Can someone please tell me how to win at being a mom?
I know it’s totally not a competition, & I’m not supposed to say things like that….buuuuut I’m a competitor & I need to know I’m doing well. If there’s a better way of going about this whole mother business, I want to be doing it.
I know, I know, any Mom that tries is doing a fantastic job. & you totally are, I mean it!
But today, this logic is just not working for me.
As a Mom we are told SO many ways how to “mother best”.
I mean, I think back, to about pretty much every family gathering I’ve been to with my kids. They do something they know they shouldn’t, I’m a little stern with them & then a comment is said nonchalantly about how old they are, as if I should ease up. Then half an hour later, they do something that I decide not to make a big deal of & I catch someone giving the side eye, as if to say, did you see how she just let them get away with that?!
It may be paranoia, but it just feels like a classic example to me of how Moms can’t win.
The other day, I was doing the dishes as my hubby & three kids wrestled & tickled on the floor, filling our house with laughter. My heart was immediately filled with happiness.
& then you know what happened?
I heard some sage advice: Don’t miss out on the memory making because you want a clean kitchen! Join in the fun! It goes so fast! You’re going to miss this!
The quote, “please excuse our mess, we’re busy making memories” immediately popped into my head.
I’ve actually always disliked this quote. I mean, totally, let’s not become dictators in order to have a clean home. But then on the other hand, having a sticky floor is disgusting & isn’t it our job to teach these little humans how to have fun but also take care of things? Yes.
I understand that different things inspire us to live in the moment though, so if this is your phrase, more power to you! But for me, someone who has a particularly difficult time, staying on top of the chores, this quote offers me an excuse to not have a clean house. Which thwarts some very important goals of mine.
So that particular evening, when everything inside of me was saying stop being so uptight & missing out on memory making, I also took pride in the fact that I wasn’t just messing around, but taking good care of my family, by cleaning up.
Because you know what? The same people that tell you to slow down & make memories, will also judge you for not having an immaculate home. They are the ones that ask you to excuse the mess because they have two pieces of mail on their counter that haven’t been shredded yet.
So, what was I to do? Abandon the dishes & come back to them later, so that I could join in the fun? [which really meant they’d most likely be left until the morning, added to an already overextended to-do list] Or let them enjoy some Daddy time & take care of the dishes, while purposing to not be bitter or feel left out or like a party pooper?
As of this new year, I’ve decided to disembark from some of these “merry-go-rounds” of thoughts & breathe.
I don’t need to question how good of a Mom I am, because I’m doing the dishes & missing out on ONE tickle fight. Honestly, I probably always will question it, because I think to a certain extent all good Moms do. It’s called caring.
But, what I need to improve on is overthinking to the point of stealing my joy. My heart was full until I started second guessing my role in everything. Allowing myself to fear that I was somehow unintentionally messing it all up, by not participating.
I let the competition get to me.
& as I’ve worked through all of these thoughts I am now realizing that my medal will not be for “Mom who screwed up the most” & that perfection is not the evidence of my success.
What I think may be even better than winning at this whole Mom thing, is realizing that us women & all of our tiny humans, have different personalities, ways of communicating, ways to relax, breaking points, & coping mechanisms.
There is not one “perfect” way to do things, because every soul on this earth is different.
So I propose that we help one another, compliment one another, admire each other, admit our flaws [not boast in them], pour buckets of grace on ourselves & then each other, truly believe & live out lives that echo:
We are in this together, Momma
My mess honors your mess.
Let us keep moving forward together.
Becoming better & more whole together.
Some things are fun to compete in & Momming ain’t one of them.