Sunday, January 31, 2016
I'm Just Not That Mom.
I love Pinterest.
I mean, I LOVVVVVE it. I love to sit and gaze at recipe after recipe, bedroom after bedroom, quote after quote, and meme after meme. I can easily lose myself in the world of dreaming and wishing and planning. And in my fantasy reality, I am able to make the cutest little arrows to go on my son's wall, perfect hair ties for my daughter's ridiculously thick hair, and perfectly level cubbies for our shoes to go in by the front door.
When I wake up from my plans, I try a craft project that I saw that is usually labeled "Easy Do It Yourself," or, "Beginner's Steps To..." and let me tell you- I am Pinterest Fail Mom personified.
Other moms are buying onesies and magically putting the cutest ever quotes on them or taking a wooden pallet and creating a bed similar to one I once saw in Anthropolgie before I fainted at the prices and left, and I am over here struggling to make a Christmas tree on canvas out of my kids' fingerprints and watercolor paint.
Y'all, I'm just not that mom.
It has taken me a long time to stop apologizing for the mom I am "not" to my kids. Somewhere along the way, I began to realize that when I keep focusing on what I am not, I am not focusing on who I am. And by not celebrating who I am and steadily focusing on who I am not, I am not blooming where I am planted and we are all miserable as a result.
I am not the craft mom. I do not own a pack of craft paper or a Cricut. All my crayons are very used and unorganized. I don't have a hot glue gun, and I can only really use pipe cleaners to make Christmas candy canes. I have never painted anything remotely beautiful or anything that looks like an adult held the paint brush, and I have no idea what the difference is between watercolor and oil pastels. I can't even begin to tell you how much I don't do things with mason jars or know how to glitter paint a single item without my entire house being layered in glitter for two years.
I am not the sewing mom. I have no idea how to operate a sewing machine. I have never successfully sewn on a button or hemmed a pair of pants. If my kids require a costume that needs more than fabric glue and felt, I'm out. I don't make headbands, I have never attached a flower to anything, and I don't have any idea how to tie together one of those fleece blanket kits.
I am not the cake decorating mom. I don't know how to make a rose out of icing. I can't make a cake topper look like Elmo. I have no idea how to pipe pretty icing onto cupcakes. And if it's beyond an old fashioned two-layered cake, I call Publix.
I am not the handy mom. I don't hammer things. I have no idea how to change a tire. I don't know how to hang a curtain or use a level. I have never one time figured out where a leak comes from under my car and I don't know how to tighten things with a wrench. I have never done anything more in handiwork than screwing a lightbulb into a lamp, and I have no desire to have a pink hammer or any other color one. Get me a blender or a new frying pan. Please don't get me girl tools.
I am not the "let's camp in the woods" mom. I don't do camping unless it's cold enough to annihilate the chance of snakes entering the scene. I don't do sweat, mosquitoes, and hard ground sleeping. I have no idea if we need to be near a creek or away from a creek. I wouldn't have a clue what to do if a skunk came. We would freeze to death if I had to make a fire for our survival, and if it's beyond roasting a marshmallow or a hot dog, I have no idea how to cook outdoors. Including grilling.
I am not the "let's work in the yard while the kids play" mom. See above concerning snakes and sweat. No thanks.
I am not the "I loved nursing my kids in the night" mom. One, I didn't nurse. (Can I say that outloud?) Two, I don't enjoy waking up with humans, animals, or bad weather in the nighttime. I didn't have sweet moment with my kids at 2 am. In fact, 100% of the wake up times with them were, "Hurry up and eat and go back to sleep and why are you looking at me" moments. Truth. Sleep is all we have. WHY DO THEY CONSTANTLY STEAL IT? HAVEN'T WE GIVEN THEM ENOUGH DURING THE DAY?
I am not the mom who reads two books a night to my kids at bedtime. Who am I kidding? I am not even the one who reads ONE per night. When I'm done, I'm just done. And I'm done at bedtime. Every. Single. Night.
I am not the "I love to play Barbies and Army men for hours at a time" mom. I will do it. I have had Ken and Barbie fall in love at a taco truck and have fought in the desert with GI Joe. But I have to be honest and tell you that the whole time, I am constantly trying to come up with a new game that doesn't involve role playing. It's the worst. I hate it. So, so much.
Know who I am though?
I am the mom who can make a mean pot of meatballs. I know their favorites and I keep them flowing through my kitchen six nights a week. They want croissant chicken? Homemade spaghetti? Chicken soup? Tacos? Chicken and rice? Oreo cake balls? Homemade buttermilk biscuits in a cast iron skillet? I'm on it. And in big quantities. They will lick their plates and taste love in every bite.
I am the mom who will say yes to sleepovers. Nothing makes me happier than a couple of kids giggling over a show on the couch. I love feeding hungry teenagers from my pantry. I love kids in sleeping bags, lights-outs that aren't followed because there's too much to say, and big bowls of cereal for breakfast.
I am the mom who drops it all to do a field trip or a class party. Nothing makes me happier than making (smudgy icing) cupcakes, grading papers for a teacher, and bringing coffee to school office staff. I love watching my kids in their element on field trips and will always have the backpack full of snacks on the bus.
I am the mom who bawls every single birthday eve. I always have. I imagine I always will.
I am the mom who still makes out with their daddy. Very few things make me happier than a good kissing session in the kitchen while I am cooking dinner. I love to get all dressed up for date night and making it a big deal every other week. I don't hesitate throwing myself across his lap for a good smooching, and I am sure to pop his bootie when he's wearing my favorite jeans.
I am the mom who sticks it out. I navigated my body and emotions through fourteen years of infertility, medications, pee sticks, and false hopes to get them. I endured 41 weeks of pregnancy with one and 7 weeks of bedrest with the other. I stuck by Spicy's side through the gates of hell known as colic and the "MY UNDERWEAR IS TOUCHING MY BELLY BUTTON" stage of his big sister. I saw sweetness in the boy when I know for a fact others were talking about what a terrible toddler he was behind our backs and I am currently riding the identity changing waves of puberty with the girl. I have sat up with coughing children with gritted teeth (coughing is my literal nemesis), handled 28 days of a fever of 102-104 with one child, and survived 2 weeks of quarantine once she was well.
I am the mom who apologizes. I fail them. Daily. Lately, every other hour or so. But thank God, I have zero problem admitting to them I shouldn't have raised my voice or should have waited before I reacted or the endless assorted other legitimate reasons I have to say I'm sorry to my littles.
I am the mom who prays with them. They get a paper cut or have a headache, and I instinctively lay hands on their injury and pray. I developed a confession for them to speak over themselves at least once a day now for the last six years or so. I delight in thanking God for them (especially when they're asleep, ain't gonna lie), and I love to spend our nightly time together with their daddy as we listen to him tell us an obscure Bible story we didn't know. I love having communion with my family at home on our couch, reflecting on how sweet Jesus is and how much He loves us.
But most of all, I am their mom. I am exactly the mom God wanted my children to have.
The day I stopped caring if I was the fun mom or the sports mom or the outdoor mom was one of the best days of my motherhood. If I am worried about the label, I am locking myself in to an identity that in reality, they may or may not need tomorrow. Moods change. Needs change. Hobbies change. Styles change. As they grow, they may need more or less of me in certain areas of their lives. And as history shows, I will rise to whatever challenge or need it is that their ever changing world throws into my already overflowing lap.
Tonight, out of curiosity, I asked my daughter, "If you have some friends' whose moms are the fun moms and some are the mean moms and some are the cool moms, what would you tell your friends your mom is?"
She didn't even hesitate.
"You're the comforting mom. You're definitely not the sweet mom. But that's not what I want you to be anyway. I want you to be the comforting mom. Because when something's all wrong, it's you I want to comfort me."
In that moment, I realized all over again that if I stop worrying about all the little things I think they need or want and focus on mothering their actual hearts, I'll catch all the moments that matter and I'll be exactly where I need to be and what I need to be as they need it.
Pinterest can keep its labels and its headbands and perfect cake pops. I'm comforting my children through a hurtful world.
I'm gonna sip on that one a while.