cute boots and a statement necklace. In fact, you won’t even see me wearing mascara.

True story: I spend more time brushing my teeth each day than I do on getting dressed and doing my hair (combined).

I was never “put together” even before I became a mom, but that didn’t/doesn’t stop me from sometimes being jealous when I see other moms breeze by in their stylish ensembles and cute hair. Then I ask myself whether I’d like to spend even five extra minutes getting ready in the morning and I have to honestly answer, “Nope.”

I am not crafty. You will never see me making any sort of respectable Halloween costume from scratch, coming up with a rainy day craft activity from recyclable objects, or making darling memory books for each child.

True story: Mackenzie has never wielded a paintbrush or even a marker. We’ve stuck with crayons thus far because frankly, my own artistic skills have not outgrown the crayon stage and also, crayons are less messy.

If she shows an interest in art, I’ll have to ship her off to a community center class or beg a crafty friend to show her some tips. I tell myself I’m keeping things “simple” by not decorating extensively for holidays and just doing simple photo books for our memories, but truthfully I just don’t have a crafty bone in my body so I just admire other moms and spend my time elsewhere.

Ok, there’s part of my list. What’s on yours? What do you see “other mothers” do that you deliberately slack on without feeling guilt? We can’t do it all so… what aren’t YOU doing?

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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.

8 Responses to Where I Slack as a Mom (a partial list)

  1. lisa h. says:

    I have to say I feel special 🙂

    I’m not crafty and I don’t think I look very put together. I do LOVE a clean house, and it’s near impossible to have one w/ little kids.

    that’s funny cause I always thought you had a clean house! and you host lots of stuff….healthy living, photography now…and as much time as you spend online I would think you would be one to order clothes online for your kids? I do, I LOVE it. go to oldnavy.com and get mackenzie 2 more pairs of pants! fleece lined for winter are very nice: they are even on sale right now!!!
    you cannot beat $13.

    http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=41941&vid=1&pid=795453&scid=795453012

    Like

  2. Laura says:

    Great list! If I slack on anything it’s the time I spend getting myself and my kids ready in the morning.

    Like

  3. Jessica says:

    I know I didn’t contribute by commenting about myself, but I sure enjoyed/appreciated these posts. A lot.

    Like

  4. Angie Kelly says:

    Oh I love this. It is a great moment in life when you become content with realizing and being okay with the idea of ‘that’s not my thing and I’m okay with her being good at that” It gets even better when you don’t mind other moms judging you about what is or is not your thing because they haven’t reached that contentment yet. That being said:

    I am not into scrap booking..hate it! And I don’t quilt or do crafty things.

    I do take naps. I like nice clothes on my kids because secretly I am still playing dolls. But, by number kid number 3 it doesn’t happen. It’s not my priority now. Yesterday Kathryn went to Andrew’s school with clothes on and a bathing suit over top. And I didn’t even notice:)! I like cleaning, but again, doesn’t happen enough. Oh, and I like naps…which means my kids watch tv every afternoon.

    Like

  5. manwaringfam says:

    Anne, I love these last posts. I have really been turning my wheels about myself since reading yours. I need to compile a list! Thanks for inspiring!!

    Like

  6. Teresa Sutter says:

    Anne, I hope you don’t mind that I came across your blog and read these last posts (I always feel like I’m snooping if people don’t know I read their blog), and I have to say I love what you wrote. It’s hard not to compare ourselves to other women and other mothers and I often feel like I am lacking in many areas. You are someone that I feel has it all together so it was refreshing to read your confessions on things you don’t think are your strong points. Thanks for the honesty. It was very insightful.

    Like

  7. Andrea says:

    Wonderful posts! It’s so nice to breathe a sigh of relief and say, “I’m doing just fine!” I think that’s how heaven will be. There will be a lot of acceptance, and a Savior who makes up the difference. I mean, we have the Savior now, but there’s a lot of people judging in mortality.

    Thanks for writing this.

    Like

  8. Camille Craw says:

    I am right there with you with the “non craftiness” and a much less than perfect house. In fact, there are (hopefully) things that get done every day and Rachel’s hair seems to be what gets left out and we’ve gone many a place with an orphan look in tow. There’s a season for everything!

    Like

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