Lately I seem to be surrounded by all kinds of Super Moms. Loads of them. I’m sure these moms have always existed, but it seems like the recent Pinterest craze has brought them to everyone’s attention. These moms are just A-MA-ZING. One way or another they seem to impress every other mom around them, sometimes inspiring others to try harder but more often causing them to retreat into their own “happy place.” Super Moms always fit into at least one of the following Super-Mom categories, but I know a few who belong to more than one. Just to name a few, I’ve known Crafty Moms, Athletic Moms, Health-Nut Moms, Co-Sleeping Moms, Baby-Wearing Moms, Cloth-Diapering Moms, Germophobic Moms, Homeschooling Moms, Working Moms, Stay-at-Home Moms, Work-at-Home Moms, Organized Moms, Know-it-All Moms (not intended as an insult – these are moms with answers to EVERYTHING), Activity/Sports Moms, and the I-Cannot-Breathe-Without-My-Children-Near-Me Moms. I know at least one mom in each category, I love them all, and I try to be supportive of the “to-each-his-own” philosophy. I don’t judge other moms for the way they choose to raise their children, and I would also like to not be judged. Unfortunately this isn’t the way it works. Go to almost any parenting blog and tell them you let your child CIO (known as cry it out in mommyworld), and wait for the backlash. I’ve been called names for not cloth-diapering and refusing to cosleep. And don’t get me started on breastfeeding versus formula feeding. Some of these categories are a badge of sorts. A right to stand on a soapbox and tell the world how things “should” be done, whether it factually is best (as breastfeeding is) or idyllically is best (like endless craft projects and perfectly decorated bedrooms).
It’s got me thinking… where do I belong? I know I’m a Super Mom, I see it through my relationships with my beauties every day. But as I go through the examples of Super Moms listed, I really don’t feel like I belong to any particular category. You can cancel me out of a number of them immediately. I HATED breastfeeding (another story for another day) and never EVER intended to co-sleep (which played a small part in why I stopped breastfeeding). Germophobe? Definitely not! Julia was often caught sucking shoes (yes, I took them away but it didn’t freak me out), and when Emily started eating dirt I ran into the house to get the camera.
I was very interested in cloth diapering, but since both girls had to go to daycare at 14 months I just didn’t bother. I certainly don’t think I have answers to anything, as Emily didn’t go through many “typical” baby/toddler situations and I’m still working things out with Julia. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to be with my girls, but I also like time to myself. They are my world and bring me to life when I am with them, but if I have to take a day off of work I’ll let them stay in daycare/aftercare so that I can get things done. They are safe and happy, and I’m okay being away from them for short bits of time. To put it bluntly, I can breathe just fine without them on my arms 24/7. I like Emily to be involved in some sort of activity outside of school, but I selfishly have no desire to pay for or drive her to numerous events throughout the week. As far as being a Health-Nut Mom… hold on… as soon as I finish my McDonald’s I’m going to laugh for a minute at the thought of me being a Health-Nut Mom. Mmmmmm… I wish I’d bought a McFlurry…
I am genuinely a number of those things mentioned above – I am an organized, athletic, crafty, working mother. But I just don’t feel like any one of those categories defines me. I enjoy crafts, both making things with and for my girls, for the house and as gifts for others. But honestly I’m just as happy doing a jigsaw puzzle, mopping the floors, ironing, or playing Lego City Undercover on the Wii. Crafting is something I do, it’s not who I am. It’s no different with my organizational skills. I consider myself to be more organized than most, but I constantly fight the collecting gene that I seem to have inherited from my mom (who I think inherited it from her mom). And Jay is no better! So, on the surface my house seems cleaned and organized, and I do have systems for almost everything that comes in, but seriously – open a drawer. I dare you. Or a cabinet. Shoot, you should go for a closet! While I know where things are and I try not to keep things that I do not use or want, I doubt a professional organizer would be impressed. Nothing is labeled, things have “general areas” they get put in, and most of the time I’m just as guilty as Jay of throwing something into a cabinet or drawer (whether it belongs there or not) and dealing with it later when I can’t bear to look at it anymore.
I run, but does that make me athletic? I don’t crave it the way some people do – you’ll never hear me say that I have to run – I’m more likely to try to come up with a reason not to run. And I honestly enjoy running! But the truth is, I’m lazy. I think about the time to get ready… the time it takes to run… the time to shower after… and sometimes it seems like more work than it’s worth. Ominous clouds in the sky? Better stay home. Just washed my hair yesterday? No WAY am I getting all sweaty today. Then I end up sitting on my butt doing lesson plans, reading blogs, or playing the Wii. Stupid Lego game. I’m definitely a working mom, but I’ve never felt like that was anything to brag about. It’s tough, but lots of moms do it, and being a mom is hard no matter if you stay home or work. Going to work every day actually does the opposite of making me feel like a Super Mom – it makes me feel like a Stinky Mom (as in the situation stinks, not that working makes me smelly).
I know that this is getting lengthy… I can even hear myself saying, “Get to the POINT already!” Here goes: observing all of these moms has made me realize that I think I spend more time thinking about the kind of mom I don’t want to be than I do trying to define myself through one of these categories. I’m confident that I don’t want to be a stressed-out mom, something I know endless activities, playdates, outings, and craft projects would do to me. I don’t want to be the kind of mom that is constantly nervous about everything that goes into my child’s mouth (food or otherwise). I know am a happier and better Momma when I put myself first at times – for example, sending my girls to bed early after I’ve had a hard day of work and can’t take one. more. child. needing my attention. I’ve seen my Momma Bear break loose a few times, but I don’t want to be the mom that over-intervenes in situations that pose opportunities for my daughters to grow socially. I don’t want to enable my daughters to be lazy as they grow – I have a neighbor that was still cleaning her son’s college dorm room bathroom! Emily and Julia both have age-appropriate chores they do (Emily is almost 7, Julia is almost 2). I have been guilty of cleaning up my girls’ rooms at times, but I know I don’t want to be the mom that yells, “Clean your room,” all day – I want to be a flexible mom when it comes to “their” space. Toys in the living room – no option – pick them up. Toys in the bedroom – every few days. I don’t want to force my kids to eat things they don’t like, but I don’t want them to grow up only liking junk either. I’m not the mom who calls the teacher for everything I hear that goes on in the classroom. I’m not the mom who thinks homework is optional. I’m not the mom who spends every chance I get making sure the world knows how difficult my life is. I’m not the mom who thinks that Facebook is just a play-by-play of my daughters’ lives. I’m not the mom who counts TV minutes every day.
I think that many moms are out to impress – out to prove to the world that they can DO this thing called motherhood. Personally, I’ll admit that I’m also looking to impress, although I’m only looking to impress a handful of people. I want my husband to think I’m a wonderful mother – they are his babies too. I want my mom to be proud of the mother I am, as I’ve grown to love the mother that she was (and still is) to me. I want my in-laws to be proud of the woman their son chose to marry. I want my girls to look back and realize that more than ANYTHING they were loved and supported through it all. But more than anything I’m looking to make my Jesus proud. My beauties would not exist if it weren’t for His blessings on our family (and my uterus). At the end of the day if I can honestly say that I was the kind of mother that God would have no regrets entrusting Emily and Julia to, then I’m doing alright. No matter what kind of diaper is on their tushies, no matter how many activities they are involved in, no matter whether I stay home or not. My ultimate job is to be the mother that HE has called me to be, and that means raising my girls to know His love and care. Check and double check. I guess in the end, If I’m doing that, then I think I fit into the Super Mom category I like to call Some Kinda Wonderful.
Happy Mother’s Day to me.