Hayley over at Traveling Hiking Family asked to nominate some mom bloggers to share a blog about why we are rocking motherhood. I read her post, and feeling particularly down that day, thought, yes I can blog about that. I need a dose of positive self-talk about myself as a mom. What mom doesn’t need that?!
Confession: I can be somewhat of a perfectionist. Most of the time I navigate through life with this insane pressure on myself. Nowhere is this more evident than in my quest to be a “mom”. I have this overwhelming desire to be a good mom, or more like a “perfect” mom. You know the one. The mom with a spotless home. The mom in the pickup line always dressed on point (and even showered). The mom that makes fun crafts for her child or has an amazing homeschooling room outfitted with all appropriate learning materials. The mom that kisses her husband when he gets home and has a scrumptious dinner on the table. The mom that goes to work all day and still does all the above things. Hell, I stay home and most days declare victory if I get in the shower. The chase for perfection is maddening. I constantly fall short. I am far from the ideal mom of my dreams.
Lately, I have realized a lot of happiness is lost on me striving to be the perfect mom. I blame social media. Social media is great at pointing out our inadequacies, but really, it is no one’s fault but my own. I am my own worst critic and cannot remember the last time I said something good about myself. I wanted this post to be therapeutic, invigorating, and something of which to be proud!
I thought gave an exorbitant amount of thought about what ten reasons I would give as to why I rock motherhood. I thought about being funny and self-deprecating. I thought about bragging about how cool my son is, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I cannot take a lot of credit for the kid he is. The truth is, I don’t rock motherhood. Not really. I’m simply the best mom I can be on a given day. There are some days where I am a total shit mom. I am cranky, short-tempered, let the kid make huge messes, don’t clean up those messes (or anything else), let him feed himself, and walk ahead or way behind him on walks. Why, yes, that is my son up there. Why, yes, all he ate was 6 bowls of cereal today. Other days, I accomplish the “good” mom status. We craft, we laugh, I am patient, I use my positive parent dialogue, we don’t argue, we walk blissfully hand in hand in the street, and he is fed three wholesome meals and two snacks. What that combination boils down to is me, simply being, the mom I can be. We all do the best job we can, and some do it better than others.
One of the toughest things a mom has to do is praise herself. Being a mom is a thankless job. Unlike other moms, I don’t have this sense of fulfillment with being a mom; this could be my struggle. Being a mom happened to be the cards I was dealt. I react to my dealt hand on a daily basis. Can I honestly give ten reasons why I rock motherhood? I tried really hard to do so and ended up being harder on myself because I didn’t have moving, spectacular reasons why I rock motherhood; rather, I came up with a list of ordinary things. These ordinary things make up our lives together. A life that I think, most days, feels pretty damn good. Whether my list classifies as rocking motherhood…well of that I am not sure. They work for us, and that is about as rocking as I can get.
- I read to my son every single day. Not one book, but multiple, or maybe a few chapters out of a chapter book. No matter what kind of day we are having, we always take time to read.
- I lie down with him until he goes to sleep every night. Yes, he is 4. Yes, I know he “should” be sleeping on his own. He isn’t. It is what it is. He will tell me when he is ready. For now, I take that time to discuss his day, get a few snuggles in that otherwise I wouldn’t, and sometimes (well most times) drift off to sleep with him.
- I trust him. I trust him to make good choices; to prepare his own food; to dress himself; to entertain himself; to tell me what he is feeling; to care for others; to chose his works; to be a loving friend. I trust him on the river bank. I trust him when he is hopping scree. I trust him when he is flying down the mountain. I give him room to make mistakes.
- I can recognize days that will challenge me. On those days, I shuck traditional mom responsibility and take him on a destination hike or skiing. This summer, I will fish solo with him. When we are active outdoors, I feel like it doesn’t take as much energy to be a “mom”. I pack a bag and let nature be his mother. Some moms might disagree with me on this. For me, it seems like less responsibility, and hey, I am all for that some days.
- I am a selfish mom. I tote Drake around on all of our adventures. I said above, I give him choices, but I am not sure I gave him much choice about backpacking or fishing. He always says, “Yes I want to go”, but is it only because he doesn’t know any better. It is just what we do. While it might have been selfish, I would make the same decision again. Exposing him to the outdoors was a “good” mom decision. I wrote about this last year, and I still am happy with providing him the extraordinary.
- Even though it isn’t the best financial decision for us, I send my son to a Montessori school. The Montessori method fits for him and fits with our parenting philosophy. It also allows him cultural awareness, which would be hard to get with a family that cannot afford to travel abroad on a regular basis. And, oh yeah, it gives me 2.5 hours alone four days a week.
- I have him listen to positive self-talk daily along with practicing yoga. I talk terrible to myself, and noticed he was starting to talk harshly to himself too. No doubt this was my doing; I am not good on giving praise; I realize that an outside source of self-talk will equip him with the right words to give him a boost when he is feeling down. The yoga is for him, and for me. Mindfulness is a work in progress. Again, it is about equipping him with the best tools to be happy, peaceful, intelligent, caring adult.
- I listen to what he wants. He wanted to downhill ski. I would NEVER have chosen downhill skiing for him. He first mentioned wanting to ski when he was three. I said if he mentioned it again the next year we would do whatever we could to make it happen for him.
- I am rocking motherhood because most hours of the day, he enjoys life. He laughs. He hugs. He tells incredible stories. He says thank you. He tells me he loves me.
- Finally…I sacrifice for him – as do all mothers. I sacrificed a career. I sacrificed my hopes for Dustin and I’s life together. I sacrificed my sanity. I sacrificed my body. I sacrificed my happiness. I sacrificed me. I sacrifice every day. It is no longer about me; it is about him. My needs and wants are a distant second. Some days I am okay with that, and some days I feel bitter. I think that makes a “real” mom and one that is #rockingmotherhood in the only way I know how.
Thank you, Hayley, for giving me the opportunity for a little self-reflection! Now I nominate the following ladies to tell us how they are #rockingmotherhood:
Heidi from Walking Towards Less
Susan from Mountain Mom and Tots
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